A&FRC helps Sabers squeeze every penny

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Military Saves Campaign kicks off February 25, and runs through March 2. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Pomeroy/Released)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- The Spangdahlem Airman and Family Readiness Center offers free group and individual budget management counseling to all Department of Defense ID cardholders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Pomeroy/Released)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- As the U.S. Congress members address the state of the national budget, this may be a good time for individuals to evaluate their own spending.

The Spangdahlem Airman & Family Readiness Center offers free group and individual budget management counseling to all Department of Defense ID cardholders.

"Checking your finances will ensure you are on track and you are being financially responsible," said Pamela Flemions, 52nd Force Support Squadron A&FRC community readiness technician. "Financial responsibility is important because it impacts life in and out of the military. Making the right financial decisions now will help you maintain independence and allow for a comfortable life in retirement."

This year alone, the A&FRC gave more than 300 individual financial counseling sessions and 82 workshops advising more than 600 base members.

Additionally, their budget management counseling is designed to meet the needs of the individual or family and can be conducted in three different ways.

The first type is remedial financial counseling and is used when an individual is experiencing financial, emotional or personal discomfort. These discomforts can include feeling overwhelmed with tracking expenses, late payments, non-sufficient bank fees or being unable to communicate financial readiness to family members.

The second type is productive financial counseling which benefits individuals and families who are stable financially and desire recommendations or referrals to use resources more beneficially, such as developing a system to evaluate if on track with financial goals.

The final type of financial counseling is a preventive hybrid of remedial and productive financial counseling when an individual or family member perceives a need for the productive use of resources to prevent the need for remedial financial counseling. For example, these events could be an anticipated loss in income or change in financial situation.

Clients should bring a current pay statement, information of monthly expenses and debt to their appointments.

In the counseling session, a spending plan will be created to reflect the monthly cash flow of income, expenses and debt. An action plan can then be made to reach a person's financial goals.

At the core of the counseling, Flemions said she advises all Sabers to identify their needs versus wants and prioritize their financial goals.

"Saving for the future and minimum debt contribute to financial fitness and personal readiness," she said. "Basically spending less than your net income is the key component."

Credit report scores can also be looked at during counseling.

A credit report contains a person's credit history as reported to a credit reporting agency by lenders who have extended credit to individuals. All active-duty service members and their spouses may obtain a free credit report and FICO score annually through the installation's military financial educator and counselor.

"The Saber community can find some great tips at www.militarysaves.org," Flemions said. "The Military Saves Campaign promotes financial readiness, and the 2014 theme is 'Set a Goal, Make a Plan, Save Automatically.'"

To find out more about personal financial readiness or counseling, contact the A&FRC at 452-6422.