Think Before You Spend: 3 Questions on Post-Deployment Purchases

Think Before You Spend: 3 Questions on Post-Deployment Purchases
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(This article originally appeared in the February 2022 issue of Military Officer, a magazine available to all MOAA Premium and Life members. Learn more about the magazine here; learn more about joining MOAA here.)


A military deployment brings many challenges — and some opportunities. Plus, extra allowances and tax-free pay mean servicemembers sometimes come home from a deployment with a chunk of cash. And after months of hard work and hardship, it can be fun to splurge on something special.


But to avoid making a financial mistake, consider these three questions before buying:


1. Is this something you would save for without a deployment? The best purchases are things that you would be willing to scrimp and save to buy even without a deployment. You’ll just get them a little faster with that deployment cash.


2. How will this purchase fit in your life in two, five, seven years? Purchases that don’t provide long-term value can be the most disruptive to your financial plan. How long will you love those premium-brand tennis shoes? Or will you even wear them?


[RELATED: More Financial Guidance From MOAA]


3. What are the ongoing costs of ownership? For example, an upscale sports car or a large truck will cost more to insure, more to maintain, and, sometimes, more to register. Will your monthly budget support these continuing expenses?


Spending some of that deployment money on a treat is a great idea, but think in moderation. Maybe buy a new Honda instead of a new Hummer, or a night in Las Vegas instead of a long weekend. Either way, enjoy the benefit of your hard work and sacrifice.


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About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell

Horrell is a personal financial educator and military spouse. Get more finance tips at