Deployment Budget and How I Deal

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How I Deal with a Deployment Budget

deployment budgetMilitary deployments are very tough, and a whole different ball game when it comes to money. There are special pays and sometimes tax free pays. The downside to that is you also have, essentially, another household to run. That little pay increase sometimes isn’t enough. Here is the best way I have found to implement a system of which to work the deployment budget while your military spouse is deployed.

The best way I find to budget while your spouse is on deployment is to look at their LES prior to deployment. You can print it off from the MyPay website, but you will need your member’s log in information. Then compare it to their LES with any special pays for the deployment attached. This way you can see exactly what the pay increases are. I suggest doing this every month. The reason for that is, their pays can change on a monthly basis during deployments and you wouldn’t want to count on any of that money until you actually see it.

Work In Your Spouse’s Needs

Talk with your spouse about what types of things they will need on deployment. Make a list of items they will need as soon as you know about the upcoming deployment. Do this together. I know my husband needs approximately one stick of deodorant a month. However, if he were going to the desert, he may need more. Your stockpile will be extremely helpful to you while making your list. Chances are most of the items will be able to be taken directly from home. If your spouse cannot take anything more than a military bag with them, consider sending large flat rate boxes to them once a week until they have everything they need. It will cost you $12 per box and you can load them up.

During your sit down with your spouse, ask how much money they will need approximately every month. I suggest not including “fun time” money in this budget. Let’s be real honest for a minute. If you are counting pennies to get by everyday, there is no money for “fun time” even if they are deployed. I know that isn’t the most glamorous of statements however, this is something that my husband and I have both agreed on for many years now. When you have outstanding debts this can also be a good time for both households to cut the fat from the budgets and start that emergency savings account. Or allocate that money towards your outstanding debts such as credit cards.

How to Handle Allotments

I suggest not setting up an allotment to your spouses military account while on deployment. While allotments are convenient, they don’t allow the necessary emergency room situations that many of our families face. If the car breaks down, could your spouse take less money that payday so you can get it fixed without having to take out a military loan? In situations like these it is imperative that both spouses sacrifice some comfort for the greater good. While you can take out a loan from an institution such as Navy- Marine Corps Relief Society, you will have to pay that back. Who’s budget does that come out of every month?

Remember that when your spouse draws money for their account. Allocate for it out of your main bank account every time you look at it until you see that it has actually been drawn out. I have made this mistake. I sent off the bills to be paid for that pay period and then allocated for my husbands allowance. I had checked the bank account a week after the bills had been drawn out and noted the balance in the account. I made the mistake of not re-allocating and found myself on a very tight budget for the next 15 days. We have a lot on our minds during deployment and it is easy to make such a small error. Monies drawn from your soldier while on deployment can take up to a month to show up in your bank account. You would do well to write that on a sticky note and put it where you make out your bills as a reminder.

These suggestions are all things that my household employs on a monthly basis. They are all much easier said than done. However, if you stick to it and don’tĀ falter your deployment can run much smoother for everyone involved.


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  1. Virginia Forrest says

    I dread those ship allotments when my husband goes back on a ship again. For us they seem useless because I always make sure he has everything that is essential before he leaves. My husband use to take large amounts out of his check to go to just this account and just blow the money and then take more from our joint account. These things don’t happen anymore he is more grown up now. These are all from our first years in the Military life and we where still very young then. I do have some nightmare stories of money and deployments when my girl was a baby. i wouldn’t relive those for anything.

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