Now that you know your soldier is being deployed it’s time to sit down together and build a reasonable budget you and your spouse can both stick to. It is very important to take care of things like creating a budget before your spouse leaves; separation is hard enough without financial problems.
First you will want to make sure to decide on a way for the non-deploying spouse to receive money to take care of the household. The best way to do this is to set up an allotment or automatic transfer into their bank account. Personally I tend to discourage the use of a joint account to pay the bills, it is a lot harder to keep track of how much either one is spending when they are oceans apart and it will increase the threat of overdraw.
So once you have how to get money decided you should write down all of your expenses and add them up. If any of your bills can be paid by automatically every month, it is an easy way to take some stress off of the non-deploying spouse. Add up the amount of the expenses, this is the minimal amount needed to take care of the house hold.
In your budget you will want to include a few things you may not have previously thought of.
1. Money for care packages. You will want to send care packages to your soldier and care packages aren’t cheap, even if you spend carefully there is still postage to think about.
2. Allowance. Both spouses should be allowed a certain amount to spend on themselves or whatever they choose each month. Without a little reward it will make the separation even longer.
3. Savings. If you actually allot money to go into a savings account each month or each payday and don’t touch it, I guarantee you will be very happy with the outcome. Set a goal for the amount you would like to save during the deployment and divide it to see how much you will need to set up for your monthly allotments.
4. School functions and expenses. Don’t forget that if you have children there are a million things that you will be putting out money for each year. These expenses include pictures, fundraisers, functions like games and dances.
5. Seasonal needs for children. Sometimes we forget that our kids grow so fast. You may want to set aside money for winter clothes like coats and boots. Don’t forget summertime usually poses the same problem and you will need to get shorts and flip flops for the kids.
Hopefully these tips on how to build a budget will help you through what will probably be a very rough time anyway. Creating a budget you both can stick by will ease the hardship of having a deployed spouse. And hopefully in when your soldier returns home you will have a nice amount in savings as your reward.