5 New Experiences You’ll Have Living Off Base For the First Time

I have a confession to make. This time last year, I made my very first electric bill payment.

I also experienced my very first door-to-door solicitor, and had my very first freak out moment when I realized that I was no longer living in a gated community where there was someone guarding the gate with a gun.

Yep. At this time last year, I felt like a teenager who was learning how to take on responsibility for the first time on her own.

Except I wasn’t a teenager… I was the tender (cough, cough) age of 35!

My husband and I have been married since we were 19 and we have ALWAYS lived on base through his entire career up to this point.

When he received his PCS orders, he said: “Hey, this is my ‘twilight tour’,” (which I guess is mil-speak for his very last enlistment) “I think we should rent a house off base.” We had always lived on base in a town home or duplex set-up.

His thought was that he didn’t want to live ‘attached’ to anyone if we had the choice. We have always had fantastic neighbors, but I could see his reasoning. Especially when most of the time our bedroom wall was attached to their bedroom wall. Occasionally this made for some very awkward glances exchanged in the mornings (especially after a deployment!)

Now, I’m usually a go-with-the-flow kind of girl, so I said “Sure! I mean, it can’t be THAT different, right?”

Well, as it turns out, I was HALF right.

Let’s be clear: different does not equal bad. Different equals different.

And while I truly am a go-with-the-flow kind of girl, I’m not really a fan of change all that much.

(cue gasp)

I mean, hey…I don’t have to like change in order to embrace it!

So I decided to challenge myself and look at this situation with an open mind so that I could grow and learn (and also so that no one would revoke my go-with-the-flow card!).

Here are just a few ‘firsts’ I experienced in my first year living off base:

1. Expenses

Living on base afforded us the opportunity to NEVER have to worry about additional expenses for necessities such as electricity, water and trash pick-up.

We love our new house, but in hindsight, we hadn’t really considered just how much of an impact those additional expenses would make on our wallets.

So, what did we do?

Yep, you guessed.

We chose to rent a home that was the exact amount of BAH in our area. We never even thought that maybe we ought to find a home where the BAH would cover the rent AND utilities.

Hindsight really is 20/20.