Preparing for and dealing with a deployment is hard. If you are a service member, or if you are a spouse going through a deployment, trying to save money during deployment can be a daunting and critical task to take on.
However, there are ways to cut costs, save money, and still pay your bills on time. Here are a few tips to help you save money during deployment.
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
If you aren't familiar with it yet, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act gives legal rights to anyone being deployed and also extends some coverage to the spouse and family members of the service member. This is a big deal if you are trying to save money during deployment. Instead of paying bills you aren't using (like car insurance, phone bills, etc.) you can pause these contracts, or may be able to break them altogether.
Save Deployment Pay
There are many different ways that a service member can receive pay while deployed. Sometimes, you may qualify for additional compensation as well (based on the type of deployment and if the service member has a spouse/dependents).
There are times where deployment pay may be lower than traditional paychecks. However, if you find yourself earning more during deployment, throw the extra money into a savings account that you can't easily touch unless for an emergency. This will allow you to save money during deployment without losing out on too much income.
Lower Your Bills
Going along with taking advantage of the SCRA, you can find plenty of other ways to lower your bills during deployment. Almost every flexible bill, like utility bills, phone bills, and even car insurance can be lowered. Sometimes you may have to explain your situation (again, that's where the SCRA comes in), but more often than not you'll be able to lower your bills with just a simple phone call.
If you can't lower your bills, try cutting them out altogether. Do you really need cable? Can you do without the second car payment? Try seeing how you can simplify your finances so you can save money during deployment.
Use Military Discounts
Now, this doesn't mean to look down on small businesses or companies that don't offer military discounts (even if you think they should), but this does mean to take advantage of the offers when you get them. Military discounts can save you cash on almost everything, from food to getting your car serviced.
If you are a spouse dealing with deployment, military discounts can make a huge difference in your savings. Just don't forget to have your military ID to prove who you are.
Cut Out Unnecessary Expenses
As much as you may like eating out or getting haircuts, sometimes you have to buckle down and cut out unnecessary expenses. If you are losing money during deployment, cutting out expenses that aren't necessities can add a few (or a few hundred) dollars into your budget every month, and every little bit counts.
Go through your budget from the last few months, and see where you can make some changes. I guarantee that there will be something that you can cut out, just for the short term. Then, take the money you are saving on the expenses, and throw it into a savings account.
Get a Part-Time Job
If you have exhausted all other options and are still struggling while trying to save money during deployment, it may be time to apply for a part-time job.
While not ideal, especially if you have kids, a part-time job can help you stay afloat and save more money. You don't have to keep the job forever, but at least having it short-term can help you save more.
There are so many ways to save money during deployment, but these should start you on the right track.