As I posted yesterday, i've been activated (i am currently in the Army Reserves) for deployment to Afghanistan.  In typical Army SNAFU fashion, I have 5 weeks notice and have ended up with 7 non-consetitive days to prepare the family for my year long absents. (because I "missed" many of the pre-moblization events i have to catch up so they put me on a series of orders at the Unit to be ready on the military side)

It struck me that much of what i'm doing would be great for everyone to do just in case they lose a job, get sick, or die.  By no means will my experiences be 100% complete or even applicable to everyone.  But it should get you thinking.

More after the fold.

When you get deployed, your income changes.  For a few it will go up, for most it goes down.  In the civilian world, a cut in hours or "sequester" would be the same.  Or like I had in 2011, sprained my ankle and was out of work at one of my part time jobs for three months.  

Having a budget and savings is a big help here. You know what you are spending, and with effort, setting aside some extra to use in emergencies BEFORE you see a pay reduction.  It also keeps you out of debt.

One of the main things with deployment is my health insurance changes.  (and here it is where I start to get ahead.)  On receipt of my Mobilization orders we transfer from my employer sponsored plan ($125 a pay check with $6,000 out of pocket cap and $15 co-pay) to "Single Payor" health insurance for the family (at no cost to me or my family and no co-pays).  The downside is we can't see the doctors of our choice, but we don't have to pay any more. (You get who ever is at the base at the time)

To get that set up the system has to have your family information in it. This means presenting Birth Certificates, SSN Cards, Marriage Documents, etc. When I was single and called up this was not that hard.  But with a family it gets more complex.  The civilian world this is the what agencies need when a disaster happens, say an ice storm or tornado.

Having all these documents in one place, copies of them at a second location (mom and dad's home in another state) makes it easy.  We added in our book, a three ring binder kept in a fire safe (with the key in the safe lock) not just the above documents but our lease agreement, car purchase agreements, home inventory lists, last years tax returns, and banking information.

All I had to do was open the safe and take our book out.  Since then we have added a copy of the Mobilization orders.

Because I had such short notice, many of the things I would do on the way home from work won't happen.  Often when I ended my shift at 0200 in the morning, i would stop by the grocery store and do the shopping. (very few crowds at that time)

Now the wife will have to do the shopping.  This is less of a worry since we have been storing food for the last several years.  We use a method called "Copy Canning".  If you use a can of green beans each week, instead of buying one can you buy two.  After a while you have plenty of cans of green beans you start adding something else.  (logic, you buy two cans but use only one, each week, you soon have four cans on the shelf in four weeks - a month worth of cans that you will use)

Because we have been doing this for a while we can skip shopping for two weeks with out even thinking about it.  (actually we have enough stored up that more than a month and a half - see photos)  When I was out of work for a bad ankle, we lived off the food storage and just shopped here and there.  With lower income, lack of being able to move, having food stored up let us get through with out the stress we would have had otherwise.  In 1998 I was in an ice storm and could not get to a store for a week.  I did not have food storage then, and it sucked.  

Because we have prepared, I am able to deploy on short notice with out half the stress we would have had.  (and as a first responder, I've been able to go to disasters in the area and not worry about the family.  This lets me focus on helping others.)

Sundays post will be about how great my current employer is compared to the last times I was called up.

Originally posted to Drill Sgt K on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 05:48 AM PDT.

Also republished by IGTNT Advisory Group and Military Community Members of Daily Kos.

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