The following is a guest post from Jenna, a freelance writer who most often writes about personal finance, business, and investments. Jenna has been writing online for a few years now and loves to apply her financial knowledge to everyday things like families and small businesses. You can read more personal finance writing by Jenna at paidtwice.com. Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this post.
The average station commitment for a military family is two years. This means that every twenty-four months (sometimes even more frequently than that), the family has to sort through, pack up, move, unpack and replace major possessions. It’s rough on even the toughest people. Here are some tips that will help you and your family get through it:
Minimalism Is the New PackRat
One thing that moving that often teaches you is how to stay detached from your possessions. Why not take that detachment even further and use it as an impetus to not buy things you don’t need in the first place? Living a minimalist lifestyle isn’t as difficult or as constricting as it used to be. Military families might find that, thanks to streaming media and extensive library systems, they do not need nearly as many things as they thought they did.
By only buying the things you truly need to survive, you won’t have to worry about sorting through and having to say goodbye to a bunch of stuff every time you move.
Storage Spaces Can Help Save Marriages and Money
If a military couple learns they are going to be stationed in say, Dallas, they could try a minimalist experiment. Instead of looking for a bigger home they could find some storage in Dallas and live in a much smaller home or apartment. This can help the family save money, have less clutter, and perhaps discover that they can live with less. Plus, everything in storage should be packaged already so the next move will be much easier.
Embrace the Internet
When talking about the constant moving that military families need to do, most articles focus on the mechanics of the moving process. We’re going to shift from that and talk about the emotional aspect of this nomadic lifestyle. Moving to a new place, finding friends, getting attached and then having to move is difficult on even the most stoic of individuals. But, thanks to the Internet, keeping friendships alive in spite of great physical distances is easier than ever.
Make sure kids understand and have access to email and child-friendly social media portals. This way they can stay in touch with long-distance friends quickly and easily. You might also introduce the idea of being “pen pals” via snail mail, which lots of kids still find fun. Create room in your budget for frequent phone calls and maybe even a couple of trips to visit or have old friends come visit in the new space.
Being in the military involves sacrifices. It is a noble lifestyle to opt in to and your country appreciates everything you give up to keep it safe. Still, having some tips (like those listed in this article) to help you with the practicalities of the lifestyle will hopefully make some of the less fun parts of the lifestyle more bearable.