In no particular order, here’s a common topic military couples may fight about.

For enlisted and junior officers, money can be an issue. Or should I say, “lack of money” can be an issue. 1) Let’s face it, it’s not like the service member is getting overtime for the work you put in. Not to mention working nights, weekends, and holidays with no bump in pay. 2) if you get placed in a duty station that is in a high cost of living, money can be even tighter. This hurts if you move from a low cost of living area to a high cost of living area. For example, San Diego, Hawaii, D.C., all have ridiculous costs of living, your money does not go far in these places so you might have to sacrifice space or amenities or commute in order to live comfortably. 3) On the reverse side of that, if you move to a low cost of living area that is perhaps very rural, meaning they have no jobs available for the spouse, money can get tight that way.
Another issue? From time to time, the military offers incentives and bonus pay (family separation pay during deployment, for example or tax-free pay in a foreign area). Some family members may feel like the best use of the money is to be extravagant with it.

To help resolve:

  • Use all of the military resources available to you. Some people might be amazed with all of the options the military offers to help military families budget and be smart with their money. Contact ACS/MWR (Army), Fleet and Family Services (Navy), MCCS (Marine Corps) and whatever the AIr Force equivalent is (Sorry, Air Force, I’m not familiar with too many Air Force families).
  • Budget and stick to it. Now is not the time to be private about expenses. My suggestion is to have some sort of cloud based spreadsheet (for example a google sheet) that you can both access at any time. Designate one person to manage it but BOTH OF YOU have to enforce it. Set aside one day of the month to go through any overages. You and your spouse need to be completely transparent about money to help stop you guys from fighting over it.
  • Have at least one shared account. Even if you have separate banking accounts, I’m a firm believer in having at least one share account so you guys can contribute to it for expenses or savings. To save even more money, Have a USAA checking account that has

  • Take a team strategy. Figure out what expense are important to you both. Me and my husband had debts but quickly overcame them through the Dave Ramsey method. We read the book cover to cover and it truly helped us to save. If you go into money thinking that’s it’s “us against the world”, you may end up fighting less about the subject.
  • Short term goals, long term gains. Depending on your finances, write a list of your prioritization with money. If you set goals together, it’ll be easier to accomplish together. For example, instead of one person saving up for a car, or one person try to pay off student loan debt, work together towards one of those goals, then move on to the next.
  • If and when you do fight about money, take a moment to listen to what the other person’s fears are. One may be a scrimper and are anxious about not having money. One person may be a spender and worry about not living in the moment.Take a timeout, and listen to what the other person is defending.
  • Remember that marriage is a partnership and therefore money is part of that partnership regardless if you are a single-person income or perhaps one makes more than the other.
  • If you still can’t agree, try a marriage counselor or third party adviser (not one of your friends because it’ll be biased)

See the other common conflicts military couples have:

The Military
Division of Labor
The Future

money conflict military couple

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