Saturday, October 3, 2009

Playing Catch Up...and...Deployment Pay

Hey Everyone,

Sorry its been so long since I have written! Its been a whirlwind of crazy stuff going on here in my home. Between finding out I am expecting to my husbands H1N1 scare, you can imagine blogging hasn't been on  the forefront of my mind!!!

Ok, so lets talk about Deployment Pay. While deployment is a tough time for each and every military family, the military tries to lessen the financial burden on those families by not only making your income tax free, but by also including some extra moola! The extra pay is definately, probably the only good part about a deployment (if you can even call it that) You can put some money in savings, pay off bills, save for a down payment on a car, or a home, save for college...whatever you want! However, when your man comes home, your pay stops. Boo. What alot of people are not prepared for however, are the financial audits you go through after a deployment. Its a crazy statistic, but over 30% percent of the military gets overpayed during a deployment due to clerical errors. And guess what? The military doesnt take that laying down. They gave you too much money and you can be sure they will catch it, and take it back. Believe me...been there and done that. They will either issue you a "no pay" or start a "liquidation of indebtedness", removing a set about of money from each paycheck. My husband and I are STILL paying $307.00 a month towards what they overpayed him and that started in April. So my advice to you? After your husband or spouse deploys, make an appt with whoever handles his pay and get his pay checked. Make sure everything is OK. Remember though, you do have to have a POA (Power of Attorney) to take care of any financial (or anything else for that matter!) issues that may arise, so make sure to get one before he deploys (although thats normally something they give your spouse an opporunity to do, during his work-up to a deployment).

Have you ever had any pay issues during deployment?

Have a great Saturday evening! Snuggle up to your hubby or kids and enjoy a movie tonight!


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Connecting Children to a Deployed Parent

Hey Ladies,

I got a comment from reader, Beth Allen about a website she has made to connect deployed parents with their children. Check out her website to see what it is all about and tell us what you think.


A Good Read...

While many of your lives are probably filled with soccer games, PTA meetings and spit-up, for those of you who have the time to actually sit down, relax and read, I have just the book for you!

Before my husband and I tied the knot, he gave me a book that I thought was absolutely fantastic. It really opened my eyes to military life and the up's and down's of being a military spouse. Whether you are a new wife or just want to read about people whom you can relate to, "While They're At War" by Kristin Henderson is a great read!

Check it out!


Friday, September 18, 2009

"X" Does NOT Always Mark The Spot!

Hey All,

Whether you are new to this whole world of being a military spouse or are a seasoned "veteran", you have all heard of "The Exchange" on your local base. While the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Navy all refer to them with different phrases like, "NEX" (Navy) or PX (Marines), etc they all sell the same items, such as clothing, audio and visual products, bedding, etc. While most people would automatically assume that "The Exchange" should be cheaper than any local civilian store, this is simply NOT true. While most "on base" (or "Post", for you Army) retailers will MATCH a lower price if you find a better price elsewhere, who wants to go to that effort? Always check prices. While there is no tax on purchases made at a government retailer, you may still be able to find a better price at other civilian retailers, like Walmart, Big Lots or Target. Don't be fooled.

It's Friday!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Adjusting to Life after a PCS...

Today was a long day. Little Samantha, who you are currently pottytraining didnt make it to the potty in time and well, lets just say the hardwood got the brunt of that little accident. Your 10 year old conveniently "forgot" to do some of his homework and after insisting he do it while he ate breakfast, he proceeded to spill orange juice all over the table, his homework and the bills you have been ignoring that were stacked in the center in the table. The baby is screaming. You had five minutes to get everyone cleaned up, stop the tears and pack everyone in the car. 8 hours later and you just finished your normal weekday routine, put the kids in bed and are picking up the last of the toys your kids so kindly left behind for you when your husband walks in the door. You expect a kiss and hug, but then he utters the words you knew were coming, but would wreak major havoc and stress in your life: "I got my orders!!!". You smile. While you are a little excited about the prospect of exploring a new city, you also know this means pulling your kids out of school, having to deal with housing issues and most importantly, leaving behind your support group. Your friends.

I know this story pretty well. While I don't have kids and everyone's experiences and situtions vary, it seems that sometimes, adjusting to life after a PCS can be equally as stressful and difficult. I made some great friends at our last Duty Station and even after moving to Maine almost 9 months ago, I have struggled to make friends. Each duty station change can come with different challenges. You might have a great experience with housing during one PCS and feel like you are pulling teeth the next. Each move is unique. What will be difficult during each PCS however, is adjusting to life in a new place. From making friends and forming a new support group for yourself and your kids, to finding the commisary, finding new daycare, making that call to Tricare to change your "region" and updating addresses for every credit card you have, it can all bring new challenges. The military gives you plenty of tips (they even give you a checklist if you request it) for PCS'ing, they fail to give you support when it comes to adjusting to life after a PCS. They fail to prepare you THAT part. That's where "Fleet and Family Services" or other similar programs come in handy. Every base has one and they are there to help you. They can give you information on your new home area, give you dishes and cleaning supplies if you are STILL waiting for your shipment of things, and generally provide you and your family support.

Making new connections and making friends can be difficult, but remember to get involved in the free (or almost free) classes for wives and sports opportunities for your kids. Living on base does come with some great perks for military families. Remember to take advantage of them! While you may be missing your friends back at your old base, thats no excuse. Get out there, get involved and make the best of this big change! The power is really in YOUR hands to make it a great experience or an isolating one!

What has your experience been adjusting to life after a PCS? Have you ever been assisted by programs like "Fleet and Family Services" or other similar programs? How did they help you?

Its Sunday! Take an afternoon Nap!


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Savvy Savers Tip

Hey you Savvy Savers,

Yes, the opening line was cheesy, but lets be honest, living on a military paycheck forces us all to be savvy savers. Every so often I will post an item that myself, my friends and you, the reader has discovered to be the cheapest, yet efficient product in its catagory. This week's catagory.... DETERGENT. I don't know about you but, I do laundry alot! I don't even have kids! The in and out of cami's to civilian clothes 'dance' the hubby does throughout the week makes my laundry pile out of control! Between that, my own clothes and my little obsession with putting juuuuust a little bit extra detergent in to boost the freshness does a number on the amount of money I spend on that magic stuff each year. This year, I have literally tried every single detergent you can think of. The winner? Purex.

I had never heard of Purex until I found myself browsing the isles of the home cleaning section at a local commisary. When I saw it I thought, "Hmm, Its waaaaaay too cheap.... It probably doesnt work." I figured it had to be a second rate product that I would have to use double off each use, to be sold at THAT price. It was almost half the others. Ok, maybe not half, but at the very least 5-8 dollars cheaper than the other brands. AND the good news???? It works! You can buy a "96 loads Ultra Concentrate Purex" detergent for around $9.89!!

Purex gets a round of applause from me.

Happy Saving!


Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11

Hi All,

Do you remember where you were when you heard the news? I was in my English class. At first I had no understanding of what had happened and was currently happening to thousands of innocent bystanders as I sat safely in my classroom. When I finally saw the images playing across the TV screen in History class an hour later, any security and safety I felt was gone. Vulnerability and fear filled my soul. I was scared for my family and friends and the fear the terrorists meant to instill in the American people, was seen in the eyes of every person in my class. We were all scared. For millions of people my age, that was the first we had seen of terrorism and the image is forever set in our minds. Where were you? Had you ever experienced or seen anything like what happened on that terrible day? What did you feel? How do you feel about 9/11 now? Do we do enough to commemorate 9/11 and those who lost their lives? What about the soldiers who invaded Iraq and Afganistan as a result of 9/11? Do we give enough credit to them, or is the memory of those brave men and women forgotten? What do you think?