Creating A Budget If You Are A Military Family
If you are in the military or are a military spouse you may find managing your finances to be a bit of a challenge. Being in the military has many different financial dimensions that those in civilian life don’t have. You have to consider housing pay, hazardous duty pay, pay increases due to time in service, and family separation pay, just to name a few. Another factor to take into consideration, if you are married, is income from a working spouse. Below are just a few helpful hints to assist you in creating a budget that could prove beneficial to you and your family.
- Keep track of your spending. Create a spreadsheet to easily document your bills and miscellaneous spending. If that’s not your thing then set up a separate notebook to use only for budgeting purposes. As a result, you will become more aware of what is going out each month.
- Build up your savings. We often times put the focus on having enough money to pay bills. But we should also think about setting money aside in order to live comfortably, or be able to afford that one luxury item you’ve had your eye on. Be sure to factor in your savings when setting up a budget. Make it easy on yourself and consider it one of your monthly “bills”. An simple way to add to your savings is to set up an automatic transfer from your main account account to a savings account. For example, if you have $100 transferred each month you will have saved $1200. Not too bad!
- Create an emergency fund. This can go hand in hand with your savings. Building this up can relieve some of the stress that comes along to those unexpected challenges. Maybe you found out you will be stationed somewhere new and now your family needs to move. Or your spouse lost their job and you will have less income coming in.
- Take advantage of military benefits. There are many great benefits offered to service men and women and their families. This can be a great way to save on things such as healthcare or funding for a new home.
Whatever system you set up, the lesson to learn is that you want to be aware of what money is coming in and going out. By making yourself more aware of this, it will help you to become more financially responsible. It may even push you to find other things that you can save money on! The key is to create a budget that works for your particular situation. Remember, there is no one size fits all when it comes to budgeting.