Working for the government, especially for the military, can come with a lot of sacrifices. Time spent away from family, being deployed and missing holidays are all common things that service members deal with when they enlist.
Fortunately, some private businesses give back to the armed forces in the form of special discounts and coupons. We’ve rounded up our favorites, which can help you save hundreds.
Admission to Disney theme parks comes at a steep discount for current or retired service members. Currently, military personnel can buy a five-day ticket to Disney World for $246. This fee includes admission to all four parks: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. A regular adult ticket with entrance to all four parks for five days would cost $470.
Disney also provides a discount for military members at park hotels, though some dates may not be available. Rates for those hotels vary based on the time of the year, so call ahead before you book your vacation.
Most major airlines offer special rates for military personnel for both official and regular travel, although discounts vary based on the airline. Some provide free checked bags while others will reduce the cost of a ticket.
Delta passengers flying for military-ordered reasons get five free checked bags up to 100 pounds each, while service members flying for personal reasons can get two free 50-pound checked bags each. United gives a 5% off coupon for flights, though they have restrictions on when you can redeem those tickets.
Military members will almost always need to call to get the cheaper airfare, and many airlines have dedicated phone numbers just for military flights.
While many government programs offer mortgages with low down payments, only military members are eligible for the coveted Veterans Administration, or VA, loan.
A VA loan doesn’t require a down payment, and unlike other loans, borrowers won’t have to pay private mortgage insurance when they take out a 0% down payment VA loan.
The VA also limits how much you can be charged for closing costs, and interest rates on VA loans are comparable to conventional mortgages. You can take out a VA loan as many times as you want, which is helpful for active military members who move around frequently.
Apparel and Merchandise
Many popular retailers provide discounts for military members, anywhere from 10-20% off. You’ll need to show your military ID at the time of purchase to get the discount. Many stores also allow discounts for online purchases, although each has their own policy.
Stores with military discounts include the following:
- Eddie Bauer
- Under Armour
- L. Bean
- Columbia Sportswear
Savings aren’t limited to just clothes and accessories. Technology and cell phone companies also provide discounts. T-Mobile gives 50% off its unlimited plan, and Apple has special deals for military and government personnel.
According to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, military members who are on active duty can only be charged 6% interest on loans taken out before they joined the military. The law applies to all forms of debt including auto loans, student loans, credit cards and mortgages. However, this won’t happen automatically. You’ll need to inform a lender of your active duty status.
People who are deployed are also somewhat protected from foreclosure and eviction unless the lender or landlord in question has a court order.
Many businesses offer a military discount, even if it’s not explicitly labeled. Your best bet is to call and ask if they provide one and how to take advantage of it.
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