Deployment can be a time of anxiety and uncertainty for both service members and their families. Finances have a tendency to take a back seat to spending time with family and preparing for deployment.
However, if you take some careful steps before deployment and maintain good habits while away, it is actually possible to return to a much better financial situation than when you left.
Before you are deployed be sure to:
Suspend Your Cell Phone Bill
Fax your deployment orders to your cell phone company and ask them to pause your account until you return. Cell phone companies should be more than happy to do this and, on average, will suspend your account up to 18 months.
Save Money on Your Car Insurance
Change your coverage to reflect that your vehicle will be in storage and will not be driven while you are gone. Your car will still be insured against damage but your premiums will be lower.
Check Out Retirement Savings Plans
These plans can add incentives for contributions made during active duty service. The Thrift Savings Plan is sponsored by the federal government and a great place to start.
Talk to Your Bank About Reimbursements
See if your bank will give you a reimbursement on any foreign transaction fees while on active duty. If your bank doesn’t offer reimbursements, find one that does. USAA gives fee reimbursement for up to 12 months.
Manage your debt
Setting up automatic bill payments and talking to your creditors about your active duty status leads to a maintained credit score. Remember, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act gives you added protection for your finances while you are deployed, be sure to take advantage of the benefits you are entitled to.
Get a life insurance policy
Be sure your family is covered in case the unexpected happens.
While you are deployed:
Find the cheapest ways to call back home from where you are stationed. Calling cards can be expensive, so check out Skype and other VOIP providers to see if they could save you money.
Set aggressive saving goals
and meet them. Saving a little each day will have added up big time when you get home.
When you come home:
Make sure you meet your USERRA deadline
for applying for reemployment at your civilian job. The federal government provides reemployment protection for military members.
Photo thanks to heraldpost under a creative commons license from Flickr