Everyone knows that your military ID card grants you access to the many services and benefits available on a military installation. But did you know that your military ID also is your ticket to a wide range of opportunities to save money? Think of it as an exclusive membership card to a club that provides discounts worldwide.
But now that you've got it, where can you use it?
Travel And EntertainmentMany military families will tell you about vacations spent visiting family members or sightseeing trips taken as part of a permanent change of station move. But for those times when a vacation is just a vacation, it doesn't have to break the bank. Here are a few tips that can help you save a lot of money:
Military lodges or temporary housingChild care services under the Department of Defense Child Development Program are available for active duty servicemembers as well as National Guard and Reserve members on active duty or performing inactive duty training. The DoD offers child development programs at more than 300 locations through approximately 800 Child Development Centers and 9,800 Family Child Care homes. Military child care facilities are among the best in the nation, and they offer rates based on the member's pay grade and family income. For servicemembers stationed away from a military installation or on a waiting list for on-base child care, or for National Guard or Reserve members who need child care near their home, the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRA) works with local child care facilities to offer subsidized rates at their centers. For a list of programs, visit www.naccrra.org.
Recreation facilitiesTired of paying high membership fees to join a gym? Many military installations boast state-of-the-art gyms, racquetball courts, tennis courts, swimming pools and golf courses for no or low fees to anyone with a military ID card. Also, recreation centers often rent equipment for outdoor activities such as camping and fishing - sometimes even camper trailers, canoes and other large items. Check with the recreation center at your closest military installation.
Youth sportsIf you have children who enjoy playing sports such as soccer or basketball or who might enjoy courses in martial arts, check with the installation Youth Sports office. The Youth Sports program offers a variety of affordable instructional and competitive activities that provide kids a quality recreational experience in a safe environment.
This is a broad overview of the many discounts and programs available to military families, but it is just a start. When you arrive at a new duty station, visit your ITT office to ask questions about local programs. Visit your installation website or www.guardfamily.org for updates on new programs and resources. Off-base, find out about military discounts offered by local businesses.
The most important thing is to ask.
Michelle Joyner is Director of Communications for the National Military Family Association (www.nmfa.org). She is married to a Navy Chief and is the daughter of a retired Army officer.
Links To Benefits And Entitlements
BAH rates: https://secureapp2.hqda.pentagon.mil/perdiem Military pay and benefits: www.dod.mil/militarypay Military pay and entitlements: www.dod.mil/dfas DEERS (required for TRICARE eligibility): www.tricare.mil/deers/default.cfm TRICARE fact sheets: www.tricare.mil/factsheets/browseatoz.cfm Defense Commissary Agency: www.commissaries.com Army Air Force Exchange Service: www.aafes.com Navy Exchange: https://www.navy-nex.com
This article was originally posted on Militarymoney.com