Military Saves Week: Day 1, Save With a Plan!

by johnnyc2id on Feb 25, 2019

military finance, Thrift Savings Plan, Military Saves Week, budgeting

February 25 to March 2nd is Military Saves Week, designed to help promote personal saving and reducing debt.  Each day of the week will have a special focus and today’s focus is Saving With a Plan!

Like every good service member, you know the foundation of a successful operation is a well-designed plan.  A good plan tells you what the mission is, what the commander’s intent is, how the commander expects the operation to be conducted, and who is responsible for what.

Your finances are no different, without a plan, you may succeed, but you will undoubtedly be making it harder on your self and your family.  So, lets discuss how to create a good savings plan.

  • Write down clear, well-defined financial goals.  If you don’t know why you are saving, you will be less likely to save.
  • Track your expenses.  You may think you have a good handle on where your money is going; and when it comes to the big items, you are probably correct.  It’s the little, day to day expenses like Dunkin Donuts and lunch that often sneak up on us.  Technology here can be your friend, most banks now will give you an option to categorize your expenses online.  Try tracking your expenses for a couple months and start to notice if there are any expenses you didn’t expect.
  • Make a budget.  Now that you have a good idea where you want your money to go (your goals) and where it is going (your expenses) you can start aligning your spending with your values.
  • Evaluate how you are doing.  Like any good military plan, your financial plan will not be a static document, instead it serves as a beginning point, and needs to be constantly evaluated and refined.  Check your expenses against your budget each month, where are you spending too much?  Are you paying yourself (i.e. funding your goals) first?

Saving can be hard, try to think of it as less than a sacrifice and more as an investment into your future, more financially-secure self.  You can make it easier on yourself by defining why you want to save, track what you are spending, making a budget, and continuing to re-evaluate your budget as you go forward.

Tomorrow’s focus for Military Save Week…Save Automatically!

Check out these resources for additional savings tips:

Take the Military Savers Pledge!

Finding Money to Save

Saving Tips

Thrift Savings Plan