Everyone says the same thing: save more. Financial advisors expect you to save 10% – 15% of your income, and oftentimes, this figure doesn’t include putting money away for retirement. When you’re a service member, finances can be even tighter.
Making matters worse, 34% of Americans have $0 in savings.
If you’re a service member that falls into this category, there is hope for you. There are ways that you can leverage your time in the service (or your spouse’s time) to start saving money today.
1. Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
If you’re not familiar with it already, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is available to all service members. This is an especially important piece of legislation for new service members. What this act does is allow you to:
- Terminate your auto lease if you have a 180-day order
- Terminate a residential lease if you have a 90-day order
- Reduce interest rates for debt incurred during service, including: mortgages, auto loans and credit cards
- Request protection from legal proceedings, evictions and foreclosures
You won’t have to pay money for breaking your lease, and a reduction in interest rates will also save you a lot of money.
2. Ask for Discounts
A lot of stores and service providers respect military members. You can get discounts at a lot of big-name retailers, such as Lowes or Wal-Mart, but this isn’t enough. I recommend calling your service providers and asking for some sort of discount.
This can work with everything, including:
- Mobile companies
- Cable companies
- Electric companies
Oftentimes, you’ll be offered the “intro price” – the low price a person receives when signing up for a service initially.
You can also hunt down retailers that offer discounts for veterans.
A lot of companies offer Veterans Initatives, which offer ways to save money on products. A lot of times, all you need is a military ID to receive a discount. Also, take advantage of Veterans Day programs and savings.
You can save a lot of money by shopping on Veterans Day.
3. USAA is Your Friend
The USAA offers some of the best programs for military members and their families. USAA offers different products for:
- Auto insurance
- Home owner’s insurance
- Credit cards
- Renters insurance
Auto insurance is said to be superior compared to other insurers, and members save, on average, $330 per year. There are free checking options as well as personalized insurance options for homeowners and renters.
4. Choose the Right Legal Residence
Did you know that you can choose your legal residence? For example, if you live in Texas but are now at a base in New Jersey, you can choose Texas as your place of residence. Why does this help?
Texas doesn’t have income taxes, so it’s a great choice to pick over a state with high taxes, such as New Jersey. Of course, you can only pick your origin state or your destination state when choosing your legal residence. I recommend searching for income tax rates and choosing the state with the lower tax rate.