One of the things that is hard to get used to when we move to a new area with the military is the change in BAH (Basic allowance for housing). It is great if the BAH goes up, but hard if it doesn’t. So, one of the things that make a difference is learning to live within the same means no matter where we go and finding ways to save and take advantage of freebies in the area.
Basic housing allowance is meant to cover most of the expenses and is different in each location because the cost of living is different in each area. It is driven by the expenses in the area and meant to be established so that we have the same standard of living no matter which base we are stationed at. This doesn’t always seem to be the case though, which is why we need to figure out how to live well no matter what the BAH is.
One thing that made a difference for our family for the moves was that we would try and save any new BAH that we got. If our BAH increased, then we would live as though it didn’t. We placed the extra in a savings account and emergency fund. Saving in the beginning and sacrificing has allowed us to purchase our home and do things down the line that wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t made those sacrifices in the beginning. Looking ahead and planning for future expenses will have big rewards.
Look for all the freebies offered at your new location. Often if a location is more expensive there will be programs to compensate. Many bases offer free programs and utilizing base resources are a great way to save money. What does the base have that can help monthly expenses? Does the base have a gym that your family can use for free and so you can save on gym membership? Is there a community pool or community classes? If we look at our expenses from our past location maybe there are free resources for our new location. Big bases offer free movies, kid’s events, outings and resources that can help us stretch those dollars further.
Keep in mind having a credit monitoring service watching your credit report is an extremely useful tool. You’ll want to know if there are any potential identity theft threats or even fraudulent charges that stem from getting your identity stolen specially during such a vulnerable time as PCS’ing. Our partner IDIQ has daily credit monitoring services that offers an insight to when changes are made to your credit report profile. They actively monitor your Social Security number, change-of-address notifications, international and national most-wanted lists, and for your information on the dark web to ensure your identity is protected before you begin thinking of purchasing a home, during and after!
There are so many ways to save, build and max our BAH but being proactive is the key. Make sure to do the research on which area offers the best value and the best BAH. Pay attention to the resources that will be in your new area and try and live within the standard you had at the previous location, and you can be on your way to being financially stable even when things change with each move.
As CEO for Inspirational Inc. and founder of “Tea With Chantel” trainings & workshops, Chantel Mathson inspires women to live with purpose and build thriving community. She has traveled all over the U.S. and Canada, speaking and inspiring others to become impact makers. Chantel has been a featured speaker at NASA Space Center, The University of Notre Dame and numerous national conferences. She is a keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, blogger, bible teacher, military spouse mentor, author, and professor of communications. Chantel shares her heart and home with her husband, three kids and two dogs in California. As a Military spouse she has moved twelve times and has a heart for helping military wives connect, find their purpose, and create community. Her Tea with Chantel business evolved as she moved across the country and had to create new community herself. She is always ready to share a cup of tea and would love to connect… FB/Twitter/Linkedin/IG @teawithchantel or Instagram.com/teawithmilitarywives and teawithchantel.com
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