Tips to Save Money during a Deployment

4 06 2010

Deployments can be an extremely emotional time for everyone involved.  You scatter around tieing up all loose ends and prepare for the day your military member deploys. 

Adjusting to life without your loved one is difficult, but what you may not realize are the potential savings that are in store for you.  Going through a deployment ourselves accelerated those principles of saving money.

  • Participate in the Savings Deposit Program (SDP).  It was established to provide military members serving in designated combat zones the opportunity to build their financial savings.  Amounts up to $10,000 earn 10% interest annually.  You can read more here.
  • Place an Active Duty Alert on Credit Report.  Federal credit reporting law provides special protects for active duty service members, including reservists serving anywhere otehr than their usual station.  This helps prevent identity theft against servicemembers who are stationed far away from their home address. 
  • Stop the Cellphone Service.  Most combat areas are without cellphone coverage, resulting in no need to keep cellphone service on (Unless there is a need to receive calls from that number).  We had Rob’s phone turned off up until the last two weeks prior to his homecoming.  And during those six months we saved $270 (or $45 per month).  Keep in mind, you will want to ask your cellphone provider if there are any hidden fees, etc. involved. 
  • Notify Car Insurance Company.  Shortly after Rob deployed I notified our car insurance.  We received a discount!  Being upfront and honest pays off.
  • Prepare Wills and POA.  This area is not voluntary.  In fact, the service member is required to fill out these forms and these forms will prevent any future heartaches.
  • Fun Gifts at the Dollar Store.  The dollar store is a fun place to find small gifts for our deployed love ones.  Rob, not once, spotted a camel in the desert but I did at the dollar store.  They were party favors attached to string!  I mailed them with a note saying “Since you didn’t spot camels, I’m bringing the camels to you“.
  • Use Military Flat Rate Boxes at the Post Office.  Not only are they free(!) but the savings are remarkable.  To get the most out of these boxes, you will want to stuff them with as much stuff as possible.  My medium boxes ended up weighing 13 pounds and postage was $12.  I made sure to include heavy items in each package (canned fruit, vegetables, drinks, etc.).  The boxes have printed logos that read “America Supports You“.  That touched my heart!
  • Make Saving a Priority.  Each month I tallied-up our savings totals and notified Rob.  This was the only time (right now) that we had at making some decent money and it would be foolish to “blow it”.  Since he was spending all his time in the desert, I felt it was important to show him how our savings was growing.  It motivated him!  He always knew he was doing the right thing by being there, but to see the accelerated savings definitely reinforced that thought! 
  • Do-It Yourself Welcome Home Sign/Banner.  One week prior to Rob’s homecoming, I made a Welcome Home Sign using cardboard (it actually was the large box that housed the Post Office military flat rate boxes that I cut in half!).  Using red, black and blue permanent markers I went to work drawing hearts and writing welcome home!  This can be a bonding time with your family and friends.  I saved $25 by not purchasing a vinyl banner.  Not to forget having to store the banner afterwards.  [UPDATE:  I spied a Welcome Home banner, balloons and paper serve-ware at the Dollar Store last week!  These would come in handy for a homecoming party!]
  • Grocery Shop with Coupons.  There are plenty of coupons for boxed/microwaveable meals.  More often than not, my care package items were purchased using coupons.  Even if your service member wouldn’t necessarily use an item, someone in their unit will.
  • Shop Around for “Deployment” Items.  The month prior to the deployment was pretty hectic.  Rob wanted “this” and “that” – laptop ($400 with lifetime tune-up), electric razor ($98), headphones ($9), mp3 player ($40), external hard drive ($115).  My head was spinning with numbers!  I made sure to ask for a military discount as well as price matching!  We shopped around and chose not to purchase name-brand items in an effort to save some dough.  In no way did we feel bad purchasing a generic items because sand destroys everything!  In fact, the sand killed our mega-old camera mid-way through the deployment.  You must anticipate things breaking, especially during each flight, etc.  Finally, Rob had no source of entertainment except for his music and the movies he played on his laptop.  Sometimes these little splurges are needed to maintain some sanity!

This last tip was for my own personal sanity.  I have spoken to many other wives that had agreed with me regarding staying home was the best medicine to ease their pain.  This tip may not work for everyone.

  • Stay Home.  I cannot tell you how many times friends and family have told me to “go out“.  Staying home during the deployment was my security blanket.  That’s where Rob lives and I felt closer to him just by being home.  I kept myself busy by cleaning out the closets, reorganizing the food pantry, cleaning, writing letters and learning how to cook.  This worked for me and in turn I saved money by tending to the needs of my heart, rather than passing the time by shopping at the mall.

We want to hear from you, drop us a comment.  What ways have you saved during a deployment?

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22 05 2015
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Tips to Save Money during a Deployment | Growing Your Savings with Positive Financial Behavior

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