In observance of Memorial Day we want to remember our fallen soldiers and honor our troops and say thank you for being our heroes. Here are some helpful money saving tips to benefit you from Ginita Wall CPA, CFP.
Military life can be tough on your pocketbook, especially if you have a family back home that depends on your financial support. Here are some ways to save money before and during deployment, and take advantage of the benefits that the military provides you.
Eliminate rental expense. Your basic food and shelter needs are taken care of while you are deployed. If you are single, pack up your household items and put them in storage while you are gone, so you won’t have to pay rent. If you are leaving a family behind, government housing or a Basic Housing Allowance may provide assistance for their needs.
Reduce home ownership expense. If you are single and own a home you’ll have ongoing costs, but there are still ways to reduce housing expense. Turn off utilities, or if that is impractical in your climate, adjust the thermostat and turn off your electronics rather than leaving them in standby mode. Empty your refrigerator and prop open the door to prevent odor.
Check your insurance. If your car will be sitting idle, to save money put your vehicle into storage or vacation status with your insurance company. Ask whether there are any other savings that might be available on other policies, such as homeowner or renter insurance.
Get relief. The 2003 Service Members Civil Relief Act provides for an interest rate reduction to 6% for any debt incurred before you enlisted and delays any civil legal actions against you. Until you return home it bars landlords from evicting your family from rental property costing less than $2400 a month, and allows you to break leases and some contracts without penalty.
Take advantage of benefits. As a military member, you get special postage and email rates, and you and your family can save money shopping at the exchange and commissary. There are many medical benefits available for your family, so explore those thoroughly before you go. Families of military members are also eligible for free or reduced childcare.
Save, save, save. While you are deployed, you will receive extra pay and tax free benefits. Use this opportunity to stash funds away for future needs. That will ease your life when you return, and your eventual transition to civilian life.