Deployment Diaries: Six Ways to Make the Time Fly

I felt really overwhelmed after Taylor left. It is my first time going through a deployment and I had no idea where to start as silly as that sounds. How am I going to survive all these months? What am I supposed to do to pass the time? How do I go back to “normal” life again?

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The Three Things You Need To Be A Military Significant Other

For two years I have had more people than I can count ask me, “How do you do it?”

And I have never had an answer. I didn’t really know how, I just did.

But after two years of getting asked this question and then asking myself, “Yeah… how the hell do I do this?” on my car rides back home I have finally come up with the answer.

So, here it goes. The three things that you need to have in order to be a military girlfriend:

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How to Budget Your Travels into Your Monthly Expenses

 

For two years now, Charleston has become my second home and it wasn’t too traumatic on my wallet most of the time. My airline tickets averaged around $300 and if I couldn’t do that I could drive.

The next stop on our military journey, however, is going to be Hawaii, a trip that will most definitely not be too kind on the old wallet. But I have recently put in place some tips and tricks that will get me, stress-free, to Hawaii and back… I might even be able to afford a nice dinner while I’m there.

The key to making all of this easier on you is to answer four questions:

How much will your trip cost?

The first step is knowing how much your trip will cost for the big stuff such as hotels, rental cars, gas, plane tickets, food, souvenirs, etc. Keep in mind that it is best to over guess prices than under guess. Also, keep in mind that many places, if you are married to the military, you can get discounts! You can make a rough calculation based on these prices…

Food: I know that, personally, I spend about $20 on each meal when I go on vacation. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it is less depending on where I am going and what meal it is. All in all, I give food about $60 per day. Take that and multiple it by how many days you are staying.

Plane tickets: A round-trip ticket to Hawaii is about $850 give or take. Look around on Google or there is a really helpful app called Hopper that will tell you pricing and pick a median price that sounds good to you.

Gas: If driving is your choice of transportation, find out how many miles it will be and find out what your car’s miles per gallon rate is. Divide the miles it will take to get there by the miles per gallon of your car. Then find the average gas prices in your area and multiply it by the numbers you just figured.

EX:) It used to take me 923 miles to drive to Charleston, SC. My little Honda Civic drives about 33 miles per gallon.

923/33= 27.97 gallons of gas to get to Charleston

I usually round up just to be safe so we’ll say about 30 gallons of gas. (I tend to get lost a lot.)

The gas prices around Chicago are about $2.20. So, 2.20×30=66. It will cost me about $66 in gas to get one way to Charleston.

Also, keep in mind that you will be driving around while you are there. Take that into account when finding out how much you will spend in gas.

Rental Cars: This one you should do a bit of research on. This all depends on the company, the type of car, the size of the car and how many days you will be renting it for. Β This will require a bit of your own research to figure out, however, USA Today wrote a good article to see what the averages are.

Hotels: Again, this will require some research on your part. Based on where you stay and how nice you’d like your hotel or motel to be, these prices can range greatly.

Ex:) Whenever I go to visit my boyfriend, I already have my transportation and sleeping accommodations taken care of so really that just leaves my plane ticket, food and souvenirs and money for the things we want to do.

Plane ticket: I averaged this out to $850.

Food: I will probably spend about a week in Hawaii so my food will come out to about $420.

Souvenirs/things to do: I gave myself a budget of about $75 a day for things I want to buy and things we want to do. This adds up to about $525.

 

All in all, my trip to Hawaii will cost me $1,795.

When are you planning to go?

Whew! You’ve now have the first and maybe hardest step done! Next comes planning when you’d like to go. Pick a month and calculate how many months that is from today.

Ex:) I would like to go to Hawaii at the beginning of September. That is about 3 months from now.

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How much money do you make a month?

Take your paychecks and add them together! If you are a bartender, waitress or anyone who has varying paychecks a month, figure out an average. About how much a day or a week do you normally bring home in tips.

Ex:) One of my paychecks a month is about $800 and the other one is about $900. I also freelance a little so I added in about an extra $50.

Turns out to be about $1,750.

After paying your bills, how much “fun” money do you have to spend?

I have a whiteboard next to my desk that lists out all of my bills that I have to pay, when they come out and have a space for me to check mark them when they have been paid. I know, I know, I’m a really big dork.

But it helps! Write out all your expenses, take what you make monthly and subtract them.

EX:) I make about $1,750 and lets say, for the sake of this post, that my bills come out to be $1,000 a month. That leaves me $750 to spend on whatever my little heart desires.

Put it all together!

Take how much your trip will cost and divide that by how much time you have between now and then. Take that number and look to see if you can feasibly afford to put away that much every month. If not, you may need to think about moving your trip a little farther back.

EX:) My trip is going to cost $1,795 and I have three months to save up.

$1,795/3= $598 per month that I need to save.

We already figured out that I have $750 to spend on what I would like every month. With that being said, if I put away about $600 a month toward my trip I would still have about $150 dollars to spend on going out with friends, new clothes, etc. which is fine for me.

 

Once you have figured out a good monthly budget for you, now it is time to start saving! Once a month, place that money into a savings account, under your bed, a piggy bank, and save up for that trip you’ve been dying to take.

Life is way too short to not travel. Don’t let your financial status stop you.

 

 

Seven Hacks to Healthier, Homecoming-Ready Skin

When I was younger I had horrible skin. Look closely at the pictures above and you can see the splotches all over my chin, forehead and cheeks. We are talking acne, painful and red, and lots of dry, dead skin. Β I remember one time I had a pimple on the edge of my lip that honestly looked like I had a Skittle embedded in my skin and it was so bad that it was uncomfortable to eat. I had no choice but to pop it because I was so hungry but I didn’t want to eat because it hurt…I had no idea my pores could hold all the crap that came out.
But enough with the gross stuff! I decided then that I wanted better skin. The last thing I wanted to worry about when my sailor came home was what shape my skin was in and how it was going to look in the millions of pictures we’d be taking. While my skin still isn’t 100% perfect and I am no dermatologist, I have tested multiple products, theories and Cosmopolitan magazine articles to find the best! The top list of things that gave me much better, healthier skin.

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How to Plan a Welcome Home Scavenger Hunt for Your Significant Other

Taylor has been pretty grumpy lately (for good reason too) so I went last weekend for two days to cheer him up a bit. It was a normal morning when we woke up. We got up, took a shower, got dressed and went to Waffle House for breakfast. As we sat at Waffle House waiting for our food I asked, “Do you have tape at home?”

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A Sailor’s Letter to His Girl Back Home

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“I need to tell you something. Before I get into it, I want you to know the reason I am telling you this. I want you to save this or screenshot this or whatever it takes to hold onto this for a couple different reasons.

When you have days where you need a little extra lovin’, I want you to look at this. When we are in the midst of a disagreement, I want you to look at this. When I am deployed and gone and you haven’t heard from me in days or weeks, I want you to look at this.

You, my dear, are the absolute greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. Either there’s no scale of comparison or if I put you on a scale, nothing else comes close. You have been my rock, paper and scissors. When I needed someone to just bitch, moan and groan to, you have been there to listen. Whether it’s literally been just to hear and say nothing or to give advice, you’ve been there to lean on.

When I’ve felt broken or defeated, you’ve told me it’ll be okay and you’ve motivated me to push forward and you’ve held me together. When I’ve been wrong or been an asshole, you’ve been there to tear me apart (in a good sense) and make me grow as a man and mature and learn to admit when I am wrong.

I’m not going to lie, I think most people do this in relationships but I’ve searched for something about you that I don’t love and I haven’t found a thing. Not. One. Damn. Thing.

We have our disagreements, we have our fights, we have our near break ups but I wouldn’t trade it for the world and there is no other girl I’d rather struggle through life with than you.

I love that we don’t have everything in common. If we did, it’d be boring. We’d have nothing to introduce each other to.

I love your independence. I am more than willing to support you on anything you need but I love the fire inside you that drives you to support yourself.

I love your laugh. I remember the first time I heard it and fell in love with it. It was the first time you visited me in Charleston and that guy dropped his gas can on the expressway.

…You fit perfectly in my arms. I love your thighs. They are the perfect drumming pads when we’re jamming in the car. I love holding your hand and kissing your cheek in public. I want the world to know that I am the luckiest man alive to call you mine.

I love your dedication to me and my job. Your constant support and sacrifice is unwavering and I am undeserving yet everyday it’s there without hesitation.

I love your career progression. You are finding yourself and your purpose and fighting through all the obstacles that stand in your way.

I love that you are the strongest person in my life and in the world. You balance so many curveballs day in and day out but wake up every day ready to swing away.

I love that you are mine. I love that you are my definition of perfection and you are on my side. Through all the ups and downs, through the brutal fights from miles apart, I wouldn’t trade a second of it. I want to do everything there is to do, see everything there is to see in the world with you.

To summarize all of this in three words, I love you.”

Don’t Use The Military As An Excuse For Your SO To Treat You Like Shit

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Seriously. For the love of all that is good and true…Just don’t. I’ve made so many friends and met so many women who trust me enough to tell me about their relationship problems and ask for my advice (which is an absolute blessing by the way). And when some of them tell me about all the ridiculous stuff their SO’s put them through they always use something about the military to justify these actions.

“Oh, but he’s probably really busy. That’s why he hasn’t texted back in three days.”

“Well, the military trains them to be heartless and not show emotion.”

“I caught him cheating once but I know he was really stressed out that week from all his tests and he got really drunk to let off some steam so it’s fine, right?”

What the hell? No! Absolutely, positively not. No.

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