Why is there always so much month left at the end of the money? We know you look forward to the 1st and 15th like it's a fantasy draft and you've got first pick. But wondering whether or not you're going to be able to buy groceries by the end of the month is one game we're not here for. Here are 5 easy ways to save, military edition:
1. Take advantage of discounts
We know your work is supposed to speak for itself and that humility is one of the key attributes of service.
We also know there are a lot of organizations and companies out there that want to support the military and aren't sure how to do it other than offering a discount. Ask with every transaction you make if there's a discount. Turns out that 10% off a few times a week adds up pretty quickly.
Also, call your service providers (cell phone, internet, tv, even your credit card companies) and ask if you can get a military rate. Navy Federal Credit Union has a great list of discounts available that come with being a member. Do your homework to see what companies offer military discounts. If yours doesn't, see if they'll match a competitor's program.
We know it's hard to shout your service from the rooftops, but if these companies want to help you by honoring your military experience with a rewards program or money off each month, it's okay to let them.
2. Don't outsource
We love outsourcing as much as the next guy. But take a hard look at everything you're spending money on for someone else to do and see if you could DIY at a cost savings. Take the guard off your clippers and cut your own hair and enjoy cutting your costs by several hundred dollars a year. Mow your own lawn, change your own oil and utilize the base hobby shop to fix that broken alternator.
Have an expensive repair looming at your house and really can't swing the cost? Watch a YouTube video on how to fix it. Whether it's repairing a phone screen, a dishwasher or a leaking pipe, the wonderful experts of the internet can often save you lots and lots of cash.
3. Shop at the commissary
On average, commissary shoppers can save around 30% on items than if they were shopping for those same needs in town. The commissary private labels (Freedom's Choice, HomeBase, Top Care, Tippy-Toes and Full Circle Market) are an even larger savings. And, you don't have to pay sales tax!
4. Pack your lunch
According to HowStuffWorks, taking the extra five minutes to pack a lunch (especially with your Commissary-sourced food!) can save you upwards of $1500 a year.
That's several months of a car payment, an emergency or vacation fund or just some extra cash. And leftovers really are better the second day - promise.
5. Check your subscriptions
It's easy to sign up for apps with recurring costs or streaming services that appear to be a bargain, but those easily add up over time.
Try annualizing your spending. It's easy to justify $10/week for an app, but can you really justify $520 a year on it when you could feasibly get the same functionality for free?
"Subscription expenses can start to pile up if you don't keep track of them," said Clay Stackhouse, member acquisition manager at Navy Federal Credit Union. "It's important to have a budget where you can keep track of your monthly expenses so you know exactly how much you're spending and on what."
We know budgeting is tough, especially when there never feels like there's enough to go around. Take the pressure off yourself, utilize these tips and leverage some of the free resources provided by Navy Federal Credit Union to help you maximize your savings and your financial confidence.
This post was presented by Navy Federal Credit Union.