Military Personnel

Members of the United States Armed Services have a lot of opportunities because of the unique nature of their roles, and that's true whether you're talking about their career or just personal enrichment and development. This unique path toward building a life also provides its own challenges, including financial planning challenges that civilians and their families simply don't have the experience to understand. If you're embarking on a career in any branch of the military, you need to know what resources are out there to help you build a secure financial future, as well as what advantages you might have through special programs designed to reward your service and meet your needs. These tips can help you make your monthly budget run better and help you save in the long term.

1. Get a Military Credit Card

Credit card companies have spent most of the last half-century innovating new approaches to credit that are each designed for a specific audience and purpose. The military is no exception. Like students, small business owners, and those in unique professions like transportation logistics, the needs of service members are a bit out of step with the typical demands of the average consumer. That's why there are programs designed to provide credit for active-duty personnel and veterans alike. The key is finding the right program provider. When you do, you can get a specialized military American Express credit card with additional features that help you at home and abroad. Unique program rewards and competitive interest rates through these programs ensure you have purchasing power when you need it, in any country where American Express card processing operates.

2. Get Some Coaching for Your Finances

No one is born with the ability to run a budget. It's a skill, and like any skill, it requires a combination of knowledge and practice. You might be able to teach yourself if you want to go at it independently, but that means a lot of research, as well as a little trial and error with your own budget. Another option is to go ahead and hire some help. Personal trainers and coaches get you faster results when training your body, so follow the same approach to get your budget in shape. A good financial planning coach can help you plan for a rainy day, stay inside a spending plan, and even put savings to work in long-term investments that will help you gain the resources you need to make major milestone purchases like new vehicles or even a home.

3. Start Tracking Your Expenses

No amount of planning can help you if you're not tracking your actual performance against that plan. It's not always possible to put off expenses that might exceed your budget, but if you don't identify your expenses and track them, you won't know whether you are running over or not, much less whether it's your choice or just your run of luck right now. When you track expenses, it's also easier to identify what you can cut to bring that budget back in line when you do have those surprise expenses. Tracking the costs you have to cover every month also means being able to provide yourself with a more accurate estimate of your discretionary spending each month. Once you know the difference between the money you must spend and the money you choose to spend, you're set up to accurately estimate what you can afford to save, too.

4. Make the Most of Your Deployment, Financially

When you're deployed, you could be gone for months at a time, or even an entire year in some cases. Take advantage of your ability to cut expenses while you're deployed and on duty by reducing the amount of financial upkeep you need to do at home. Storing belongings to avoid paying for apartment leases you won't need for several months, reducing your off-duty spending abroad, and taking other steps to curtail any impulse-purchasing while you are away all help you put more into savings when you're on duty, so you have more money to put into your goals when you get back home.