Saving money while my husband's in the Army and I work for peanuts.
I created this blog because I like reading other military spouse's blogs. Part of being a military spouse is having the uncertainty of not knowing where you will have to live next or for how long. It often means moving around every few years and dealing with the deployment of a loved one. Financial advice isn't one size fits all and often financial advisors tailor their advice to the non-military folks out there, saying to buy a house right away and talking about 401k's instead of TSP's.
About 5 years ago (very soon after my husband and I got married) I saw David's Bach's book, "Automatic Millionaire" and it truly changed my life and how I thought about money. We started out with pretty much nothing when we got married. I had $1,000 in credit card debt, and my husband had $1,000 saved from a recent re-enlistent bonus.
We have since managed to save for a downpayment on a home, open and contribute automatically to 2 retirement accounts, and get rid of all our credit card debt once and for all. At the time this blog was first written I was very excited to write that we had "increased our networth from $0 to $18,000!" Now that number has gone up a bit.
We save 15% of his pre-tax income in the Thrift Savings Plan, which is the government's version of a 401k retirement account, only with no matching funds. We also try to max out our Roth IRA every year (some times it doesn't quite happen but close enough).
We used to save 25%, or $1,000, per month of his take home pay but still had credit debt and as you'll see in some of the old blog entries we struggled with that for a while. We've notched down savings a bit, but still save regularly and have an emergency cushion that we're comfortable with.
After moving back in with my parents we saved like crazy and managed to save $33,000 for a downpayment on a our first home! We financed the rest with a 15 year mortgage since we had recently begun listening to Dave Ramsey and liked a lot of his ideas. We pay an extra $300 a month towards principle which means that if everything goes as planned the house will pay off in 10 years instead of 15!
Part of the reason that we can save so much is that we have no car payments. I'm no finance expert, but I firmly believe that people spend too much on new cars when they should be saving instead.
Our goals now are to pay off the house and save for when my husband gets out of the army, whenever that may happen...