Posted on Mar 7, 2018
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Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
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1) Max your TSP contribution. Keep in mind that government matches a % (this is free money just for saving)
2) Eat at the chowhall. $10 saved is $10 earned
3) Don't get a credit card just because you can. It's an anchor you won't be able to get rid of.
4) Watch your credit score.
5) Watch your credit score. Yes, I said that twice
6) Look at secondary retirement options like IRAs and Roth IRAs.
7) Invest in yourself. Not in your "stuff." Stuffs value depreciates over time. Learning generally appreciates.
8) If you don't need a car, don't get a car. It's not just the Car note, but the insurance, and gas as well
9) Take advantage of the base resources. Theater, Pool, Bowling Alley, Education office. Anything you can do on base, do it.
10) Find things that keep you from spending money
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SSG Recruiter
SSG (Join to see)
4 y
3) I disagree on this one. Getting a credit card is good for building your credit history / score. If you don't plan on making large purchases in the next 2-3 years then get two credit cards (Star Card from AAFES to save on gas, and regular one from your bank as long as there an no annual fees). Just make sure you pay it off in full every month so you don't pay interest. As an added benefit, credit card purchases often have more protection against fraudulent purchases than debit cards or checks.
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Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
4 y
SSG (Join to see) - The key point on #3 is "just because you can." Credit is a valuable tool, just like many others. Get it because you need the tool. It's generally easier to build credit history than REBuild credit if you screw it up.
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SSG Recruiter
SSG (Join to see)
4 y
The problem with the way credit score works is that more accounts the better off you are, and older accounts have even bigger effect. So sometimes it makes sense to get credit cards "because you can", even if you don't plan on using them (just make a small purchase every couple months in case your bank closes inactive accounts). There is a drawback - credit inquiries lower your score - but this is temporary (about two years), so a new Soldier who is unlikely make large purchases won't be affected by getting couple cards in a short petiod of time. In fact, by the time he makes SPC he has two accounts, each at about two years, and the credit inquiries are gone.

Of course that's just one way to build credit history, but it worked for me: from literally zero credit history (not sure how it translates to score but probably pretty low) to 700s in 2-3 years; over 780 in less than 5.
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LTC John Bush
LTC John Bush
4 y
Good advice. Credit gets more young (and old) soldiers in trouble than anything else and is often the root of other problems. Getting credit is far too easy and getting out of the debt trap takes years and is often the root of family dysfunction. If you get a credit card pay it off every month, do not carry it with you and if you do not have that level of personal discipline do no get one. Your best credit reference for a serious requirement is a healthy bank account and a steady income. The credit history story is often a ploy to suck you into debt. Been there done that got the Tshirt and am OK now!
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SGT Aircraft Mechanic
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Don't get married to any of the first 5 or 10 women you meet. Don't go buy a car with a huge interest rate. Stay out of bars and strip clubs.
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SGT Strategic Microwave Systems Repairer
SGT (Join to see)
4 y
avoid whores and bars need to say more??
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SGT Carl Blas
SGT Carl Blas
4 y
Everything is here at Sgt. Barrie's post.
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PV2 Geospatial Engineer
PV2 (Join to see)
4 y
drive at least 30 miles away from your post if you are going to buy a car. All of the sales near your duty stations interest rates will be colossal.
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SPC David Willis
SPC David Willis
4 y
Best piece of advice I ever got was if you go to a bar/club. Take out your cash and your ID and leave your card at home. If a naked woman is asking for money and you have access to it she will get it, if you don't have access to it she wont...
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SPC Joseph Wojcik
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Minimize unnecessary expenses. Instead of ordering delivery, eat at the DEFAC during the work week and buy groceries at the commissary if your barracks has individual or communal kitchens.
Don't take out payday loans or get an AAFES credit card, and if you can live without a car for a couple of years do so.
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LCpl Shane Couch
LCpl Shane Couch
4 y
Funny about the payday loans. My barracks roommate took out a payday loan every paycheck, but only enough for what he was going to use for that pay period. They were paid every pay period, on time. By doing this he got his credit score to near perfect.

Now that being said, I do not suggest doing that. But it something that I remember having happened and every time I see or hear about payday loans, I always remember my roommate.
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SSG Drill Sergeant
SSG (Join to see)
4 y
I would also include, taking some financial classes, talk to your NCO when you decide to by a car. I have personally witnessed a car being towed from the barracks because a PV1 fresh to the unit went and bought a car he couldn't afford.
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SPC Matthew Tinder
SPC Matthew Tinder
4 y
LCpl Shane Couch - There is a less expensive way to do that. Get a credit card- even if all you can get is an extremely high interest rate. Pay it off just like above every month or pay period as you like but save a ton on interest and fees of payday (predatory)loans. All major credit cards will report to the bureaus ensuring your score accurately reflects your responsible actions. I would not put that same faith in a payday loan outlet.
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LCpl Shane Couch
LCpl Shane Couch
4 y
SPC Matthew Tinder - Oh I very much agree. It's just something I always remember about my roommate.
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