When you look at joining the Army, it’s a good idea to keep in mind the total picture. The amount you make in money is one consideration. But so is the amount that you will bring in via allowances. Allowances are the amount that you receive in other benefits that help defray or offset the cost of living.
For example, soldiers who live on base in the Army receive all meals and housing for free. If there is a need or opportunity for you to live off base, and the Army agrees, then you will receive money to pay for meals and housing, this is one type of an Army Allowance. There are also other types of allowances, for travel, clothing, and other items. The total list of allowances includes: Cost of living allowance, family separation allowance, clothing allowance, housing allowance, food allowance, travel allowance, and relocation and moving allowance. We will look at some of the more common allowances:
Housing Allowance. This allowance is called the Basic allowance for Housing. It is an amount designed to offset the housing cost for Soldiers and families that live off base. It is based on rank, family status, and location. As a rule, the BAH allowance tends to be the second largest type of compensation for most soldiers. Clothing Allowance. Every soldier in the United States Army, as well as its sister services, receive an amount of money on an annual basis to help pay for uniform and clothing needs. Most of the time this allowance is for military uniforms, but sometimes will pay for civilian clothing in some situations. For jobs and duty that require civilian clothing the Army will pay for a civilian clothing allowance.
Cost of Living. This is an allowance paid to help with the cost of living, and is found in areas especially where the cost of living is high. Sometimes this is overseas, and sometimes this is in locations in the United States where the cost of living is higher. Soldiers receive this allowance to help pay for higher clothing, food, transportation, housing, and other costs, and it is intended to help partly make up for living in a higher cost of living area. Food Allowance. This allowance is referred to as BAS, or Basic allowance for Subsistence. It pays for food for Officers and Enlisted Soldiers who have authorization and permission to eat off base. Soldiers that receive the BAS allowance often receive more than two hundred dollars a month to help pay for their food costs.