When I left the Army three years ago, I left behind plenty of traditions that wouldn’t be practical in my new life. (Saluting the flag for a 6:30 a.m. reveille bugle call, and marching in formation to start.)
But recently, after blocking off half a day for small but irritating money-related tasks, I realized I had resurfaced one that still served me well: payday activities.
In the past, payday activities meant soldiers were dismissed early once a month — after payday, when they were handed cash — so that they had time to travel around town and settle bills, like rent and utilities, in person. I served as an officer from 2011 to 2016, a time when digital payment was already common. But we decided to bring back this old tradition back to life anyway.
At Fort Riley, Kansas in my First Infantry Division brigade, it was a chance to go over all your bills, head to the post office, review budgets, and take care of other life admin that’s often shoved aside to nights and weekends (and sometimes never). Everyone loved payday activities because it was a chance to spend time on your own to-do’s, not the Army’s.