Surviving Our First Military Move


I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for American Express Serve. I applied for the Serve Cash Back card to facilitate my review and received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

I can't believe we will be flying to Alaska in two days! This past month since Travis left has been a giant blur. With less than 48 hours until we get on the plane I feel like I have a hundred things left to do.

One thing I've tried to stay on top of is our finances. Moving is expensive. Even though the military gives a lot of allowances to us to help us move we are still going to end up paying out of pocket quite a bit. Thankfully we've been saving in anticipation of this move, and are doing our best to stick to a budget. Still, we've had a lot of expenses come up over the last month!

One way we've kept up with our budget throughout this process is by using the American Express Serve Cash Back prepaid debit card. It gives 1% cash back on every purchase. We've made a lot of purchases in the past month with moving expenses and our day-to-day expenses so it's added up fast! Cash Back is added to your account right after your purchase, and all you have to do is log in to redeem the amount on you next purchase.

Planned Expenses

As soon as I found out we were going to Alaska I started thinking about how utterly lacking my current wardrobe was. Living in Florida for the last 30ish years means I own two sweaters and one light jacket. No scarves, no gloves, no pants aside from jeans,...basically nothing suitable to wear in -40 degree weather.

I did a lot of research online and tried to make a list of the very basic items I'd need, and the best brands to buy. Years ago Mom gave me some of the greatest financial advice I'd ever received, "always buy the best you can afford." For years after graduating I'd buy the basic/bottom of the line version of nearly everything I needed. Cheap vacuum, cheap Tupperware, etc. What happens to the cheap stuff? It breaks. Then you have to go out and replace it and by the time you add up the replacement costs for buying the cheap stuff you have spent more than you would have buying top of the line. So, now I go for the highest quality I can afford. I'm purchasing things with the intent of using them for three years in Alaska and holding onto them indefinitely should we be stationed somewhere cold again.

My first purchase were these Sorel boots. Many friends recommended them for the snow and the reviews online were outstanding. This is my first time using an America Express card and I wasn't sure if it would be accepted everywhere I wanted to use it. Yeah, it was. I definitely tested it out at many, many different locations!

SorelMy other big purchase has been a down jacket from Columbia Columbia

I still need to get some warm pants, gloves and socks, but I'm going to wait until I get to Alaska to check out the shops up there and hopefully find some things on sale.

Staying In Touch

Since Travis was going to miss a month of our sons life I wanted to do whatever we could to keep him a part of our babies life. We Facetime as often as we can, and Travis left one of his shirts here that smells like him which the baby loves to snuggle with.

We also bought this book that Travis read out loud to record for me to play every night for the baby. I definitely bawled the first time I played it for him.

I also had a little care package made up to arrive the day after Travis did with his favorite snacks. I think of all the places I used my American Express Serve Cash Back card my favorite was Target to get some things I know we won't be able to find in po'dunk Alaska.

Care packageThe next day a package from Amazon arrived for him as well with seven 80's movies he had on his wishlist (all $5 or under!) We don't get cable and I figured without internet he'd probably be pretty bored. He brought a small tv and his playstation in his car to have something to do once he got to the new house so I knew he'd have a way to watch the movies.

Surprise Expenses

Of course no matter how well I tried to plan and budget, surprises happened! Like the $130 in data charges from Travis sending me photos via his cell phone in Canada. Whoops! He thought since he was using the hotels wifi that it wouldn't incur charges like that, but we should have verified with our cell phone carrier first.

Travis also had a flat tire just three hours before his 9 day trip was set to end. Thankfully he had a spare and was able to drive into town on that but new tires set us back quite a bit!


If you'd like to get your own American Express Serve Cash Back prepaid debit card just register for one online, transfer money onto the card, and start saving!

How do you try to save money while moving?