It’s amazing how much impact one little ID card can have. With that ID card, you are recognized as affiliated with the Department of Defense, be it a service member or a dependent. I must admit, with the constant stressors of military life, I forget to remember that there are awesome perks as well.

Here are the Unexpected (and Still Awesome) Perks of Military Life.

PX/Commissary Savings
Here’s a Black Friday secret, civilian stores usually have better deals on Black Friday than your local exchange. HOWEVER, your exchange SHOULD price match, add “No Tax” on that and you’ve got yourself quite the savings. As for the commissary, they don’t offer or accept as many coupons as your typical civilian grocery stores. HOWEVER, they do offer case lot sales every so often which is a great time to buy in bulk and save.

On Base Events
That ID card in your wallet isn’t just there for show. With it, you can come aboard a military installation and can be allowed access to some pretty cool programs. The majority of it comes from your MWR. From discounted tickets to local attractions, bowling centers, arts & crafts, to outdoor recreation and equipment rental, there’s something for every member of the family. If your installation is large, there can also be some primo FREE concert opportunities as well.

The Time Off
I’m sure you’re thinking, “Wait, what?… what time off? They work all of the time.” It may seem that service members get very little time off. Perhaps they do, but they also accrue a lot of leave time. When compared to the civilian sector, the military wins in terms of total time off. Think about it, they get about 30 days of PAID leave annually. That’s 6 weeks compared to the civilian average of 2-3 weeks. These 30 days do not include federal holidays (hopefully the service member is lucky enough NOT to work during the holidays). At some commands, mission permitting, service members will also get a “72” or “96” otherwise known as a 3 or 4 day weekend in conjunction with a holiday.

The Confidence Builder
This is more for the service member. That uniform carries a lot of weight especially when you go to a town that doesn’t have a lot of military. Okay, I’m totally going incriminate my husband here, but he has been pulled over for speeding tickets in his hometown (which has virtually no military culture), showed his CAC card, and all he received was a “Thank You For Your Service”. Every small thank you he gets from strangers gives him that extra reassurance that his job has an impact on people. Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day, Military Appreciation Month, these holidays help to celebrate and recognize the selflessness of our military and definitely builds up confidence for our service member.

Military Discounts
Along with the aforementioned holidays, some national and local businesses also offer military discounts and perks. Restaurants can offer a free meal, movie theaters can offer a free ticket, or you can buy items discounted making your purchase a little easier on the bank account. Take for example, Chevrolet and their military discount program. They offer an awesome military discount on their vehicles during the month of May. Now through May 31, nobody offers a more comprehensive discount – available to active duty, retirees, and all veterans.* With the discount, we were able to afford our Chevy Colorado and our Chevy Cruze. Chevy is and has always been a proud supporter of the military, and our military family is thankful that they’ve been so generous with their programs.

When a business offers a military discount off my purchase at the register that I didn't know about, I feel like I found money in a pocket that I didn't know about.

Tell me, what are some of your favorite perks of military life?


* Eligible military personnel includes Active Duty members, Reservists, National Guard members, Veterans and Retirees — including their spouses — of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Excludes 2016 Malibu, Equinox and Traverse L models, Colorado 2SA, Impala Limited and Spark EV; 2016 Cruze, Cruze Limited L Manual and Corvette Z06. Take delivery by 5/31/16. See participating dealer for details.

The Unexpected (and Still Awesome) Perks of Military Life

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alexia Riveracorrea/Released