How to Pay your Bills during Deployment

You have been called up to deploy and you have a list of things to do.  Start by calling all utility companies you may have contracts on including cellphones, DirecTV, etc. and get a suspension on your accounts.  A suspension is use for things you have a contract for, but don’t want to be charge an early termination for.  Many deployments will not allow you to take cell phones and it freezes your account status until you return.  It is wise if you have not done so already to sign up for Web pay through your bank, this means you will automatically have your bills debited from your account. 

Many credit card companies will offer a reduced interest rate during deployment periods.  You will need to call each individual company and request the interest rate reduction using the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act. Getting your financial and legal affairs in line can often be the most time consuming, but to your best advantage to take care of.  Do not procrastinate this before you leave as it will not be as easy for whomever holds Power of Attorney to do for you.  Being prepared now before you are called to deploy is the best strategy as you often are not given much warning as to when you will leave. 

You can not assume that you will have Internet or cellphone connections when you need to pay your bills.  Nor should you rely on the fact that a buddy said he’d take care of it and will actually do it for you.  There are many benefits for service members, but you have to ask.  It is best to communicate that you are leaving with all companies, whether creditors or utilities or rentals.  Also, inform your Power of Attorney to keep tabs on everything.  The last thing you need to stress about are your finances while you are deployed.  By setting up your bank account to automatically pay your bills, you will also make sure that you do not have any chance of missing payments or being sent to collection.

If you are single, plan on saving the extra pay and allocate that into a savings plan prior to you leaving so you can accumulate interest.  If you are married and have always done the finances, now is the time to teach your wife how to manage finances or allocate her “budget” to be in a separate account just for her incidentals, etc.  You do not want to forget to discuss your finances prior to your departure.  It is easiest to have everything done online so that you can check in if given the opportunity.  Remember to budget in for postage, packages and your own travel expenses that may not be covered.  Most bases offer a class called, Finance Matters, which can be beneficial to anyone.  Manage your bills now and it will be a lot easier if you are required to leave quickly, your bills are the last things you need to worry about.