By Marie Anderson
More than 200 stores and service entities around the country try to make the lives of active, reserve, and retired servicemembers and their families easier by offering discounts.
Many restaurants offer savings to servicemembers, but it generally depends on location and individual restaurant participation. At Applebee's or Texas Roadhouse, for example, you can save 10% on your meal purchase. Sometimes restaurants will offer discounts if you wear your uniform, and you'll generally need to ask for the military discount.
More than 200 stores and services around the country offer military discounts.
At Kohl's, you can save 15% on any purchase. Lowe's and Home Depot both provide 10% off your purchase. Clothing stores like Ann Taylor, Aeropostale, Footlocker, Nike, and Abercrombie & Fitch offer 10% to 20% off full-priced items. Other stores, like Old Navy, Banana Republic, Dress Barn, Michaels, and Walgreens, offer markdowns on specific days of the month.
If you travel with Amtrak, you can receive 10% off most train tickets for yourself and family members. Some rental car agencies, such as Budget Rental Cars and Alamo, offer up to 25% off car rentals. Most airlines offer free baggage checks as well as early boarding times. Check with different airlines to see if they offer discounted airfare, as some, such as American Airlines, have military appreciation fare sales. Some hotels also provide discounts depending on rates based on variable daily limits (allowable per diem), location, and room availability. Various theme parks and other attractions also offer savings on tickets.
Cellphone companies, such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless, offer savings on your monthly bill or discounted prepaid calling cards. Some insurance companies also provide discounted rates depending on their policy plans. Also, many car care centers allow you to save money on parts or services.
where to find the deals
Many websites have compiled lists of discounted services for military members. For example, Military.com provides a list of coupons as well as alerts for current sales at various stores. This site also offers information and advice about financial planning. You must sign up with the site to receive some deals, including department store discounts and rebates on new cars.
Another site you might want to visit is ArmyTimes.com. This website shares military savings including airline sales, restaurant deals, and furniture and electronics discounts.
A third site, Gift Card Granny, provides an alphabetical list of popular stores offering military discounts. This site is set up for users to add information on coupons and deals once they arise, so check the list often in case new sales begin.
a few things to consider...
- Consider a few things when searching for military discounts:
- Not all store locations offer the same discount.
- Discounts often are provided at the manager's or owner's discretion.
- Discounts vary from state to state.
"It seems to depend a lot on the company's view of the military," says Brad M., a captain in the U.S. Air Force. "Different locations of the same company offer different discounts, and areas closer to military bases offer more discounts."
- Know that many stores that give discounts don't necessarily advertise them. It can't hurt to ask, so call ahead if you are unsure whether or not they offer a discount.
- Discounts can vary from day to day.Make sure you have your valid military ID with you when you want to use a discount. Discounts can vary from day to day at certain locations, so always have your ID on hand in case a new deal comes up.
- Shop around for prices before going straight to a store with a discount. An alternate store might have a better sale or offer better prices than what you might pay at another store with a military discount.
Considering how many men and women choose to defend our country under strenuous conditions, it makes sense that so many companies opt to provide discounts to military personnel. You may be surprised to find that a store or service offers a military discount, so just ask.