Best Ways To Use Your Military Raise
For 2019, service members will be seeing an increase of 2.6%, up from 2.4% last year the highest military raise since 2010. Over the last ten years, the lowest raise was in 2014 and 2015 at 1% with the highest in 2009, with 3.9%.
Military raises don’t ever seem to be enough, but that doesn’t mean you should just ignore them or not have a plan for that extra money.
For an E-2 with over three years, the raise will be about $48 a month, an E-5 with over eight years would receive an additional $81 a month and an O-5 with over 10 years would receive $193 more a month.
How to Best Use Your Military Raise
There is so much can you do with this extra cash, here are some ideas:
Set Up An Automatic Transfer to Savings
Most banks, USAA included, have a way to set up an automatic transfer to savings. What you can do is take the exact amount of the raise, and set up an automatic transfer for that amount per month. You could have the money go into your current savings account, or start a new one just for this purpose. Because the transfer is automatic, you don’t have to set it up every month, the money will transfer automatically as long as you want the transfer to run.
Pay Off Debt
If you have debt you want to pay off, add the amount of your raise to the amount you pay each month. Even though the amount might not be that big compared to your debt, every little bit can help. You will be putting the extra towards becoming debt free and that is a good thing.
Redo Budget to Pad Groceries, or Other Categories
If you are feeling like you just don’t have enough in the budget for certain categories, you can take the raise to add to them. Add the extra to your grocery, entertainment, or even clothing sections of your budget to give you a little more to spend each month. Going over your budget every once in a while is a good idea anyways. You want to put every dollar you make to the best use possible.
Add-in a Date Night Once a Month
A fun way to use your raise is to add in a date night once a month. After paying for a babysitter, dinner, and possibly a movie, that adds up. But dating your spouse is a good idea, especially when time can be limited in-between deployments or other military obligations.
Donate to Charity
With the raise, you could pick a charity or two to start donating to. You can take the exact amount, and plan to donate that once a month. A lot of charities allow you to do an automatic payment. Find a charity you have always wanted to support and go from there.
Invest Using a Stock App
These days, there are a few ways to buy and sell stocks without too much trouble. Robinhood is a free app to do just that. Stockpile, and Stash are other options to look into. You can start with only a few dollars and go from there. Investing like this is a good way to make that extra money grow and learn more about the stock market while you do so.
Plan for Your PCS
You could be PCSing sometime in the next year, maybe to a place with higher costs that you are paying now. This extra money will come in handy for when you move. Think ahead at what your expenses might be three or six months down the road and put the raise to good use helping you with these extra expenses that might come up.
When you first see that raise on January 15th, don’t just gloss over the money, make a plan for the raise to help you and your family in the future and to make good choices when it comes to your finances.