By Jade Stone
Deployments can wreak havoc on a National Guard family’s finances if they aren’t prepared for the drastic pay change or the lag between the end of the civilian paycheck and the beginning of the military pay check. Sadly, this can put a family in financial hardship all too quickly. We learned the hard way the first time.
When Jay left 6 month old Jess and I in March of 2006, I was just finishing up my master’s, and working as the assistant athletic trainer and Spanish teacher for a school near the Tulsa school district in Ok. I was barely getting by, working 9-11 hours a day, going to school and trying desperately to handle my new role as a mom. When the school year finally ended in May, I had just graduated with my master’s and was officially exhausted.
To add to the physical stress, for some reason it never really occurred to us that Jay would actually make less than he was already making when he deployed. That combined with the unexpected lag in paychecks and the rising cost of raising a baby was just enough to set a young family back a couple of paces.
Lucky for us I had a friend that lived in the Northwest Arkansas area who happened to know about an opening for a teacher at a local high school! Luckier yet, the teacher salaries in NWA were several thousand dollars more than what I was making in South Tulsa! This was what I called “Divine Intervention”!
Now, if you’ve been following along you have already realized that I was about to make 2 major life changes in one ginormous leap of faith, all while my husband was bravely fighting a war in a foreign country. Don’t worry I really did consult him first. And even as hard as things were, everything with this move not only made sense but fell into place. I got the job the first week of July, a week later I went to Northwest Arkansas with a list of 10 homes Jay and I had compiled together online (thank heavens for technology).
The very last house I looked at was “the one” and it happened to be one that jay picked himself via the internet! I moved us the last week of July and began work the first week of August! Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it! It was quite a whirlwind, but it was the whirlwind that changed our lives in a way we never thought possible.
Little did we know the twister just landed us in Mayberry! Remember, we did just come from Tulsa! At any rate, my new job saved us in a major way. We knew that when he came back, he would have to find a job himself and that proved to be far more difficult than we had hoped but we made it.
This time will be different, right? I mean, we are not moving. We love it here far too much to go anywhere. I love my job, as does he, so there’s no way that will change. And yet, as the days quickly slip by before Jay has to leave again for pre-deployment training, we’ve begun to really pare down our expenses.
Now that Jess is 5, it seems it costs more today to keep our family running than it did 5 years ago. Our income decreased considerably when he left last time so we have been trying to find ways to cut back, save, and maybe even earn a little extra from time to time. We have always done everything together so it was important that if we picked something up on the side, it needed to be something we could work on together before he left and when he returned.
After much deliberation, we found it. In October, Jess and I found something that we could both do on our own time that would be helpful in making a few extra bucks each month, just enough to bridge the gap. We had finally found a company that had the same beliefs and values that we did and operated off of the concept of generosity — giving to others above one’s self.
We researched the company and found out that it has actually been incredibly successful in the last 6 years and is also very popular among other military families who needed a supplemental income. Its flexibility is hard to beat for military families who have to be flexible in both their time and there location. This moves with them!
While many women have used it as a way to make money and continue to stay at home with their families, others have had their own career as well as worked with it. It is very people oriented and is based on building relationships on kindness, generosity, and loyalty.
Some of the most successful people in the company have got to be some of the kindest most generous people I’ve ever met. In the few months that we have been working together with this company, it has shown incredible potential for us and we are so happy to have some peace of mind.
I know Jay’s deployment is weighing heavily on his mind right now and the last thing I want him to worry about is whether or not the bills are being paid at home. What company is it, you ask? Well, many of you may have heard of it? We joined the Scentsy Family. This company offers wickless candles and warmers that use low watt light bulbs to melt the scent bars.
Smell has always been a huge part of my life in terms of memories and experiences so this was right up our alley! I was a hard core candle burner before I found Scentsy and I must say there’s nothing quite like it. Truly, you have to experience it to really get it. Now, we will have a little peace for this deployment, knowing we have something solid to fall back on that we know is successful. It just made “scents”! 🙂 If you’d like more information, I would be more than happy to share the experience with you!! Have a wonderful week!
Jade welcomes your comments here as well as any suggestions you may have for her future posts. You may also e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read previous Military Mama posts, CLICK HERE.