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.
We survived another birthday with Abs. She only managed to wake up at the crack of dawn, knock something over and give it a little character, and make a mess wherever she went.
We found this cute little outfit at walmart today, and I thought it would make her pictures a little more toned down than what she was originally wearing. Six dollars too!
We spent forever trying to pick out a cake. Abs inspected each one, compared and contrasted, and mentioned that it might be easier with a venn diagram. Finally she decided on one, and then requested that the cake lady write "happy birthday" and her name in a different color for each letter. The cake lady looked annoyed, but said she would write each letter of her name in a different color.
When the cake lady was finished, Abs was absolutely delighted, placed the cake in the buggy, and then threw her arms around the cake lady to thank her for making her birthday so special. What was the cake lady to do but smile, tell me what a wonderful kiddo I had, and give her free cookies. Just what she needed, sugar.
We had her open presents before we went to eat, and she was so excited about capri pants.
She got a dinosaur.
It moves, roars, plays music, is really neat. She loved her sewing machine.
And she seemed happy with everything else that she got. We went to dinner at The Airplane Restaurant. It was so neat!
We made reservations to sit in the plane portion of the restaurant. Abs was about to jump out of her skin. We hit the bathrooms and they reminded me of The Mrs.
We came out as Abs was telling everyone that we had reservations for the plane. (one guy thanked her for letting him know, so he could sit elsewhere) When Abs is excited, she gets louder and louder. Three kids, and they need to be heard, so the sound seemed to be deafening to me.
The waitress came to our table and introduced herself as our Flight Attendant. Abs screamed "We are going to take off????". I assured Abs we were staying put. They were amazed to be sitting over the wing, that the table was a map, and that they were allowed to go to the cockpit and "fly" the plane. Don't think that Abs wasn't trying to figure out how they had it stuck to the ground, so she could make it take off.
The food was great, although a tad expensive. Our flight attendant assured me that we were not even close to being the loudest family that had ever been there. Whew. The kids were just so excited and it was pretty cool.
There were milkshakes to be had.
Cute Soldiers in attendance.
Two piegons that decided to give a facts of life demonstration on the wing of the plane. This was before those two little lovebirds got carried away.
The kids' analysis of it was "they are riding each other piggyback like Sammy used to do to Junior". Thanks kids for telling everyone in the restaurant that Sammy the humping dog lives with us.
The restaurant was filled with memorabilia and history. I could have walked around all day trying to absorb it all.
We returned home for cake and ice cream.
Now all three kiddos are tucked into bed and will hopefully be asleep soon.
Her only request this birthday was a stuffed duck for her dog. I think we can manage that. She's also getting a sewing machine (so she will keep her hands off of mine), a dinosaur (of course), material, a jump rope (because she finally learned how to jump at PT), and probably some legos (her other obsession). While it is tempting to get her a straight jacket for the bus stop, a muzzle so she won't bite, and a lock on her bedroom door so she can't get up at all hours of the night, I think I will just hope that this year is a lot easier than the other 8.
Happy Birthday Abs, you have given us a run for our money, but we are fortunate that we were chosen as your parents because you are so special, and not everyone would be able to deal with your antics. I love you!
This would be the artwork that Abs drew while she was sitting in the third row seating in our highlander. She was lucky that the tar came up with oxiclean. Very lucky. She then had to detail the entire car under the watchful eye of her father.
I finished cleaning up the basement and made room for my sewing machine down there, so I am back at work.
I took a class several years ago, specific to my machine, but I am having to practice a little to remember everything that I learned. It's slowly coming back to me.
This machine does everything, I love it!
First order of business was to applique some pillowcases.
Even Em got in on the action and made herself a bag.
Not too shabby! Junior got a pillowcase and next on my list is a shirt for his birthday, some more bags, and a billion of other things.
Gunner and I were able to hit the road today and get in a 15 mile bike ride. It's been absolutely beautiful the last few days. We will have snow dumped on us tomorrow.
A better view, without me, and you can see Pikes Peak.
I'm still trying to simplify my life. Some days it is better than others.
It's Spring Break this week, so plenty to keep us busy till they return to school.
We have survived four year long deployments--one to Bosnia and three to Iraq. We have been married for almost 17 years and have three children--Em, Abs, and Junior. Gunner is currently deployed for the 5th time to Afghanistan. We are fast approaching the year mark, and then we will focus on the prize--retirement!