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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Banking and our Mobile Life

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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Location: United States

After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Banking and our Mobile Life

After about 10 duty assignments, and countless mistakes and screw-ups, you tend to pull yourself up by your underwear and get cracking on a system that works to keep on top of your finances…no matter where you are! Let’s face it, you will be moving MANY times throughout your spouse’s military career. Before you sign up for what HE signed up for…follow these basic rules below.

Have ONE main bank account.

It is best to have one main bank account where your husband’s paycheck (LES) is deposited (and try not to change that, regardless of where you are). This will also be the account through which you will pay your mortgage/rent, car payments and other major re-occuring drains on your money. Let me recommend that you pick a bank that is familiar with dealing with servicemembers (ie soldiers). The banks most soldiers use include:

Sign up for online bill-paying.

It is a HUGE plus also if they have online bill-paying, and if they offer it free! So even when you are later "on the go" and moving, anywhere you can access a computer, you’ll be able to pay your bills....on time.

Track your bills with the checklist.

Track your bills with the checklist I mentioned in an earlier blog entry.

Set up ONE local bank account to use ATMs and other local services.

We do this and typically set up a savings account locally (like the bank on-post), so that it does earn some kind of interest. We also make sure the bank has online access (so we can transfer funds from our main account to our local account). This will also cut down on ATM fees, because we then use our local account if we need cash. You just have to remember to keep up on the account balance so you don’t get overdrawn. You can also use your local account for notary services (FREE) and other things they would only offer their own customers. Try that with your out-of-state bank. And who wants to change banks and bills and deposits EVERY time you move? I didn’t think so. Read on.

Get overdraft protection on your checking account.

To avoid the risk of getting overdrawn on your main checking account, be sure to sign up for overdraft protection. It doesn’t cost anything to sign up for it. This will protect you in case you get overdrawn on your account (for example, if you write a check and you don’t have the funds in your account because a deposit was late). Even silly me got overdrawn once a few years ago when a deposit came later rather than earlier. Instead of getting charged with a bounced check fee, I only had to pay $2 worth of interest on the money I automatically “borrowed” from the overdraft protection.

That about sums it up. If you have any other recommendations on banks that you think are military friendly, or want to share your experience, please let us know below!

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