Five Fun Runs That Donate to Our Military 

A great way to stay fit and involved is to find some road races/5k’s that donate to your favorite cause. So many people are intimidated by the term “race”, but I’ve done a couple of these and trust me, you don’t notice that part of it. The only thing you’ll be paying attention to for the first 10 minutes is the humbling sound of thousands of sneakers hitting the ground around you. Atleast, that’s what I was doing. Continue reading

How To Make The Most Out Of Those Pre-Deployment Days

Separation in the military happens more often than we’d like, and is not always due to deployment. Whether your loved one is leaving for BMT, MOS School, deployment, or training, one thing that helps you keep your mind off of it is planning some fun activities. Continue reading

Five Great Benefits for Military Couples

Military life is.. complicated. And navigating the various benefits that you and your spouse qualify for can be much the same. I’ve rounded up the key benefits, from discounts to services, that help us make the most of it.

VA

If you’re looking to buy a home, explore the options of a VA loan versus a regular home owner’s loan. VA loans often save you money in the long run, and help you to avoid the large down payment that’s usually required. If you’re a home buyer, they also ensure that any home you choose meets their qualifications and standards prior to the final sale. This helps to protect buyers from ending up in a home that may need costly repairs shortly after move in. See if you qualify for a VA loan, and learn more about the benefits here!

VACATIONS

If you’re a military family, you know how small the window of opportunity is for a vacation. You have to run around and get everything scheduled, and worry that plans could change at the last minute. And on top of that: it’s expensive.

Luckily, there are multiple airlines, hotels, and vacation attractions that offer major discounts to service members through online and over-the-phone booking! USAA offers travel discounts if you’re a member, along with Amtrak, TripAdvisor, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, and Southwest Airlines (over the phone only). These discounts can be incredibly helpful whether it’s just the two of you, or the whole family.

Major airlines will also offer free checked baggage for active duty personnel and their spouses. We utilized this on our last vacation and were able to check 4 bags completely free, saving us over $120!

COUNSELING SERVICES

Any active duty service member can receive counseling through their military branch, whether it’s assistance with their education, finances, or mental health. There are a variety of free services and organizations that have been constructed with the primary goal to better the lives of the military community.

Many spouses and dependents don’t realize that these services are also obtainable for them. Counseling of any kind is offered in both individual and group based settings, allowing members to develop close ties to those in their situation. For more information on these services, check out Military One Source.

EDUCATION

This has been a tricky subject when it comes to military personnel’s benefits, especially when it seems to be changing every few years. This article by AmeriForce strives to help us all understand the GI Bill post 9/11, and the ways it can assist in providing an education for service members and their dependents.

There are also multiple scholarships that are completely separate from the GI Bill that can assist in paying for an education. These scholarships can be specific to military spouses and children that are within the requirements. They even have certain scholarships for specific degrees and licensing schools. You can find more info about the MYCAA Scholarship for military spouses here. For info about transferring these benefits, go to your installation’s Education Office and the office of Veteran’s Affairs.

RETAIL

Although the military provides a lot of the clothing and equipment that your service member needs, they can’t provide all of it. I can’t even imagine how many tan tee shirts, running shoes, and combat boots that we have purchased. And those things add up over time, making it difficult for many families to provide the items that are needed. It would be different if these were just things that they wanted. These are things that can make a very difficult job just a little bit easier.

Luckily, there are many retail stores that help ease that burden by providing discounts for service members. Stores such as Under Armor, Oakley, and Cabela’s often have the clothing and shoes that are necessary in order for them to do their job, and the discounts help significantly with the more expensive items. You can find a list of discounts here.

What are some benefits that have greatly helped your family?

Lessons I’ve Learned Being In a Military Relationship 

Being in a military relationship is unlike any other, and it’s often not what people imagine it to be. When Kyle joined the Army, many of my friends thought, “Okay, no big deal.” But I knew it was a big deal. How could it not be? People assume that it’s romantic and glorious, and it is all of those things. Sometimes. Continue reading

30 Items To Include In Your Next Care Package

Being separated is just one of the many difficult obstacles in a military relationship. But a great way to stay connected with your soldier during training and deployments is through care packages. Sometimes they’re so busy that they can’t find the time to get necessary items, making it extra thoughtful for you to send them right over! Many military families have Christmas through care packages, making them a huge part of the holidays. These care packages can be for more than just the soldiers. It’s also a great way for you to feel like they’re still counting on you, even from far away. Continue reading

Staying Connected While Miles Apart

More often than we would like, part of being in a military relationship involves being separated for some period of time. This makes communication a challenge, especially when you’re dealing with time differences. But there are many ways you can remain connected, even when you’re miles apart. Continue reading

My Military Relationship

This picture seems like it was a lifetime ago compared to how far we have come since then. For those of you who are in a military relationship, you have experienced a type of struggle and hardship that few will ever understand. Maybe you’re a blogger, like myself, and are searching for a community. Maybe you’re a military girlfriend or wife searching for answers. I hope I can be that resource for you, as so many have been for me. Continue reading