In the crazy of The Paycheck Chronicles not working right (for which I apologize - I think things are fixed now), I failed to get up my post about the announcement of the 2016 Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) rates. So, you get it now!
There has been a VERY small increase in BAS rates this year. And by VERY small, I mean almost unnoticeable: Rates have increased 1/10th of a percent. This is because BAS is calculated based on the average price of food as measured by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cost of Food at Home Index. While certain individual food items have increased greatly in cost, the overall cost of food, as calculated by the Cost of Food at Home Index, barely increased from October 2014 to September 2015.
The 2016 Basic Allowance for Subsistence rates are:
Enlisted: $368.29 per month, a $.37 increase over the 2015 rate of $367.92 per month.
Officers: $253.63 per month, a $.25 increase over the 2015 rate of 253.38 per month.These higher rates are effective 1 January 2016 and will be reflected in the 15 January 2016 paycheck.
BAS is an allowance paid to every military service member to defray the cost of their meals. It is not designed to pay for the meals of families. Because BAS is paid, military members may be charged for their meals provided by the Department of Defense.
As I did last year, I would like to point out that if you are being charged for meals, because you're attached to a ship or live in the barracks and have a dining facility available to you,you really need to be eating the meals for which you are paying! I often see soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are paying for meals through meal deductions but never eat on the ship or in the dining hall. I completely get that you might not always want to eat what's available, but try not to make a habit of eating elsewhere. This is absolutely, positively the fastest and easiest way to straighten out your budget.
Every year, I am surprised about how many people search for BAS rates, and I ask different questions to learn more about how families use this allowance as a part of their overall budget. Here's this year's question: How do you feel about the fact that there are different allowance rates for enlisted and officer service members?