By Leslie Tayne, Attorney
With unexpected moves and the possibility of overseas deployment, military families are faced with some interesting obstacles when trying to save money and plan for future expenses. Thankfully, there are some simple strategies both service members and their families can employ to help overcome their financial challenges.
Below I’ve provided some simple tips to help military families boost their cash flow, improve their financial well-being, and keep their financial future looking bright!
Minimize Your Debt
Making a strong effort to get out of debt can really help your family. Start out by tracking your spending (for some tips to help you track your spending, visit here). Once you know your spending habits, use that information to create a budget that fits your needs. Once you have a working budget you should be able to free up cash flow and start paying down debt. If you have multiple debts and aren’t quite sure where to start, a good rule of thumb is to focus on the debt with the highest interest rate first; this will save you the most in the long run!
Utilize Discounts and Hunt Down Freebies
Companies offer deals for military families in a variety of categories, such as school supplies, clothing, cars, electronics, and professional services. There are also programs that offer free services to military families. For example, the annual America is Beautiful national parks pass gives military members free access to 2,000 different federal recreation sites. Here are some more freebies and discounts for military families. Don’t forget to also call your utility companies and insurance companies to see if they have any military discounts they can apply to your bill.
Look for Everyday Savings
We’ve all seen those crazy couponers and, while it might be unrealistic for most people to reach that level of dedication, it is very easy to save with coupons and everyday savings. Social media and email are both great ways to find deals on the things you want from the shops you most frequently visit. Subscribe to email newsletters from your favorite stores , so you can be notified of sales and receive exclusive coupons and discounts.
Newspapers and magazines also offer great coupons, as well as sites like coupons.com and afullcup.com. You can also look into Commissionaryshopper.com, which is a coupon site designed specifically for military families!
Consider a Side Hustle
Side hustles are great for spouses of those who serve because they’re fun, can easily be done from home or close to home, and can really help boost your cash flow. From selling photos to tutoring to blogging, there’s bound to be an side hustle out there that’s perfect for you. If you’re not sure where to start though, check out my blog entry on finding the perfect side hustle!
Find A Job That’s Right for You
One of the biggest challenges for veterans is the transition from military service to a civilian job. The lapse of employment that may follow military service can put an additional burden on the families finances, so it’s important to know what options are available to you upon leaving the military. There are numerous organizations and programs, like Hire Heroes USA and the VA’s Make the Connection, that can help vets not only find jobs but network with others who, like them, had to overcome the struggle of reentering civilian life.
Take Advantage of Benefits
There are a variety of organizations out that there dedicated to helping veterans get their post-service lives off to a running start. Volunteers for America helps veterans find affordable housing and offers other helpful services. Your local Housing and Urban Development Plan (HUD) can also provide aid in finding homes. Other opportunities available for veterans and their families include the American Legion (which provides emergency cash grants for children of service members), USA Cares (which helps veterans pay for housing), and Disabled American Veterans (which provides services for disabled veterans). Make sure to inquire with local stores as well as your insurance and utility companies to see if you can qualify for veteran discounts.
While the financial difficulties that military families face are by no means easy to overcome, possessing the right knowledge and adopting good financial habits can help ease the burden significantly. What financial struggles have you faced as a military family? What solutions did you discover? Feel free to share your story in our comments section!
Leslie H. Tayne has more than a decade of experience in the practice area of consumer and business financial debt-related services. Speaker, Author, Attorney and Founder of the Tayne Law Group, P.C., Leslie is working towards reshaping the debt industry by offering real, proven solutions to help her clients get back on the road to financial freedom. Ms. Tayne will be presenting our September 20 webinar, Credit & Debt Issues for Military Families. Join us at 11 a.m. ET for this great learning opportunity.