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Airman 1st Class Lydia Faux 4: saving money

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England - Airman 1st Class Lydia Faux is not a real Airman, but the problems she writes about are ones that all Airmen may face at some point in their careers. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tiffany M. Deuel)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England - Airman 1st Class Lydia Faux is not a real Airman, but the problems she writes about are ones that all Airmen may face at some point in their careers. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tiffany M. Deuel)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England --
(Editor's note: All characters appearing in this work, aside from Fran Sizer, are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.)

Problems are not always visible to the naked eye. With my last stories, smokers and fire safety hazards were hard to miss, yet a financially irresponsible Airman can easily go unnoticed.

In the three years I have been stationed here, I have known Airman 1st Class Ashley Ekaf-Noitcif for two years. Over the time, we grew to be great friends. While I had known Ashley was prone to shopping every weekend, I did not realize just how bad things were until she married Senior Airman Eric Noitcif.

Eric discovered Ashley to be financially inept during their first three months of marriage. She was not only shopping every weekend at the mall but was also buying clothes, shoes and other frivoulous items online. He began to see this as a problem when Ashley was unable to make her car and rent payments, causing him to pay for it out of his savings account. Speaking of which, Ashley had no savings account of her own.

To make matters worse, Ashley spent her tax return money on more clothes, shoes and handbags. Her reckless spending habits did not only affect herself, but also her husband. To help Ashley get on the right path, Eric and I decided to intervene by telling her about Military Saves Week.

Military Saves Week is a Department of Defense financial readiness campaign to persuade servicemembers and their families, as well as the wider military community, to reduce debt and save money. This campaign includes workshops, classes and a pledge anyone can make.

The workshops include "Lunch and Learn" classes where the participants bring their lunch and learn about saving money. Other classes are "Understanding the Thrift Savings Plan," "Basic Investing," "Money Personalities" and others.

Ashley agreed to go to the "Money Personalities" at the Airman & Family Readiness Center with Eric and me. The class provides a test to gauge what type of spending personality each individual has. We learned Eric is a saver and Ashley is a spender. Though we already knew Ashley was a spender, it was beneficial for her to realize that herself. Ashley received information on how to manage her money smartly and was told the importance of saving money for her future.

The A&FRC offers a variety of ways to ensure that the Airmen are financially savvy.

"We offer assistance on the whole gamut of [Airmen's] financial needs such as how to open an account overseas, how to open a checking account, home buying, foreclosures, TSP and deployed savings program, basic investing and others," said Fran Sizer, A&FRC Community Readiness consultant.

Ashley also decided to make a pledge to herself to save money.

"We have a pledge card (where the Airman) can make a pledge to establish a savings account, if they don't already have one, increase the amount they put into savings and open a TSP. Those who pledge will receive an e-newsletter four times a year on how to save money," said Mrs. Sizer.

With the help of her spouse and friends, Ashley has made the pledge to save money and be a financially responsible Airman. Will you?