But do not fret because there are frugal ways to manage and handle your finances the military way. Here are 27 tips to be frugal on a military budget.
Frugal tips for a military budget
1. Ask for military discounts
Your loved one is willing to put their life on the line for the country. You deserve to get these discounts. Research and understand what these benefits are. If your family qualifies for one, make sure you take advantage of it.
2. Switch banks
Financial institutions differ in services, fees, and especially interest they give you on your money. Usually, the bigger the bank, the better and safer your funds are. However, there are smaller credit union banks that might be better suited for your military budget. These smaller banks can offer competitive rates and even better customer service.
3. Take advantage of freebies on base
Gym facilities, exercise classes, and even childcare – these are freebies that can take a load off your military budget. You just need to educate yourself and know what these activities are so you can plan your time around them.
4. Switching from cable to Netflix
Technology has given us a lot to be thankful for. That includes our finances. It gives us the chance to be wiser and more frugal with our military budget. For instance, switching from cable to Netflix will help you save on a monthly basis. It offers more options too.
5. Buy in bulk when on sale – as long as they do not expire.
When you buy in bulk, you usually pay less for each piece compared to buying individual items. That means you save more when it goes on sale. Just make sure you buy only those that will not expire – or at least will expire after a long time. And these should be items that you really need at home.
6. Downsize to lower costs.
If you need to lower your expenses, you should audit your expenses and identify those you can give up to save money. For instance, if you have two vehicles but rarely use one of them then it might be time to live off on just one. It will drastically cut your maintenance and fuel cost and help you catch up and even pay off some debts in your finances.
7. Try shopping at the commissary
The commissary is heaven-sent if you are trying to live below your means. If you live near one then take advantage of it. They offer relatively lower-priced items compared to other stores.
8. Go meatless two nights a week.
Not only is it healthy it can lower your budget too. You can go meatless for a few nights and see how the kids react to pasta, fish and other healthier and low-cost alternatives. Remember to switch it up so your family does not get bored with the same meal over and over again.
9. Make freezer meals to curb the desire to eat out.
Speaking of food, there is nothing wrong with dining out every now and then. But when it adds up to be a big expense on your budget, consider freezer meals. You simply prepare them one day in the week and stack them in your freezer. When it is time to eat, just heat them up and you are all set.
10. Try a coupon rewards programs
If you sign up for a few coupon rewards programs, you might be surprised at the savings that will be generated.
11. Use cloth towels over paper.
It might need a little more work to wash them but it will surely save you a lot of money down the line.
12. DIY what you can.
A lot of household products can be done at home (e.g. laundry detergents, house cleaners, or baby food). You can even learn to cut your own hair – or that of your kids.
13. Take advantage consignment.
Take your kids clothes to a consignment shop and the credit you will get from it can be used to buy things as they grow. It’s like constant recycling!
14. Pay with cash.
It’s a whole lot more painful than using a card. Cash is more closely associated with hard work. That makes people more cautious in using it.
15. Cut out bad habits.
Calculate how much those cigarettes, energy drinks, or lattes are really costing you each month. You will get an idea how much you can save by removing your bad habits. The health benefits will make it even more valuable.
16. Use the envelope system budgeting.
Budgeting can be tedious. But there are simple ways to go about it. One of them is the envelope system. What you do is to get a couple of envelopes and write all the spending categories on each one. Put the allotted cash on each envelope when you get your income. As long as there is cash in it, you can continue spending. When it runs out of cash, you stop. It is that simple.
17. Show support for businesses that support the military.
These shops oftentimes give discounts to military families – as long as the business is good. The more you do business with them, the higher the chances they give back to customers as well.
18. Sell unwanted items that are in good condition.
Holding garage sales is a good way to declutter your life and earn a little extra on the side.
19. Mend your own clothing.
This is one of the most important DIY skills that you should learn. If you learn how to sew or mend your clothing, you can slash this spending category significantly. You do not have to buy new clothes if you can learn how to sew alterations here and there.
This is simply one of the things you should consider to manage your transportation cost. As a bonus, you get to make friends with your passengers.
21. Bring your own bags to the grocery stores.
Some stores give a small discount for doing so. It is good for the environment too.
22. Line dry clothes when you can.
If this is something you can do at home then it will surely lower down your utility bills. You get to do away with that expensive dryer.
23. Check out GasBuddy.com.
This is how you find the cheapest gas in your area BEFORE you leave the house. It is a good idea to check out gas prices in your area before you head out to pump gas. It can save you significant amount of money every month.
24. Unplug appliances that are not in use.
This is especially true for cell phone chargers, irons, and toasters. This exercise can help lower down your electricity consumption as well as prevent any potential accidents at home.
25. Sign your kids up for birthday clubs!
Apart from getting birthday ideas, the kids get to have some gift cards. We get free ice cream, little gift cards and much more each time their birthdays come around!
26. Ask your utility company if they offer a lower rate during off-peak hours.
This is when you want to do laundry or wash dishes. It will help you save on electric consumption and lower your bills.
27. Make friends with other spouses.
There are financial benefits to making friends with military spouses. This is not just for your social life. They can let you know of special sales happening around the base. Some can even help with the kids when you have an important errand to run.