For most families in general, finances are tight, and this is especially true for military families. Military families have many fine line to cross including healthcare, housing, and different levels of pay, and it can be hard to keep track. If you are a military family, consider reading read this blog post on 6 ways you can help keep your military family in tip-top financial shape.
Live Within Your Means.
It can be easy to see fancy, expensive items and instantly want to have it. However, you have to live in reality and keep in mind what you actually can afford. Instead of buying a brand new $40,000 vehicle, buy a used car for what you can afford. Remember that just because people have flashy items does not mean that they have loads of money- they could be living in huge amounts of debt.
Remember to Pay Bills.
As simple as it seems, remember to pay your bills on time. Late fees add up quickly, and you can save money by simply remembering to pay your bills on time. Automatic bill payments can save time and headache, but if you are having a hard month, you will need to make sure that you will not overdraft on your bank account because over drafting will result in extra fees too. If setting up automatic bill payments does not work for you, have a calendar or app to keep up when each bill is due.
Take Advantage of What Resources Are Available to You.
There are tons of military assistance programs (both government, private, and non profit)available to help military families, and you should take full advantage of these. Few things are worse than throwing away free money. Check with your base to see what local resources might be available.
Pay Off Debt.
This goes for everyone, but paying off debt is huge. By paying off debt, you are getting rid of interest payments which will free up money to be used elsewhere. It will also raise your credit score and ease your stress level. Instead of buying on multiple payment plans, consider using the Snowball Effect. Pay off your smallest debt level first, and then use that money allotted to that payment (plus the money saved on not paying interest) to pay off other debt.
Use Bonus Pay to Save Money.
Military families are familiar with special or bonus pay when active duty military are serving overseas or for a variety of other reasons. Instead of treating yourself, take the extra money and put it in savings. Every family, including military, should have a savings fund, and this is a great, easy way to invest in your future. It might be fun to take a luxurious vacation, but your future self thanks your current self for thinking of the road ahead.
Save For Retirement.
Every military family should invest in a Thrift Savings Plan. This is a program designed specifically for military so they can save for retirement. It can be hard to imagine the day you will need retirement, but it will be here before you know it. Investing at a younger age will yield more Return on Investment (more money) because you will gain more interest. It is important to think of the future because we do not know what the future holds. Investing in a retirement plan now could prove to be a lifesaver when you come to retirement age.
For military families, these 6 tips could make a huge difference in your family’s current and future finances. Take the time to teach your children good money habits so they will have a solid financial education. Happy Savings!