A Family's Guide to the Military For Dummies
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You should review your finances any time your family starts on a new career path, and the military is no exception. Know how much money you really need to purchase essentials for your family — food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and insurance. Most of these required expenses are provided by, or supplemented by, the military. The following is a list of the types of expenses incurred by a typical military family.

  • Shelter:

    • Home mortgage or rent

    • Utilities: electric, gas, water, sewer, trash pickup, and basic telephone service

  • Protection: Life, disability, homeowners, renters, health, and auto insurance

  • Healthcare/medical and dental care

  • Prescription drugs

  • Childcare

  • Savings: minimum of 10 percent of gross income

  • Food:

    • Groceries: basic essentials only

  • Clothing and clothing maintenance

  • Basic hygiene:

    • Personal: toothpaste, deodorant, haircuts

    • Household: laundry detergent, toilet paper

  • Transportation:

    • Automobile loan or lease payment

    • Auto maintenance

    • Gasoline

    • Other: tolls, parking, public transportation

  • Legal requirements:

    • Real estate and property taxes

    • Child support

    • Alimony

    • Other debts: school loans, personal loans, credit cards, and so on

You won’t find an expense category for dining-out, entertainment, subscriptions, health club memberships, summer camp, birthdays, charitable contributions, cable television, or mobile phones. These types of expenses, although very common and convenient, are discretionary expenses.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Sheryl Garrett is a financial advisor, author, and speaker. She founded the Garrett Planning Network and is the author of Personal Finance Workbook For Dummies.

Sue Hoppin is the Deputy Director for Spouse Outreach at the Military Officers Association of America. In 2007, Military Spouse magazine placed Sue on their 2007 Who's Who of Military Spouses list.

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