After paying gas money, the dry cleaners, and the money spent on “pogey bait” for AT, you may have some money left over.
Most Guardsmen and Reservists have no problem finding a place where that pay check goes, but putting some thought into where and how to spend those hard-earned funds can be a wise exercise.
Some look at AT money as a chance to pay off lingering credit card bills or a chance to pay for that vacation with the family. However, some decisions are better than others in spending that cash and thinking through it can help make life a little easier.
First Things First
As a college student serving in the National Guard, I saved my AT money to pay important bills for the upcoming semester. Looking ahead, I knew that my chances to get paid this lump sum of money in a short time frame was my opportunity to have a little more put away for my near future.
I estimated my rent and utilities for the next few months, averaged out my grocery bills, and took a gander at what I expected my car insurance was going to be before I spent a dime of my money. While some of the guys with real jobs looked at their paycheck a little differently, it was my time to secure my future.
Others in my unit, upon our return from the field ,would immediately celebrate and let slip some “Jeffersons” on a night out on the town with the boys. That is perfectly fine and there is nothing wrong with it — as long as you are not blowing it too soon!
I am sure that they had all their credit card bills paid and the wife was happy for them getting another good year in for retirement purposes, but it always made me wonder if the sudden allure of cash in hand was too much of a temptation for them.
What Works for You
Look to what is right for you and your situation. Do you have a purchase coming up that you need to plan for? How about that credit card bill that you may still have from Christmas? Is it all paid off yet? Prioritize what you will do by taking a common sense look at what your real needs are at the time. Remember that needs and wants are two different things and the needs will get you through another day while wants just get bigger as the paychecks roll in.
Pay off any bills first, especially those high percentage credit card bills. Those are a killer to everyone who has them. If you can get those paid off or at least knocked down, you will be making more money in the long run. Same goes with any other bills that you may have. Look at what you owe and to whom and get those debts under control.
Putting some aside for a rainy day is also a good move. If you have any money left over after paying your bills, look to set aside a percentage for those unexpected bills that will surely come up when you least expect it. No one plans to have a flat tire, a busted air conditioner or a broken pair of glasses, but they come up as sure as the sun rises. Planning ahead and putting a little aside now will help you out in the future!
I know that new deer rifle is calling your name, and those new flashy rims for your car are tempting you, but slow down and look at what you have, what you need and what you owe. Just a little bit of planning will help you out in the long run and will make your already busy life just a little bit easier in the long run.
Now, just don’t forget to clean up your gear before you stow it away — you don’t want to make that Sergeant Major lose his mind! Read comments