Banking and Debt
- Lower your interest rates. While on active duty, the law requires lenders to cap interest rates on your outstanding loans at 6%, among other things. But you must notify your lenders of your military status.
- Consider setting up automatic bill pay at your bank or credit union so you can pay your bills and manage accounts remotely. Consider setting up overdraft protection if you and your spouse will be writing checks from different locations.
- When it comes to home buying, there are special considerations that go along with wearing our nation’s uniform. One of the biggest questions is whether buying a home makes sense when you might have to move post in a few years. Checking a “Rent vs. Buy calculator” at sites like BankRate.com or any other popular home pricing website can help. The answer can vary widely by region around the country!
- If you want to buy, consider the VA loan program. You don’t need to be a veteran; you can qualify as active duty military. VA loans have several features designed with military men and women in mind. They require zero down payment, no mortgage insurance, and no minimum credit score requirement (though the bad news is that you’ll likely pay higher interest if you have a credit score lower than 620).
- T-Mobile offers military families savings of several hundred dollars a year on their wireless bill. The T-Mobile Go5G Military pricing plans reward the sacrifices of our brave men and women in uniform and their families with unlimited text and data, roaming, a free basic Netflix subscription, offers of free stuff every week during T-Mobile Tuesdays, and more.
- Verizon offers military, Veterans, and their family up to $25 off per month on myPlan. This discount is valid on 2 to 3 personal lines only.
- Use free tax services such as the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, which offers free tax help at military bases. Also, the IRS provides help preparing returns.
- Find out if you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which excludes non-taxable income such as combat pay when filing.
- Review your life insurance policy. Ensure it doesn’t contain a “war clause,” meaning you would not be covered if you died in war or combat. Most active duty members receive $500,000 coverage from the Service Members’ Group Life Insurance Program. If you don’t already know about it, find out more at Insurance.VA.gov.
- You may want to put your vehicle in storage while you’re gone. If you do, call your auto insurer and ask about becoming a “non-operator,” which could lower your payments.
- Veterans in suicidal crisis can go to any VA or non-VA healthcare facility for free emergency healthcare.
Wills and Estate Planning
- Assign a power of attorney in your absence. When you return, you can revoke the power of attorney, but it allows a relative or friend to handle financial decisions while you’re gone.
- Meanwhile, make sure you have a valid will. You can create a perfectly legal will online for free in about five minutes.
- Finally, you can find free estate planning and money management information at USAAEDFoundation.org.
- The Service Members’ Civil Relief Act protects all active military families from foreclosures, evictions, and other financial consequences of military service. The act also covers lapses in health and additional insurance, default judgments in court cases, and limits on the amount of interest service men and women must pay.
- Military personnel can put a “military fraud alert” on their credit reports. Service people must request them, and the alerts ensure that credit reporting companies take additional steps to verify a person’s identity when applying for credit. The idea is to protect deployed persons from becoming victims of identity theft. The FTC has compiled a helpful guide that details the process of putting an active-duty alert on your credit records.
- Active-duty personnel can see their real FICO score for free online by visiting SaveandInvest.org/Military.
- Small business help is available for you. The Veterans Pledge Initiative can help obtain loans to start or expand your business. Free veteran entrepreneurship training is also available.
- Military members have unique ways to save on Disney vacations. ShadesofGreen.org is a unique program offered for military personnel and families in partnership with Disney. Discounted lodging at parks starts at $163 a night. Armed Forces Vacation Club is a similar service.
- With the Waves of Honor program, military veterans, retirees, and up to three dependents can get free or discounted admission to:
- Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
- Busch Gardens Williamsburg
- SeaWorld Orlando
- SeaWorld San Antonio
- SeaWorld San Diego
- Sesame Place Philadelphia
- Sesame Place San Diego
- Aquatica San Antonio
- Aquatica Orlando
- Discovery Cove Orlando
Free Financial Advice
- The certified military counselors at Money Management International (MMI) can help you create a family budget, start a debt management plan, become a homeowner, avoid foreclosure or get your finances in order. This service is free and confidential.
Donations and Gifts
- MilitaryOneSource.mil – DOD online and phone help 24 hours a day, seven days a week — stateside and overseas. Call 1-800-342-9647 in the States or 1-800-3429-6477 overseas.
- Clarkdeals.com– Discover special deals and discounts exclusively available for military members and Veterans.
- 25+ Places That Offer Discounts to U.S. Veterans.
How To Save Money In The Military Conclusion:
To save money in the military or as a veteran, the key is to remain vigilant and active, seeking good deals. There are many great resources like credit unions or watching for good deals on military websites that serve the community, like USMilitary.com and NavySeal.com. As more civilian companies add military benefits or discounts, searching and asking about such deals is more important. Good luck, thank you for your service and happy shopping!