In Part 1 of this two-part article on money saving tips for military families, we discovered some valuable dollar stretching ideas designed specifically for military families. In this section, we will explore even more ways to fish out some savings and make that hard-earned paycheck go farther.
1. Do not keep up with the Joneses who live on base next to you. There is some kind of psychological process that triggers spending when you live on post. Maybe it is because everyone lives in houses that are exactly the same. The kids go to the same school. The service members all make similar salaries, depending on rank.
The only way to get ahead of your neighbors is to have better patio furniture, a bigger car, a nicer boat, or whatever makes you appear wealthier than you really are. We all have a psychological desire to look or feel better than our neighbors. Since the military puts us all on a level playing field, we spend money to look better than everyone else.
But your neighbors will not pay your credit cards, the car payment, the boat payment, or whatever else you decide to buy. You will! Do yourself a favor and save your money. (In a few years, you’ll move away and get new neighbors.)
2. Decorate your home in a neutral color scheme. Do not buy anything that will not easily look good in another house when you move. (You will move more often than you can imagine!) When you move, save the curtains from your previous house. You may not use them this next time, but you will probably use them again later.
3. Live below your means. (Not within your means.) This is at the top of money saving tips for military families. If you live within your means, you will never get a good savings account started. If you live below your means, you can save money for the stuff you really want later. And you will have the freedom to pay cash, avoiding those pesky interest payments!
4. Use any deployment money, special duty pay, or promotion pay raises to put toward debt reduction and savings. Do not spend it! This is a great way to live below your means.
5. Take advantage of education programs while you are still in the military. There are tuition-assistance programs that will pay most, if not all, of your tuition fees if you attend college while on active duty. You might not know what career you want to enter once you are out of the military, but you can get most of your general education classes finished at a deeply discounted rate while you are still serving your country.
Financial Freedom is at Hand!
Oftentimes, a military paycheck seems too small. However, there are many benefits and resources available to help close the income gap between military and civilian careers. Seek out these resources and other money saving tips for military families. Take advantage of them whenever possible. Yes, it is possible to have financial freedom while wearing a military uniform!
If you missed the first part of money saving tips for military families, there are five other ideas to help you save money while serving your country.
Stacie Kimbell is a veteran military wife whose hobbies include frugal living, gardening, and cooking. She and her husband are expecting their third child in June and trusts her money saving tips for military families will help others thrive on a fixed income.