by Dana Bretz
Nothing says welcome to military life more than never ending information being hurled your way. At least that’s how I felt when I was a new military spouse. I kept thinking…. what do all these acronyms mean, where can I pick up my new spouse manual and is there a crash course I can enroll into ASAP (the one acronym we can all relate to). It can be so overwhelming! The military vernacular is quite unique to say the least! So when life happens, as it ALWAYS does, we need to know everything available to our families to avoid looking like a deer in headlights. Pay! Pay was one of the first things I knew I had to conquer. I mean bills don’t pay themselves, right? And in order to conquer budgeting needs like food, clothing, basic essentials and hopefully some entertainment, you need to figure out when and how your spouse gets paid. The 1st and 15th may seem simple enough, until you have to plan for the third week in a 31 day month! And what in the world is this mysterious LES I keep hearing about? Oh, a leave and earning statement. Why didn’t I think of that? Now that we know what it’s called, can we get one written in a language we understand? These are all thoughts that crossed my mind. Where is a wish granting genie when you need one? All I want is someone to explain this to me in a way that makes sense!
Well great news for us all. We have resources! Yes, you are not alone! Each installation will have its own educational information and some of these resources are available online. MilitaryOneSource.mil has a great breakdown of a LES and how to read one. And even explains each box and on a LES. BINGO! DFAS.mil also has an awesome amount of info that includes pay charts! Are you excited yet? Military.com even has a checklist for new spouses that covers LES and much more. Because we all know, this is just the beginning. There are so many other things left for us to master!
Just remember to breathe and talk to other spouses. Other spouses will be your treasure trove! They also will understand what you are going through more than anyone else. We all lean on each other and that is one of the best things about being a military family…..and that information is some of the most valuable.
Spouses are an invaluable part of the military and together we are one.
Keep on blogging in the free world,