1: Find toy treasures at the Thrift Store or Airmen’s Attic.
Air Force spouse Erin explains, “Normalize gifts & clothes from thrift stores and such for your kid.” They are excited about a new toy to bring home, and you are eager not to spend $50 on it. With how fast kids go through clothes, those $10-if-it-all-fits-into-a-bag deal days can save you a lot of cash.
2: Learn to cut your spouse’s hair.
Make sure not to shave straight up the back of the head with no guard as one spouse did, but for others who can learn the trade, it can be an easy way to save. Remember, avant-garde art is for the walls, not your servicemember’s head.
3: Sew on their rank.
Our spouses may put on rank, but we can sew on the rank. Just don’t wait until 1 am when you remember this needs to be done by morning and in the dark, use the green sparkle thread from your daughter’s dance costume instead of the spice brown thread. Flair is encouraged for party shirts under mess dress, but sparkles are not currently allowed on the uniform.
4: Utilize the on-base auto shop.
For a low rental fee, you can use a garage space in the shop to do tune-ups, whether an oil change, tire change, or replacing spark plugs. The general environment is helpful if you need to ask for a tip, and the savings increase over time.
5: Join the buy-sell pages near your base.
PCS season means everyone is purging their homes; keep an eye out for items you need, whether cleaning supplies, spices, or TVs! You’ll find great deals, and you can sell your items quickly when you need to make a few dollars.
6: Mind your manners, and mend your things.
Being able to mend pants, sew on buttons, unclog pipes, and perform general house repairs can be easier than you may think at first glance. This Dad, How Do I? Youtube channel covers almost every task in an easy-to-follow format. Helpful when Murphy’s law goes into effect during deployments.
7: Borrow and swap clothes.
If you have friends in similar sizes, host a closet swap for old shoes, clothes, and jewelry you don’t want anymore. That rainbow costume piece you wore once may become someone’s favorite jacket. Borrow instead of buying a dress for the ball, and pass on baby clothes to a new mom who didn’t realize how quickly babies grow out of clothes.
8: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
The first few months on any new station can be uncomfortable with air mattresses, camping chairs, and microwave meals. Make a post on the spouses’ pages for sheets, chairs, and silverware you can borrow in the meantime before your Household Goods arrive, instead of buying new ones right away. Many spouses are ready and willing to help. We’re a community for a reason, and part of that is helping one another when we can.
9: Know your base resources.
Whether classes or financial planning help, there are many resources on base to help you discover what being financially savvy looks like for your family. Ask your Family Readiness Center or Key Spouse for more information.
10: Eat club sandwiches at the Club.
Does your Enlisted Club offer free Taco Tuesdays for members? Often the Club’s members get deals and discounts throughout the base; although it’s a monthly cost, the savings can add up. Whether after-school programs, fitness centers, scholarships, or free activities for families, you can find many low-cost or free activities on base that would be significantly more expensive off base.
Written By: AJ Smit @ www.militaryspouse.com