How Do I Pay My Bills While in Basic Training?

by | Army | 1 comment

Navigating basic training is challenging enough without worrying about how to pay your bills. With limited access to your finances and little free time, managing your financial obligations can feel overwhelming. But don’t worry; there are several strategies to ensure your bills get paid on time while you’re focused on your training.

Understanding your options and planning ahead can make a significant difference. From setting up automatic payments to designating a trusted person to handle your finances, you can maintain your financial health without added stress. Let’s explore the most effective ways to keep your finances in order while you’re in basic training.

Understanding Your Financial Situation Before Basic Training

Assessing Your Current Bills and Expenses

Identify your recurring bills and expenses well before starting basic training. Look at your statements from the last three to six months. Common expenses include rent, utilities, phone bills, and loan payments. Don’t forget subscriptions to streaming services, gym memberships, and other recurring charges, as these can add up. Make a detailed list of all these costs to get a clear picture of your financial obligations.

Planning Your Budget for the Training Period

Create a budget to cover the duration of your basic training. Predict your income, considering any military pay and allowances you’ll receive. Allocate funds for each expense category identified earlier. Set aside extra funds for unforeseen costs, such as medical expenses or emergency repairs. Implementing a clear, planned budget helps ensure all bills get paid on time, mitigating financial stress during training.

Automating Your Payments

Simplifying your financial management, especially during basic training, revolves around automating your payments. This ensures your bills are paid on time without requiring your constant attention. Focus on setting up systems that handle payments efficiently.

Setting Up Automatic Transfers and Direct Debits

Establish automatic transfers and direct debits for your recurring charges. This includes rent, utilities, and subscription services. Most banks and service providers offer these options, allowing you to ensure payments are prompt. Log into your online banking platform, find the section for automatic payments, and set up transfers to cover your consistent expenses. Practice this well in advance to ensure all your details are accurate.

Using Banking Apps to Manage Payments Remotely

Utilize banking apps to manage your payments remotely. Many financial institutions offer apps that help you monitor transactions, schedule transfers, and receive alerts. Download the app provided by your bank and familiarize yourself with its features. Use it to keep track of your account balance, view pending payments, and make quick adjustments if needed. Banking apps are user-friendly and can be pivotal in maintaining your financial health during basic training.

Exploring Military Pay and Benefits

Understanding Your Entitlements During Basic Training

During basic training, recruits receive basic pay from the military. Pay scales depend on rank and years of service. For example, as of 2023, an E-1 recruit with less than four months of service earns around $1,695 per month. This pay increases after completing four months of service.

Additionally, you may be entitled to benefits like allowances for housing (BAH) and food (BAS). While in basic training, the military typically provides living quarters and meals, so these allowances might not be directly applicable until after training. Understand these entitlements to make informed financial decisions.

Applying for Military Financial Assistance Programs

Several financial assistance programs support military personnel, easing financial burdens during training periods. Programs like Army Emergency Relief (AER), Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS), and the Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) offer interest-free loans or grants for emergency needs.

Research and apply for these programs to access support for unforeseen expenses, such as medical costs or essential household needs. Confirm eligibility requirements, as they may include criteria like rank, service length, and the type of financial hardship.

Managing Debt and Loan Payments

Communicating with Lenders About Your Military Service

Inform your lenders about your military service to ensure they are aware of your situation. This can open up potential accommodations specifically for service members. Start by calling or emailing your lender’s customer service department. Mention the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which offers protections like reduced interest rates and deferred payments.

Lenders often request documentation to verify your military status. Providing a copy of your orders or an official letter from a commanding officer usually suffices. Make sure to keep records of all communications for future reference.

Options for Deferment and Forbearance

Explore debt relief options such as deferment and forbearance for loans. Deferment allows you to postpone payments, often without accruing interest on subsidized loans. Common deferment triggers include active military service and enrollment in a rehabilitation program.

Forbearance temporarily reduces or suspends payments but usually accrues interest on all loans. If you face financial hardship or unexpected expenses due to basic training, forbearance can offer short-term relief. Check specific terms with your lender to understand how these options affect your long-term financial situation.


Navigating your finances during basic training requires careful planning and proactive steps. By setting up automatic payments and designating a trusted person to manage your bills, you can ensure your financial responsibilities are met. Take advantage of military pay and benefits, and explore financial assistance programs to ease your burden. Managing debt and loan payments by informing lenders of your service and exploring deferment or forbearance options can provide additional relief. Keep thorough records of communications with lenders to safeguard your financial future. With these strategies, you can focus on your training without worrying about your financial obligations.



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