Military OneSource

State Consultant
Marcie Caulfield

Office: (802)-338-3164

Military OneSource is your 24/7 connection, from the moment of enlistment through 365 days after separation, to information, answers and support - your one source for your best MilLife. Our mission is to advance the wellbeing of active duty, National Guard and reserve members, survivors and their families. Our confidential support services include specialty consultations on topics from financial counseling and tax filing assistance, to special needs support and wounded warrior resources. Explore our spouse education and career opportunities to achieve your goals at any stage of your military life. And when you just need to talk, experts who understand the military community provide private, non-medical counseling to help you through relationship challenges, job stress and more. You can rely on us for worldwide access, anytime, to receive no-cost support. Engage with objective and experienced experts who are committed to helping service members and military families thrive. You can also take advantage of the online webinars, podcasts, downloadable products and materials, military installation information and more. Connect with an expert today by visiting or calling 800-342-9647.

Military OneSource Feature Story

By Marcie Caulfield | VTNG Family Programs | Dec. 2, 2019

                                                       10 Smart Tips for Military Families to Save on Holiday Spending
Holidays mean spending, but you’ve got the discipline to keep it reined in this season. Celebrating with your family doesn’t have to lead to debt, and here’s how to make it a great holiday and maintain financial control.
Control your cash
Check out these ways to tame the holiday frenzy:
• Make (and stick to) a budget. Money can fly out of your wallet fast for gifts, special meals, decorations and travel. Plan ahead of time how much you’re going to spend on each category, and then stay in that range.
• Take inventory. Don’t rush out to buy wrapping paper before checking to see if there’s a forgotten stash in your closet. The same is true for presents you may have hidden too well last year.
• Shop secondhand for decorations. Thrift stores and garage sales usually have loads of holiday decorations as people upgrade, downsize or realize their decorations somehow multiplied when they weren’t looking.
• Consider budget-friendly alternative gifts. Homemade gifts are a great option if you’re crafty or a whiz in the kitchen, or even if you aren’t either of those, but can follow online directions. Coupons for your “services,” like babysitting, can also make good presents.
• Make your own holiday cards. You can save money by using e-cards to send greetings to your loved ones instead of traditional cards. Many websites offer free or inexpensive e-cards, some with options to add videos or slideshows.
• Plan holiday meals early. Knowing what you’re going to cook well in advance lets you shop the sales for the non-perishable items you’ll need. It also helps spread the higher food costs over a couple of paychecks instead of just one.
• Use your smart phone while shopping. Many retailers can send coupons right to your phone when you walk into their stores. You can also use your phone to compare prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
• Consider traveling on the holiday itself. You could score a much cheaper airline ticket by flying on the holiday instead of in the days before. Plus, arriving on the big day conveniently gets you out of a lot of meal-prep duty.
• Search hotel rates and airfares online. Be flexible and take advantage of websites that compare airfares and hotels so you get the best deal. Many will also alert you to price drops and sometimes same-day holiday travel is cheaper.
There are a lot of ways to save money at the holidays. Check out other budget-friendly tips from Military OneSource, or take advantage of free financial counseling available in person, by phone or by video chat. For more information, call 800-342-9647.