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Old 02-11-2014, 12:46 PM
 
29 posts, read 86,187 times
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Okay, not really rich, but I've been thinking about something.

How easy is it to save money in the military? I've been thinking of joining and spending a few years in it. Maybe whatever the minimum is, 3 years? More if I like it. Anywho, if I make 1,400-1,500 per month (that's about what new soldiers made in 2013 according to pay charts I've seen), that would add up to something around $15,000 for a year. After two years that's about $30,000. With a 3rd year, that's be about $45,000, maybe more if you take into account the pay raises that happen after 2 years.

How much of that money can I reasonably expect to save if I live frugally while enlisted and don't waste much of it? I'm really not a big spender and I have no kids or other crap to deal with so I can afford to save a lot of money, which is what I'm trying to do now by selling on Ebay. Problem is, I'm not making much money off ebay and the side gig I've got only nets me about $400 per month, not including ebay. I pay car insurance which eats about 100 a month (a family member gave me her car, in case you're wondering) + my phone & dialup internet connection which together is another 60 bucks. My prepaid phone is about $10 per month + misc expenses like going to movies etc. I make a lot of what I spend back through ebay. I still live with my grandparents, I have no college education and I can just imagine the stress of juggling a job with school and not having much money.

I really don't see much of a better gig where I make that much money and not have the majority of it go to rent/bills etc I can just do whatever the military asks of me which I'm not assuming will be easy, but I can do that and just watch the money pile up over the years. Once I get out, I can sit on what I saved up in the military and find a job and try my best not to cut into my military savings.
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Old 02-11-2014, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Consciousness
661 posts, read 783,836 times
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Go Navy... Stationed on a ship and out to sea often will keep you from spending and you can bank your whole check. Plenty of food on the ship, clothing provided and you can swap boot shines for emails. Email friends and family and skip the need for a cell. PLUS SEE THE WORLD!
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Old 02-11-2014, 01:33 PM
 
Location: New Mexico U.S.A.
22,311 posts, read 33,180,918 times
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Military Bonuses: Learn About Army Bonuses | goarmy.com

Quote:
ACTIVE DUTY ENLISTMENT BONUS

Qualified active duty recruits may be eligible for a combination of bonuses up to $40,000.
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Old 02-11-2014, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Fort Gordon, GA
498 posts, read 637,289 times
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How much you can save is up to you. As an unmarried junior enlisted you'll almost certainly live in barracks and will be able to eat in a military dining facility (this is assuming you don't get an assignment that puts you on the economy like in a downtown city or something, which is unlikely but possible).

While in the barracks, you'll have most of your bills covered. The only monthly bills you'll pay out of pocket are your phone and your internet, and if you have a car your insurance. What you will have to pay is for all the little things like home cleaning supplies, bedsheets, deodorant, shaving cream, clothing, and so forth. Besides that, you'll get sick of eating in the difac all the time and will probably want to start buying your own food.

Realistically as a new soldier you could easily save half your paycheck, and even more if you skimp on things like entertainment. But a common thing with new enlistees is that many of them (coming into the military shortly after high school) are suddenly making more money than they've ever made on their own before, and start spending all their money on toys - big TVs, new computers, and all that. For this reason a lot of new soldiers spend their first year broke before they stop letting it go to their head.

So yeah, it can be done if you're smart about it. Very few people are though.
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Old 02-11-2014, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Middle America
32,056 posts, read 32,339,577 times
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If you live frugally and are just supporting yourself, you can do quite well.

This, though? So true...

Quote:
But a common thing with new enlistees is that many of them (coming into the military shortly after high school) are suddenly making more money than they've ever made on their own before, and start spending all their money on toys - big TVs, new computers, and all that. For this reason a lot of new soldiers spend their first year broke before they stop letting it go to their head.
My husband is an NMTI, instructing sailors just out of boot camp. I have been present when new drops straight from boot camp arrive, with their first real money in their pocket. I have listened to the briefing they get before they go out that first weekend, warning them NOT to go running out and buying cars and huge electronics and more of that kind of stuff that a. they have no room or need for in a barracks or in the fleet and b. aren't allowed to have on base at our particular base, anyway. The reason those warnings even have to be verbalized is because so many just go and do it anyway.

But, yes. If you are not an idiot and are just taking care of yourself and do so frugally, you can save quite a bit.
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Old 02-11-2014, 01:59 PM
 
Location: New Mexico U.S.A.
22,311 posts, read 33,180,918 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squirrels View Post
How much you can save is up to you. As an unmarried junior enlisted you'll almost certainly live in barracks and will be able to eat in a military dining facility (this is assuming you don't get an assignment that puts you on the economy like in a downtown city or something, which is unlikely but possible).
If that were the case you would be paid $323.87/month, the rate for enlisted Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) to compensate for your meals...

You would also get a housing allowance based on your rank and duty assignment. As a single E-1 your Basic Allowance for Housing would be $ 846.00 for your zip code...
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:02 PM
 
29 posts, read 86,187 times
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Quote:
Realistically as a new soldier you could easily save half your paycheck, and even more if you skimp on things like entertainment. But a common thing with new enlistees is that many of them (coming into the military shortly after high school) are suddenly making more money than they've ever made on their own before, and start spending all their money on toys - big TVs, new computers, and all that. For this reason a lot of new soldiers spend their first year broke before they stop letting it go to their head.
fortunately, or unfortunately, this already happened with me. As soon as I got the job I have now and finally started getting some money coming in, I spent it on crap and ended up with almost nothing again. I don't ever want to be in that position again, being on ice until the next bank deposit. I re-sold most of what I bought and got a good chunk of my money back, but now its like I can't enjoy anything because I'm always keeping myself on thin ice, always cautious, trying to save money all the time. Oh well, I prefer that over having nothing.

thanks for the responses.
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Idaho
836 posts, read 1,123,923 times
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Saving is cool so long as you don't then keep borrowing from others.

I had a roomie who was buying land in Alabama ans kept hitting me up for money to make it to his next check.

I told him, "I'm not gonna be living with you on that land in Alabama, Barnesy."
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Old 02-12-2014, 03:31 AM
 
Location: Florida
2,892 posts, read 3,322,969 times
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You can definitely save a lot. Plus when you join USAA, you can get pretty cheap car insurance rates as well as free banking and great banking services. When you do have to buy things, a lot of places offer a military discount just for being in the military.

One thing that a lot of guys do is make friends. You'll end up in a new place not knowing anyone but the guys in your unit. You're a bunch of bored guys so you end up going out to the bar, club, etc. and spending money. It happens and there's nothing wrong with it as long as you're not being stupid with it like driving after drinking, getting into fights, etc...

As an Officer, I eat the the DFAC as well but I pay out of pocket. The DFAC isn't a bad place to eat, IMO. The meals are definitely more diverse than what I'd cook at home.

It's also money you don't have to spend that will save you. Why use your GI Bill when you can use Tuition Assistance? Those small things add up big over time as you not only not use your GI Bill while using TA to pay for college but your earning potential increases with more education in the sense of promotion while in the service and after the service.

It's a big cumulative effect going on.
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Old 02-12-2014, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
27,133 posts, read 42,230,280 times
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There are communities within the US military where you can earn a lot of tax-free cash.

There are jobs that pay fairly high Re-Enlistment Bonuses in the US military [$90k every 4 years, last time I checked]

There are some circumstances where it is nearly impossible to spend any of your cash most of the year. So saving / investing becomes easy.

I guess, I hit a sweet spot of these variables during most of my Active Duty career.

I earned $60k to $75k / year during the later 2/3s of my Active Duty career. I retired as an E6.

I did not have any income tax obligation from my third year, until I retired at 20 years. No income taxes came out from my pay, and no income taxes were due to be paid afterward.

I bought one Multi-Family-Residence [tri-plexes and 5-plexes] as home for my family, at each duty station. By the time that I reached 20-years and was forced to retire, we had collected four MFR properties. Each of those properties was filled with tenants, rent receipts exceeded expenses, and the extra monies were spent on buying down their mortgages. Which was my primary investment portfolio.

I liquidated all of it when I retired, and I used that equity to buy my farm with cash [mortgage-free].

Today I have no debts, I own a farm, and I have my pension.



'Rich' is a relative term.

Upper Class begins at around $200k/year, I never came close to that mark.

I do not think that I was ever 'rich'. Heck, I never made it past E6.

But I controlled my expenses, I invested, and I think it turned out okay.
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