Being an active service member or a retired veteran comes with lots of benefits, and rightly so! The trick sometimes is knowing how to find them. But no matter what time of year it is or what you might be up to—school, traveling, or even buying a new home—there’s probably some kind of discount out there to honor your service to your country and help you save some dough.
Back-to-school shopping can definitely get expensive, whether it’s for you or your kids. So do what you can to cut down that bill. If you’re serving or have served in the military, here are some tips to keep in mind before you rush to the store to pick up some new school gear:
Google is your friend
Before you shop anywhere this fall, check online resources like Military.com’s discount center or this fantastic article filled with all kinds of military discounts. The world is your oyster online, so do a little research to find military discounts in your area. Getting a veteran ID card can make you eligible for a lot of perks too, and as always don’t forget to take advantage of your VA GI Bill benefits if you or your spouse are going back to school.
Military discounts are everywhere
Really, they are. If you don’t believe me, check out this list of back-to-school discounts straight from Military.com:
- Operation Homefront has a great back-to-school supplies program for kids.
- Michaels, Jo-Ann Fabric, AC Moore, and CVS all have military discounts on classroom supplies.
Clothing and shoes
- There are great military discounts in clothing stores like Banana Republic, Claires, eBags, New York and Company, Old Navy, and The Buckle.
- Payless, Nike, Rack Room Shoes, Stride Rite, and Steve Madden all offer military perks on new shoes too.
- Need new glasses? GlassesUSA.com offers a military discount of 60 percent off all frames.
- If you’re shopping at a local mall, be sure to ask every store if they offer military discounts. Many of them do.
Backpacks and lunch bags
- Pottery Barn Kids has a great selection and a 10 percent in-store military discount too. Score.
Tutoring and test prep
- If anyone in your family needs a little extra help, Tutor.com offers 24×7 online tutoring to military families for free.
- If your older kids are getting ready for college, eKnowledge offers SAT and ACT test prep programs to service members and their families at a great discount.
- Dell and Radio Shack both offer military discounts on new computers and electronics
- My Nerds also offers military discounts on tech support.
Don’t forget these common-sense shopping tips . . .
- Check for tax-free shopping days—Some states have days of the year known as “sales tax holidays” right around the back-to-school season, so find out if your state has any.
- Take advantage of price matching—This goes for any store really, but don’t forget that the Navy Exchange (NEX),the Marine Corps Exchange (MCX), and the Army and Air Force Exchange (AAFES) all offer price matching if you bring proof that a competitor is offering an item for less.
- Hunt at home before you buy—It’s very easy to make a mile-long list of everything you need for school, but before you whip out that credit card, take stock of what school supplies and fall clothes your kids already have. It could save you a lot.
- Stall your shopping—There are all kinds of reasons to wait to do your shopping until after the first day of school. This gives your kids a chance to scope out fall clothing trends and gives you a chance to take advantage of Labor Day sales. You might consider waiting.
Interested in finding more discounts for veterans? Check out this blog post on saving money while you travel.