Salute to Spouses Blog

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Military Discounts Can Save You, Especially During PCS

By Mandy Rebmann

The U.S. military used to be a lot bigger.  A period of military service was once a reality for many young men, even celebrities (Think about Elvis being in the military. Elvis!).

However, since the draft ended and the U.S. military became 100 percent volunteer, fewer families are faced with the burdens of that sacrifice, making it less universal, and more acute.  Many in the business world try and give back and give thanks by offering special discounts to members of active duty and National Guard/ Reserve and their families.  Not only is this an acknowledgement of their service, but it also helps ease some of the financial burden associated with life in the military.  And the good news is that it’s easier than ever to take advantage of these discounts!

One of the biggest financial pressures placed on military families is frequent PCS moves.  Although compensated for these moves, they can put a strain on anyone’s budget.  Finding out which businesses along the way offer military discounts can really add up.  Many businesses offer 10-20 percent discounts.  While sometimes the saving are only a few dollars, sometimes it’s much more substantial, and even small discounts add up over the course of a PCS move.

Businesses offering discounts can range anywhere from food and hotels, to movers, groceries and dining, among many others.

As discussed in some of my previous pieces, we recently PCS’d and purchased our first home.  Although we took advantage of the VA Loan and didn’t have to come up with a down payment, the closing costs took a big bite out of our savings.  Since we didn’t have a clear idea of exactly when we would be PCS’ing, we had planned a trip to Orlando, now taking place a few months after getting settled in the new house.  Without the help of the military discounts offered by the theme parks we’ll be visiting, we would have had to cancel our plans, disappointing a lot of youngsters.  Both Disney and Universal Studios offer substantially discounted tickets and hotel rooms for members of the military.  Recently, Disney has even upped the number of tickets a military member or their spouse may use from six to 12!

When it comes to entertainment discounts, a good place to visit is your post’s Travel and Ticket office.  Not only can you obtain high-demand tickets for attractions in advance, they can also assist booking hotels and tours.  Bigger posts’ offices are usually set up like a travel agent office, so it’s also a good place to go, browse, and get some vacation ideas. 

It’s easier than ever to learn about these deals and take advantage of them.  Most of the individual business websites will have information on the military discounts offered.  There are also compilation sites listing multiple deals.  One app I recently put on my phone is SCOUT, which shows me the businesses offering military discounts in around me, organized into categories.  Full disclosure: I am not a couponer. I’ve always been just a little too unorganized to take advantage of all the discounts, sales, and specials out there.  But it’s getting so easy to find coupons and discouts, even I keep seeing the savings coming in!

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