Memorial Day Savings for Our Troops

As we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day by cooking outside and shopping inside, Americans will pause to reflect upon those who made and continue to make the ultimate sacrifice for our great country.  Although it is but a small gesture, we’ll use this blog today to provide some money saving tips to help our troops.

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Savings Tips for Those Who Are Deployed or Living in Barracks

If you are an unmarried military member about to be stationed away from your home for an extended period, several potential opportunities exist to increase your ability to save.

Not only could you consider moving your household goods into storage and thereby eliminate rent, in so doing, you can cut out all of your home utilities as well (e.g., cable, electric, water, gas/oil, etc.)

If you are going overseas and own a car, you might not need it for a while.  Assuming you anticipate needing a car upon your return, keep it.  If not, consider selling it.  If you hold onto the car, contact your insurance carrier and inquire about any discounts you can benefit from while your car will be idle for an extended period.

If you are married or otherwise leaving loved ones behind at home, packing up the home and/or selling the family car obviously won’t work.  Other strategies to consider relate to the choices you make while you are away.  Choosing to control your spending while away can have a tremendous impact on how much money you return home with much later.

Having a reasonable budget for entertainment will go a long way, as will intelligently selecting a prepaid cell phone plan.  Ensuring you take advantage of most if not all of the free meals available to you on base can help you save a ton too.  Of course, having a frank conversation with your loved one about running the household in a cost effective manner while you are away can only help too.

Savings Tips for All Military

Numerous discounts are available to active duty military personnel and their family.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Admissions at attractions (zoos, aquariums, museums)
  • Travel vendors such as hotels and car rental agencies
  • Certain restaurant chains and local dining options
  • Retailers who have a special day of the week where the military receive a discount

Still, be cautious about the above; if the discount causes you to spend money you wouldn’t otherwise, you’re really not saving – you’re actually spending more.

Other opportunities for the military to save include discounts on insurance policies (e.g., homeowner’s or renter’s, automobile) and new car purchases.

Military members also have access to save in their TSP, a retirement plan for the armed forces.  Much like a 401(k) plan is an important consideration for the civilian workforce, an increased level of saving in the TSP for a military family can go a very long way to ensure a successful retirement many years later.

Wrapping up, remember two things.  First, it is very rare for people to regret saving too much or beginning too young.  Second, thank you for your service and all that you do to protect us- every day.

Michael Rubin

Author of the bestseller Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck, and the upcoming The Savings Solution, Michael B. Rubin is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional. In addition to his experience providing sophisticated financial advice to affluent clients, Michael has been a key source of information for over a decade to countless others. He speaks passionately about and provides guidance on virtually all personal financial planning topics. Michael has appeared in various media, including radio and TV stations across the country, plus national media such as CNN Money.com, latimes.com, The Wall Street Journal, SmartMoney.com, Chicago Tribune, Financial Advisor Magazine, and Investment News. Prior to founding Total Candor LLC, Michael worked in the personal financial services practices of two of the former "Big Six" accounting firms. Subsequently working for several years as a new venture executive for Toys "R" Us, Inc., he made sure that he never actually grew up. He holds an undergraduate business degree from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Michael lives in New Hampshire with his wife and children.

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