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AFRC's Military Saves program makes cents

Don Murray reviews his lesson plan for next week's financial classes in celebration of Military Saves week Feb. 16, 2010, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.  Classes will inform attendees on how to make sound decisions when it comes to planning successful financial futures.  Mr. Murray is assigned to the 354th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center as the personal financial readiness manager.  (U.S. Air Force photo by/Airman 1st Class Yash Rojas)

Don Murray reviews his lesson plan for next week's financial classes in celebration of Military Saves week Feb. 16, 2010, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Classes will inform attendees on how to make sound decisions when it comes to planning successful financial futures. Mr. Murray is assigned to the 354th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center as the personal financial readiness manager. (U.S. Air Force photo by/Airman 1st Class Yash Rojas)

EIELSON AIR FORCE, Alaska -- The Airmen and Family Readiness Center financial program, Military Saves, is ready to steer the Iceman Team away from money troubles and come one step closer to financial stability.

The AFRC offers informative classes year-round including the Military Saves program to provide Airmen and their families with ways to achieve financial success.

"Military saves is an excellent way to stay focused throughout the year on your financial goals," said Don Murray, 354th Force Support Squadron A&FRC superintendent. "It is an opportunity to make a pledge to yourself or your family and have your money start to work for you instead of your working for it."

Too many people live from check to check leaving little opportunity for saving for a better tomorrow. The military saves program helps Airmen avoid risky spending habits and prepares Airmen to follow a budget.

"Immediately we got the help we needed," said Senior Airman Ebone Cleveland, 354th Maintenance Squadron avionics technician. "They helped me create a budget, start a savings account, and an emergency fund."

Keeping a budget can create better money spending habits. Airmen who spend responsibly may find they can do much more with their money than ever before.

"You never know how much money you can save and keep in your pocket," she added.

In addition to saving money for investing, money that is not invested can help in case of emergencies. In Alaska, last-minute airfare can easily exceed $1000, so planning ahead can be very beneficial when a personal crisis occurs.

Some Airmen leave the service early as a result of financial troubles, having your finances in order is one thing less you have to worry about, said Airman Cleveland.

It is easy to see why some Airmen find themselves drowning in debt early in their careers. An excess of funds may be one explanation of why Airmen suffer from a growing trend, bad spending habits.

"Early in their careers, Airmen frequently have extra money to spend," Staff Sgt. Angelica Broady, 354th Communications Squadron resource advisor. "Instead of saving, their initial impulse is to spend."

Single Airmen living in the dormitories are especially vulnerable to financial woes. It is easy to neglect personal finances when your housing and food expenses are covered. Airmen unaware of their financial health put off looking for new ways to save money or making smart choices when it comes to their financial future.

According to Mr. Murray, the key to building wealth is starts early. Start small by creating a lifestyle that embraces living within your budget. This will allow you to later think outside of the box in terms of saving and investing.

For those serious about their financial health, attending any of the numerous classes offered at the AFRC may make for money conscious Airmen who are savings savvy. Taking care of your finances is one more way to a more successful career in the Air Force.