While the struggle is real for a military family, there are some benefits that come with military life. Financially speaking, there are military discounts, incentives, and other ways to save money.
With deployments and multiple pcs moves, military families may have to keep work a little harder at keeping that budget in check. There are military discounts to be had, but I’ve also rounded up some money saving secrets that you might not know about.
Here are 10 Money Saving Hacks Every Military Family Should Know
Oil Changes and Inspections
If your military installation has an auto center run by MWR, look into what services they offer. They may offer discounted inspections or smog checks for your vehicles. If you’re knowledgeable about cars, they may even have a garage for you to rent to tune up your car (meaning you can also use their tools).
USPS Military Care Package Kit
Get a free military care package kit from the Post Office to pack your care packages for loved ones during deployment. It can be delivered to your front door and will save your multiple trips to the post office. It comes with boxes, tape, address labels, and customs forms.
Moving to a new duty station or having your service member deployed may make it harder to host a baby shower. Operation Shower can offer you some necessary baby items as well as help you meet other expectant military spouses. Your local family services center may also have free parenting classes that offer some baby items as well. Speaking of babies…
Free Breast Pump
Military families are not eligible for a no-cost breast pump through Tricare. Simply have your OBGYN fill out a prescription and submit it to a company like http://www.thebreastfeedingshop.com, and your breast pump can arrive to your front door.
Get Cash Back
You can get cash back for your purchases on base with the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card. This credit card gives back more cash than any other card for purchases on military bases. (Up to 5% cash back in gas and military base purchases on your first $3,000) You can apply for the card here.
Other perks of the card include:
• 2% cash back on supermarket purchases (on your first $3,000) per year
• Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
• No annual fee and no foreign transaction fee when traveling outside the United States (great if you ever have to PCS OCONUS)
Plus you can redeem cash rewards anytime using a mobile device or computer. For a limited time, New card holders earn a $150 bonus after making $500 in qualifying purchases within the first 90 days of opening the account (Must apply by August 31)
Off Base Military Hotels
Orlando, Honolulu, San Francisco, Big Bear, CA… These cities aren’t known for their military bases, but did you know they have military hotels and cabins for you to stay at? Before booking that next vacation, keep in mind that there may be an awesome military hotel or cabin rental with great rates for military families to save some money.
Even if you are a hardcore Google Products user, having Microsoft Office on your computer is great when you need to work on documents when you don’t have wifi. With your service member’s military email address, you can get a HUGELY discounted price on Microsoft office here https://products.office.com/en-us/military
Exchange Price Matching
So my little secret for Black Friday shopping is to research the best deals at your normal tech stores. Then I find out if the exchange carries that product. If it does, I can bring in the ad from the tech store and the Exchange will price match for the lowest advertised price. Add no tax, AND using the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card, I’ve got a great deal. Another secret of mine, see if the Exchange at your duty station has a “basement” location. As in, there is a smaller exchange where they hold even MORE discounts of overstocked products. I know San Diego has one in Imperial Beach.
Most MWR programs on installations also offer youth and intramural sports. They not only offer a great deal on costs for sports but they help you meet other like-minded military families in your community. There can also be tournaments and contests that may have prizes. The races or run/walks on base also tend to have cheaper registration fees then those that are off base.
Even if you bank with other financial institutions, having a USAA account can save you money in other ways. USAA serves a lot of military families for banking and insurance, but did you know they also offer a lot of other discounts and programs for other products? From car rentals to security systems, being a USAA member can have a lot of benefits. They even have a network of real estate agents where you could earn a $350 – $24,000 reward.