Friday, March 26, 2010

Money & Deployment

I got an email from a friend last night, and her husband has spent a lot of money since he deployed last month.

How do you work money and the budget while he is gone?  What about TSP?  Do you increase it?  Does he get an allowance?  Do you pay off bills?  Do you buy more things?  Do you eat out more?  How do you make it work?

I've had friends that give their spouses all of the extra money they earn.  What works for your family?

Do you plan out a budget before he leaves?

This is what we do, and it works for us.  Gunner always jokes that his next wife won't have a MBA, lol.

We have absolutely no debt.  No car payments, no credit card bills, nothing.

We increase Gunner's TSP, by 1%, quite frequently.  You don't really notice a 1% decrease in your pay, every month or so, but the increased amount in your TSP is noticeable.

Gunner has his own bank account, and he gets an "allowance" every month.  The first few deployments it was $25 a month.  I know, sounds really cheap.  The third deployment to Iraq he got $40 a month.  He never spent it all.  I check his account and if he needs more, I put it in there, but he might have needed that once a year or something. (I just called Gunner at work to see if he needed an increase and he told me that since they are closing everything down, he won't even need $40 a month, lol)

What do we do with the extra money?

We make sure we max out our IRA contributions, I play the stock market, increase 529 contributions, save more, and save, save, save.

What probably helps, is that Gunner is usually not in locations that have all the perks of home.

The first deployment to Iraq, my mom sent Gunner articles that she found in the local paper about life over there.  Gunner's response was "Tell you mom that not everyone lives in palaces and swims and BBQ's all day long".

How do you make your money work while he is gone?

P.S.  For the record, Gunner has no problem with the amount of money that he gets, and at no time has he not been able to get what he needs or wants.


Uncle Dan said...

Great job done by you for your family. Also remember the packages of goodies that he gets through out his deployment that don't count, or is that due to his sharing the contents with his buddies?

Julie the Army Wife said...

Good for you guys for being out of debt! That is our goal and I think we will be there after our next deployment.

My husband would get about $200 a month and he usually didn't even use it all.

It seems like we spent some of the deployment pay on me going back to the states last deployment.

I do want to either be paying debt or savings for this next one.

d.a.r. said...

Very interesting and thought provoking post! It will be interesting to see what other people have done--money is so personal and everyone has their own ways, that is for sure!

For us, it wasdifferent because we knew we would be buying a home when he got back (like um oops they day after he got home we made an offer, ha!). So we had a very tangible (and big!) financial goal that we intended to hit.

1- We maxed out the SDP plan as soon as possible. It was making way more interest than we could at our bank/in investments. Hard to beat 10%!

2- We maxed out both of our IRA contributions for 2008 and 2009.

3- We saved every single extra penny we could in a designated "house fund".

4- Z got an allowance while he was there. We didn't want his/our credit card floating around Iraq and we have heard too many horror stories of their credit card info getting filched off of the internet due to local/unreliable internet providers. So, he got a new checking account with a debit card. I put in $50 a month. He was in such a remote location that by the end of the 12 month deployment, he spent a little over $320 TOTAL.

It also helped that his mom is a psycho and mailed him 2-3 boxes a month of food, gatorade, protein powder, new shoes, socks/underarmor underwear, toiletries, etc. The man literally never had to buy anything. I'd estimate my MIL spent well over $1500 on care packages though, ha!

We saved, saved, saved. But, we are hoarders with our money by nature :)

Anonymous said...

I paid down our cars, I sent lots of care packages, I traveled to see my cousins and grandma, and back home to visit the parentals and friends. Saved some because we were PCSing right after he got back and we went on a big trip (the first trip we had ever taken together since we got married!) to San Francisco and Seattle mainly.

This time, goal is to pay off the couple of smaller credit cards we have, pay more on our cars, save a ton more, and send lots of care packages.

Hubs was not anywhere near a AAFES anything where he was. I would send him cash every couple of months (just $25) so he could pay another soldier for haircuts when he needed them. I reloaded his SPAWAR every 6 weeks or so with $25 so he could call home.

Lindsey said...

We seem to save money while he's gone. In past deployments it worked out that we had a small cushion when he got back. That was very nice, it enabled us to spend his first few weeks at home doing whatever we wanted. Dining out, going to the movies, etc.

I just don't seem to spend a lot of money when he's not here. We don't eat out, and I am going to admit something here, we have a lot of speghetti and meatballs nights while he's out. Quick, easy, cheap and the kids love it. LOL

On a Journey said...

We pay off things and save save save. I think my dh spent less than 100 dollars while overseas last time and he was gone for a year. LOL...he tries to stay frugal so that we can enjoy the money together when he gets home.

Amy said...

I must be one of the few whose husband spent at least $100 or more per month while deployed. He was in Baghdad but it's not like he didn't get a ton of care packages from people.

I have never really been able to save much from deployments. The money has always gone toward paying down debt, or paying for repairs on our house. Of course, the kids and I traveled home to see family twice this last time..only once the times before. I wish I had been able to save the majority but cest la vie.

Jeannette said...

We'll finally have our college credit card payed off before he leaves for his deployment so we'll be saving a lot. We might have to pay his highest school loan though because it doesn't look like the Army is going to start paying it. :0( That will be a huge financial burden but the deployment should help I guess. Also, I am the one getting an allowance because I therapy shop. We both know it so we are preparing for me to spend an extra $50 a month on crafting supplies and home decor items to make me feel a little better.

Gypsy at heart said...

Thank goodness for care packages! Uncle Dan left little to be desired...then there was Peggy, Gunner's mom and MIL, ABW, and a host of others.....

Crazy Shenanigans said...

That's awesome that you guys have no debt whatsoever. I guess whatever works best for you is the way to go. I guess save it and go on a vacation?

Anonymous said...

We definitely have a separate "deployment" account that I deposit an allowance once a month. I think the amount I put in is excessive but I find it hard to say no bc he's "over there" in a crappy situation. I use the leftovers to make extra car payments and boost the balance in our emergency fund. It's not much fun but we'll be debt free by the time he gets back so that makes it worth it.

Laura V. said...

We keep our same budget with only a few minor changes. My husband is very frugal, so this works incredibly well for us.

~ I spend less on groceries b/c he's not eating with us, but I also spend a little more on doing things with/for the kids, so it comes out to be the same.
~ We maxed out the SDP as soon as we could.
~ The base he is at uses something called "Eagle Cash." It's basically a debit card that can only be used on base and won't work anywhere else, so he gets his regular monthly allowance deposited there (we both get a monthly no-questions-asked allowance)
~ The only other added expense we have is his internet service at a ridiculous rate of $75/mo.
~ He gets tons of care packages from his squadron and friends (and us, of course) so all of his snacks, reading and such are taken care of.
~ The only debt we have is our home and I've been paying an extra payment on that each month!!
~ We save all the extra income and will move it around into our IRA's and such when he gets back and the SDP $ gets deposited back to us.