Deployments, short tours, and extended TDYs can put a crimp in your budget if you don’t plan accordingly. If you practice smart money management before, during, and after your deployment, you might even be able to set aside a nice chunk of change for a rainy day!
1. Suspend any services you can’t use during your deployment.
Make sure that you take a moment to examine your monthly bills to see if there are any utilities or services you can temporarily suspend, such as your cell phone plan and cable/satellite service. If you’re married or have roommates and your utilities or service accounts are solely in your name, you may want to add an authorized user to your account in the event of any issues with those services.
2. Grant appropriate powers of attorney to a trusted relative or friend to handle professional matters during your deployment.
Consider providing a general power of attorney to a trusted family member in the event an issue arises that requires your personal signature or attention. Remember that military pay issues require a specific power of attorney (your installation’s Legal Office can provide you with further information about specific powers of attorney).
3. Know how the SCRA protects you when you’re facing a deployment.
Thanks to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, you have the option to break a property lease with no penalty if your deployment is 90 days or longer. If you will be gone 180 days or more, you can get out of an automobile lease as well.
4. Consider setting up multiple checking accounts.
If you’re leaving a spouse or significant other behind, consider setting up yours, mine, and ours (household) checking accounts to ensure that all of your bases are covered back home. Think about it — you don’t want two people spending out of the same account at the same time, especially if you’re not able to readily communicate your spending habits!
5. Take advantage of the Savings Deposit Program.
While you’re deployed, you can sock away up to $10,000 in the Savings Deposit Program. All funds deposited into SDP earn 10% interest annually. Check out the Defense Finance and Accounting Service to learn more about how you can participate.
Note: The SDA is provided by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service as part of the U.S. Department of Defense.
6. Save your special pays and allowances.
It’s no secret that Uncle Sam pads your pockets a bit while you’re deployed. Make sure you have a plan for the extra income by setting it aside in an emergency savings account, Roth IRA, or other investment brokerage account.
7. Pay down debt during your deployment.
Got debt? Use your extra deployment cash to pay down any consumer debt you have. Don’t forget to call your creditors and let them know you’re deploying. See if they offer any special programs to help reduce your interest rate during your deployment. I’ve heard stories of servicemembers having their interest rates eliminated in some cases.
8. Keep your financial wits about you when you return home.
Don’t let your extra deployment cash burn a hole in your pocket when you return home. Keep it cool, don’t be a money fool — don’t blow your well-deserved funds on unnecessary splurging!
How have you turned a deployment into a win for your personal finances?