How to Control Your Budget When Your Spouse Is Deployed
A deployment doesn’t need to throw your finances off track. Together, you can establish a budget and take advantage of various entitlements to stay on track. Make it your MilSpouse Money Mission. Entitlements may include:
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- Family Separation Allowance
- Combat Zone Tax Exclusion
- Hostile Fire/Imminent Danger Pays
- Hardship Duty Pay
Consider saving extra funds instead of spending them. The Savings Deposit Program is available during combat deployments. Use it to help you stay in control of your finances.
How to stay in control of your finances during deployment
Here are some great ways to keep your bills in check:
- Discuss bills before your spouse leaves. Make a list of all your combined bills and when they’re due.
- Don’t overspend before the deployment. Make a budget for deployment spending. Don’t go overboard with electronics and equipment that you don’t need.
- Always keep some extra money in savings. Make sure you keep some extra savings for emergencies, even if it’s just a few dollars from each paycheck. Use Military Saves to find out how to set savings goals, put them in writing and stick to them.
- Live off your predeployment income. Sometimes extra pay can tempt you to spend more. Instead, try to live off your predeployment income and use any extra income to pay down debt, or invest for retirement.
- Take advantage of extra savings during deployment. Extra deployment pay is a great way to build your savings or invest in your future. Take advantage of these savings plans during deployment:
- Thrift Savings Plan. You’ll have some extra, so now’s the time to increase your deposits in the Thrift Savings Plan. You're not likely to miss the money coming out every month, and you’ll enjoy the benefits in the future.
- Roth TSP investments. You can invest your after-tax dollars into your Thrift Savings Plan account too. With Roth contributions, you have already paid taxes on the money, so you can withdraw it tax-free, along with any earnings it has accrued, as long as you meet certain requirements. Check out our article on Roth TSP investments for more information..
- Savings Deposit Program. At the very high rate of 10% interest, the Savings Deposit Program is an excellent way to grow your savings. The program is available only during deployment.
- Military Star card. Your Military Star card offers special lower interest rates during deployment. If you have other credit cards with a very high interest rate, look at the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to get them reduced. Contact the legal assistance office on your installation for more information.
Homecoming and overspending
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for, so it can be tempting to overspend when you celebrate. Here are some ways to keep your homecoming debt free:
- During deployment, set some of your savings aside for a special occasion. Even $50 a month adds up.
- Visit your installation travel office for special post-deployment deals. If you’re going to a family resort, be sure to ask whether special rates are available for service members returning from deployment and their families.
- Shop at your installation exchange and commissary for post-deployment celebrations. The tax break and special sales can save you a bundle. Sticking to a spending plan and saving even small amounts can make a huge difference.
Find more tools and tips to keep you and your family strong during every phase of deployment from Military OneSource and your Military and Family Support Center. Military OneSource is ready 24/7 to help you and your family thrive.