By Bethany Sheets

Keep the homefires burning with these 7 morale boosters
Photo credit: DVIDS, PO2 Michael Lee

Don’t blow your budget and create financial tension; always communicate with your spouse and make sure you’re on the same page with finances.  But if there’s a little wiggle room in your wallet, choose which ones would fit in your budget and would make your life easier and happier while your spouse is deployed. Money can’t buy you happiness but spending some extra money on these ten things can make deployment a little more tolerable.

1. Frozen Meals

IMG_3211 from Flickr via Wylio
© 2015 N i c o l a, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

It’s nice to have these meals on backup in your freezer or for those days when you just “can’t even” and you need something fast and easy!

2. Gym Membership

Yoga from Flickr via Wylio
© 2013 Dave Rosenblum, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

My best and proudest days during deployment were the days I went to the gym.  I made friends or I met up with friends in my workout classes.  I was doing something for me, by getting stronger and healthier.  Our YMCA had two hours of free childcare, and I’d pick up my kids feeling refreshed and excited to see them. Sometimes gyms have military discounts or special pricing for families during deployments.

3. Bridge the Digital Divide

wifi.jpg from Flickr via Wylio
© 2010 miniyo73, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

Staying in touch with your deployed spouse is necessary during deployments. If you have an older laptop, phone, or tablet, consider investing in a new one to ensure you can communicate often.  Service members do not all have the same access to the internet. Wifi and internet services vary by location and deployment and are often an out-of-pocket expense for the service member. Build wifi costs into your deployment budget as a priority.

4. Trips

Road trip near Sykkylven from Flickr via Wylio
© 2012 TimOve, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Break up the monotony of deployment. Go see your sister, your parents, your uncle, or your old BFF.  If you’re adventurous, plan a getaway and meet up with some friends… perhaps in a destination like NYC or Vegas!

5. Housekeeping

Kane Cleaning Supplies from Flickr via Wylio
© 2008 Collin Anderson, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Some of us aren’t domestically inclined and may struggle juggling household chores and other responsibilities during deployment.  If that sounds like you, you might want to consider hiring a housekeeper once a month to help around the house. Not in the budget? A deep clean before your spouse returns can help with the stress and jitters that come before homecoming day.

6. Getting “Homecoming Ready”

DSCF1131-Shopping from Flickr via Wylio
© 2016 Enric Fradera, Flickr | CC-BY-ND | via Wylio

Go ahead and splurge on an outfit that makes you feel like a million bucks… or find an adorable, inexpensive dress. You might even splurge on a cut and color, mani/pedi, wax, or spray tan. Plan ahead so you don’t put yourself in an uncomfortable financial position, and then enjoy setting up your appointments and dress shopping because you’re almost there.

7. Photographer

Photographer from Flickr via Wylio
© 2014 kishjar?, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Deployments suck, plain and simple.  But the homecoming…. oh, the homecoming!  The homecoming makes all the lonely nights and stressful days melt away when your service member wraps their arms around you. For me, our family’s homecoming days rank right up there with my wedding day and births of my children. I am so glad we had photographers to capture the moment when we were reunited.

You can spend a good chunk of change on your photographer or find a spouse who is just starting their photography business. There are also some photographers who will do homecomings for free.  Check out Operation Love Reunited and Welcome Them Home.

Bethany has survived military life thus far with ample coffee, awesome community, and God’s amazing grace. She is currently in San Diego with her Marine husband and three children, but moving to Indiana soon, as her husband is transitioning out of the military.  She hopes to continue her love of working with military families, volunteering, photography, and frequent trips to coffee shops.