I consider myself a saver.
As a matter of fact, during my husband’s first deployment I saved enough money to buy him his dream car (more about that later!). But, even savers can agree, sometimes it’s important to spend… and deployment is one of those times.
Of course, every financial situation is different- but there are a number of GREAT ways that you should really consider wasting your money while your spouse is deployed- or looking for free alternatives. I may not do all of these things for every deployment, but I’m always considering how to make strategic financial decisions that will help my family stay happy, healthy and productive!
Here are four things that I LOVE to “WASTE” my hard-earned dollars on during deployment.
You. Are. Doing. Everything.
Let that sink in for a minute. There used to be two people making this place run, and now there’s you… with the same number of rooms to keep tidy, the same number of cars to keep running, and the same number of kids (or dogs, or plants) to keep alive. And- honestly- probably with a few extras (who knew the lawn needed to be mowed every week!?)
So, how do you fit 27 hours of tasks into a 24 hour day? There are two options here:
1) Do it all and sacrifice the moments you need to care for yourself and crush some goals
2) Outsource something
I’m a big believer that TIME costs more that MONEY- so I’m always weighing the cost of doing a task by myself or investing that time in work, my family or latest project. Some of your weekly tasks are just worth paying someone to help with… and for me it’s the grocery shopping.
For the most part, I will not shop for groceries during deployment. Instead, I order my groceries through a service (my FAVORITE is INSTACART) and pay just a few extra dollars to have my grocery shopping done for me. I save myself an hour at the store- and in that time I’ve been able to accomplish three other things that NEEDED to happen… all while maintaining my sanity and altogether avoiding the cookie aisle!
It was about four months into my husband’s first deployment that I realized I hadn’t touched another human being in…. well, four months.
Particularly if you (like me) are not a hugger and/or don’t have kiddos- a lack of physical contact can be a major issue during deployment- and you may find yourself going months without any physical touch. When my spouse is home I don’t even consider this. We cuddle before bed, hold hands at church, and even high-five after sex (just kidding…). But, when he’s gone, the lack of physical contact with people can have some pretty serious effects...
Physical touch is proven to improve our immune systems, decrease symptoms of depression, and even improve our levels of generosity! If your spouse is your primary source for physical touch, Massage Therapy – even irregularly- is worth “wasting” your money on.
I struggled with the idea spending money on massage therapy during deployments because it seems so luxurious. As a girl who grew up in a family that WORKED for a living (as my parents would remind me) regular massage therapy sounded self-indulgent and frivolous.
Then I thought about tiny-humans... would I be comfortable if a tiny-human went 9 months with no physical contact? No. Because it’s unhealthy. The same is true for this grown-up human. So, either find a close friend who is happy to cuddle with you while you watch Greys Anatomy (looking at you Emily!) or invest in a massage…. or both!
This one is a no brainer, but it needs to be said. Communication can feel like your lifeline during deployment- and if your spouse is blessed to have access to a cell phone, you’d better believe that you’ll fall madly in love with that little mobile device (Ok… I know, we’re all pretty much in love with our phones already. Stay tuned for a post about my cell-phone-fast later this year!)
This is a great example of “money savers” that really DO end up costing us later. Here’s why:
It doesn’t matter how little data I have left on my phone- if my husband sends me a request on Words with Friends during deployment I am 100% going to play. It might be a $30 round of WWF, but there is absolutely no way I’ll be able to talk myself out of responding when he reaches out to me.
So, I plan in advance, budget the extra dollars, and enjoy facebook chatting or skype calling with my person from WHEREVER I am.
One "Extracurricular" Activity
We had a rule in my house growing up- each of us always needed to have at least one “extracurricular” activity. It was one way that my Mom committed to helping us make friends, make memories and try new things.
While I don’t always have time for this during my “regular” life, I am 100% committed to this rule when I’m on the home-side of a deployment. Whether you’re a SAHM or a workaholic, it’s easy for the days to run together, especially when there isn’t another person to connect with at home each evening. So, while I wouldn’t typically purchase an unlimited hot-yoga pass, or invest in a weekly pottery meet-up, I do during deployments.
Choose one new and exciting activity, and let yourself splurge on it. When you “waste” your money on new activities you’re giving yourself access to some really critical things besides just your new hobby. You’ll get access to critically important social interaction, and help your brain focus on something other than loneliness, while getting excited about something other than homecoming.
We want to know how YOU "WASTE" YOUR MONEY during deployments! Comment and share to let us know about your best investments for deployment season!
For a great monthly care package that will keep you focused on new, exciting challenges every month check out Brave Crate!