Military Spouses, Marriage, and Money
The topic of military spouses and money gets people going. Despite the fact that life does cost money, asking about money, your service member’s pay, or anything to do with how much money you are making can get a lot of different responses. From those who help you figure out what you need to know about money issues to others who seem to take the slightest question about finances and blow it out of proportion.
The truth is, as a military spouse we need to be aware of the money coming into our homes. It doesn’t matter if we have a job and make more than our service member or if we stay at home with the kids and don’t bring in any income. Finances are important, and we need to pay attention to them.
You should have a say
When money comes into a household, that money is spent on your rent or mortgage, utilities, food, home repairs, cars, children, and more. In some marriages, both partners work. They both bring in a regular income. For some, this means all money goes into the same account. For others, this means that you each have your own account and decide who will pay what.
The problem is when one spouse does not work for any pay, and they feel like they don’t have a right to say where the money goes. This is BS right here. You are a married couple, and you should have a say where the money goes. If your spouse isn’t allowing you to have a say about any money simply because you don’t bring in an income at the moment, something isn’t right.
Not being allowed to work
There are plenty of frustrations to finding work as a military spouse but your spouse saying that you can’t, even if you want to, shouldn’t be one of them. If the couple decides together that one of them will stay home with the kids and the other will be a sole provider, they should live their lives that way. The issue isn’t becoming a SAHM or not, the issue is when a spouse wants to work and her spouse is telling her she can’t.
When we got married, we both worked full-time. Over the last 15 years, my husband and I have done different things, and the percentage of how much each of us made has changed over time. While there is the traditional idea that one makes all the money and the other stays at home for all those years raising children, this isn’t quite the norm anymore.
For one thing, living on one income can be difficult, especially when you add multiple kids to your family. There will be food and diapers, then sports and braces and it truly doesn’t ever end. Life with kids costs money, and it isn’t always wise to have a stay at home parent. A lot of stay at home parents I know make extra money from home or even have a night time part-time job.
Over the course of your marriage, who makes what might change. Not every service member stays in for 20 years and wants to be in the military for a career. Not every SAHM wants to be one forever. There are so many more options out there too, from working from home to going back to school and finding a new career.
Budgets are a must
Having a budget is a must. That way you and your spouse can get on the same page. You can see what is coming in and what is going out. Although one of you will probably be the one in charge of the bills and getting paid, both of you should be in on the budget to see what your goals are and how close you are to achieving them. Having a budget tells you what you can spend each month. On your bills, on food, and on fun. Budgets allow you to save and pay things on time.
Sometimes they won’t have access
For us, having my husband in charge of the bills while he was deployed wouldn’t work as well. As the military spouse back at home, I could always call a bank or a credit card company. He hasn’t always been in a place where he had access. This is an important part of getting used to military spouse life. Ask yourself what would work best. Maybe for some, having the service member in this role makes sense, but for most of us, doing so can cause more frustrations.
Resources about money and military
Here are some fantastic websites to check out about money and the military:
At the end of the day, you have to do what is best for you and your service member. That might look different than what other people are doing and that is okay. Just make sure that you are working towards the life that you want and not stuck in a place where you are being left behind.