The topic of military spouses and money can get pretty heated
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 things out of proportion.
The truth is, as military spouses 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.
Military spouses 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.
Military spouses should be allowed to work
Jobs for military spouses aren’t always easy to find. There can be a lot of barriers in our way, from where we live to what type of job we are looking for. However, 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, that should be a joint decision. 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.
This can be for all sorts of reasons, but it is something a couple needs to work out. There could be a valid reason not to work for a period of time, but both spouses need to be on board. Yes, the military does come first, but that doesn’t mean a military spouse has to give up on their own dreams. There is so much we milspouses can do, even during military life.
Military couples will go through different seasons
When we got married, we both worked full-time. Over the last 19 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, oftentimes impossible, especially when you add multiple kids to your family. There will be food and diapers, then sports and braces and the expenses never truly end.
Life with kids costs money, and having a stay-at-home part isn’t always going to work. In fact, many stay-at-home parents end up making extra money from home or even have a nighttime part-time job.
Over the course of your marriage, who makes more money 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.
Military families need budgets too
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 will keep your money in line, and allow you to work towards your financial goals.
Sometimes the service member won’t have access
As a military wife, having my husband in charge of the bills while he was deployed wouldn’t have worked. 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 frustration.
Again, this is something you as a couple need to work out. Like anything financial, find what works best for you and your spouse. Figure out any hiccups you might have when they are away, and work them out before they leave. Financial deployment readiness is important too.
Resources about money and military
Here are some fantastic websites to check out about money and the military:
Military spouses and money can be a tricky topic. There are a lot of different opinions about what you should do and what you shouldn’t do. However, 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.