How to Stretch your BAH
So lets start with the basics, BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) is an allowance that military personnel receive based on location, dependents, and pay grade. BAH is paid directly to military personnel monthly which means that if you are able to spend less than your housing allowance, you can save it!
Fortunately, there are ways to squeeze your BAH while making sure your family is still safe.
What is BAH
Don`t assume that you’ll receive the same amount of money in North Dakota that you did in California. BAH also changes with the budget every year so watch closely. You can find your BAH here: http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm
Live within your means
When you’re looking for a new home, make sure that you are looking at what you can afford with your BAH and utilities! If your BAH is $1100 monthly, you should make sure that your rent (or mortgage) is below that amount. Making sure to factor in all utilities. When looking for a home use our handy comparison sheet.
Forego the extras
Figure out what you need and what you can get by without. And then dump the extras. I am seeing a lot more families forego cable and opt for WiFi with Hulu and Netflix or other streaming services.
Don’t forget utilities
Make sure that your BAH covers all of your utilities (electric, water, sewage, gas, garbage, internet, and cable). If you’re able to do this, you’ll always know that your costs are under a certain amount. When looking at a rental you can call the electric and water companies and get an average billing cost over the last several years during the peak summer and winter months.
Areas that are cheaper aren’t necessarily safe. Check the areas crime stats or speak to the local police department.
Don`t forget to ask yourself if it is worth the time, gas, and wear and tear on the vehicle to live that far away from base.