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MilitaryAvenue's Monthly Military Family Newsletter
January 2012





Welcome to a new year, military-families! We have so much ahead of us to look forward to: family time to spend, PCSs to plan, houses to buy, vacations to save for, retirements to plan for, new babies for some and others are sending our babies off to college (Yes, I would fall into that category). 2012 is going to be a great year!


Did you make any New Years Resolutions, or I would rather call Personal Goals? How is that going? My big one this year is to get my home more organized. You can read more about that journey and steps I am taking on our blog 'Our Letters to You', a military family blog: Personal Goals. So far I have stayed on track by taking baby-steps every day. Doing a little bit here and there every day has had a very positive impact on my well-being.


Speaking of keeping Resolutions did you know that Tuesday, January 17th, was 'Ditch the New Year's Resolution Day'? They can be hard to keep, especially if you set the bar high without much planning or vague notions of what you want to achieve. Take a look at what you want to do and see if you can chunk it down into obtainable goals. Sometimes baby-steps are the way to go.


If your goals for the year involved personal-finances then I would encourage you to keep pressing on. Financial Readiness trickles down into every aspect of your life, from your marriage, to your work life, to looking ahead to your future. We hope you can find some help in this month's newsletter to help you keep the pace.



Keep pressing on,


Leanne Kocsis and the MilitaryAvenue Team
Getting your Finances in Order for 2012


This is the time of the year for resolutions and many of us make them (or goals as some suggest is better terminology). Many of those goals include improving our finances. The military community is young and faces numerous financial challenges that civilians do not. For example, our frequent relocations and deployments are unique. Our sometimes confusing income divided between pay and allowances can suddenly change. Housing (BAH), Rations (BAQ), special pays (eg, combat or flight pay), Dislocation Allowance, PCS mileage rates and many others create a confusing picture of the military individual's income. Budgeting a moving target is difficult.


Continue Reading >>






FINRA Investor Education FoundationHas the New Year been a great start or are you looking at the bills from Christmas and the holiday season and shaking your head? Do you have credit card debt that is being carried month to month? Or do you have savings that you would like to invest for college or retirement? In either case, you should read this blog! 


I had the privilege to interview the president of an organization that can help with your financial issues and their services are free! My excitement grew as I realized how many resources there were to help the military community. FINRA - (who said civilians do not have acronyms?) Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has an Investor Education Foundation with a military resource section. Gerri Walsh made time in her busy schedule to talk so I could help point you to their information and resources to make your lives better! End of purpose - not a sale, no agenda except to help you! 


Continue Reading >> 



January Money Tips


This content is provided courtesy of USAA.


See Where You Stand

Start off the year with a financial checkup by taking these initial steps to find out where you are financially.

  • Begin with USAA's free Financial Assessment. It takes only 10 minutes.
  • Calculate your net worth. Add up the value of everything you own, and subtract all your debts.
  • Take a look at what you bring home and what you spend each month by setting up a budget, and find some ways to save.
  • Set goals for the year. To help boost your chances of meeting your financial goals, write them down and make them specific and targeted. For example, rather than having a general goal to reduce your debt, a more specific goal would be to cut outstanding debt by $3,000 before Dec. 1, 2012.

 Continue Reading >>


Be sure to visit our Reading Room throughout the year for the month's Money Tips from USAA.



Shop smart using saver savvy tips

According to the Institute of Consumer Financial Education, nearly 37 cents of every income dollar is spent by American families for groceries and household items; a few years back it was about 30 cents. Food prices have spiked dramatically these past few months for a variety of reasons. There isn't much consumers can do about the rapidly rising costs except to begin shopping smarter for household and grocery items.  


Continue Reading >> Resources: Money & The Military


Looking for some resources related to money-management?  Look no further: 



The Stress of Making a Purchase - Saving money... kind of a sore point for me. I would MUCH RATHER take a shopping spree at Target then save a budgeted amount each month for my retirement ... in like 30 years! Egads... don't the 'financial experts' know that I live in the here-and-now?!  Well not my husband. He is my saver.  ...


The Grocery Bill - The grocery bill: One of the big chunks of our family budget and probably our largest 'discretianary' item in the list of many family expenses. How do you save? I enjoyed this article in the Times, "Millions of coupons: Military shoppers score savings on base". It got me thinking about how we, you and me, can chunk down the amount we each spend on our weekly trips. It isn't always about coupons but they sure can help!  ...


Extending Your Dollars Not as Tough as Once Thought - Trying to squeeze a few more pennies out of those dollars you receive every couple of weeks is a challenge to many. To determine your financial health, you can take this Personal Finances Check-up  that should help you determine your financial risk. Once you learn how you think about money and how you actually spend it, you are on your way to a healthier wallet.  ...

Read these articles and many more >> 



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Army Wife Network Field Problems


Field Problem - Combat Loneliness



How do you combat loneliness?

Stephanie; Fort Hood, TX; dual-military; 2 years



Continue Reading >>

Additional Reading


Talking about Finances on 'Our Letters to You', a military family blog 


Veterans in the News 


Just Wait, military spouse suicide 


Family Matters Blog: Travel Stress-free With Pets 


Talking with Your Kids about Money  


The Military OneSource Free Tax Filing Service Is Here Featuring H&R Block At Home Online 



Visit 'Our Letters to You' a military family blog