Every so often, I stumble across a discussion involving military spouses and discounts. You know, the same tired discussion:
should military spouses have the audacity to accept a military discount?
I’ll sigh and roll my eyes. I have no idea why this has ever become a thing in the first place. It’s a ridiculous debate that seems to come and go in cycles.
Military spouses and their families are not holding up a store at gunpoint, demanding a discount or else. Asking for or accepting a discount is not paramount to saying you were in the military. It has nothing to do with Stolen Valor. It has nothing to do with “disrespecting” the military.
Let’s be real: it has everything to do with stretching a dollar.
For my family, it’s all about helping to make our budget work–which is strained between my underemployment and our student loan debt. For yours, it might help make Christmas or birthdays a little easier or help put a bit more away in the retirement or forever-home fund. Or maybe it’ll just make date night a little more fun. The reason for saving money is yours.
Businesses offer military discounts as a way to give back to the community–the same way they do for other service-oriented professionals like the police or teachers.
The only difference is that military spouses usually hold the buying power in their families. Why? Their spouses are often gone. They have to have the budgeting and buying power in their families out of necessity.
And remember, a military discount is part of their marketing and sales pitch to you, the military-connected consumer. Military families are loyal to companies that are military-friendly. Chances are, you’ll keep coming back.
And for that reason, there’s no shame in asking if a store offers a military discount. There’s nothing morally wrong about it. If the store didn’t want to offer the discount, they wouldn’t. Period.
Bottom line? Don’t feel guilty or conflicted. If you want to use military discounts, cool beans. If not, that’s OK too.
But if you do want to make your shopping budget a little roomier, here are some tips and great discounts and lists that you might not have heard of:
5 Military Discount Tips
1. Say the magic words. Many store policies prevent the sales associate from asking if you qualify for one of their discounts, but they are able to offer it to you if you inquire. Ask even if you haven’t seen any signs–they might not advertise it.
2. Have your ID ready. It’s probably a no-brainer, but if you ask for a military discount, have your ID card at the ready for when they ask for proof.
3. Follow the rules. Some stores offer discounts on a certain day of the week; some note that they’re only for active-duty military. Some may offer the discount on everything; some may only have it apply to full-price items. Know what the stipulations are and follow them. If you don’t know what they are, just ask.
For online discounts, some retailers might require that you verify the military member’s status through a third-party program like ID.me. You might have to create a new profile for the program.
4. Military discounts are offered by all kinds of merchants and services in all different industries. Believe it or not, when I booked our wedding, we were able to take advantage of a 10% discount on the entire venue–that was a massive savings during my husband’s deployment.
Make it a habit to ask if a military discount is available, even if you think there might not be.
5. Thank the sales associate. It doesn’t matter if they offer discounts or not; if you ask, make sure you extend your gratitude. It’s just good manners. After all, discounts are an added bonus, not a given.
Military Discounts You Probably Haven’t Heard of:
- Show your military ID and get a $15 gift card when you sign up for membership at Sam’s Club.
- Forever 21, Banana Republic and Kohl’s offer military discounts when you show your ID.
- Overstock.com offers a free Club O membership for members of the military.
- Foot Locker and Lady Foot Locker offer 20% off your purchase with a military ID.
- Sprint, Verizon and AT&T all offer military discounts.
- Toyota, Ford, GM and Chevy all offer military discounts when you’re buying a new car.
- And if you’re doing home renovations or projects, Home Depot and Lowe’s both offer 10% discounts on purchases with military IDs.
Bookmark This! Military Discount Sites and Lists
- Retail Salute
- Military Discounts from Army Wife 101
- Military Discounts from Military.com
- Veteran & Military Discounts: 90+ Places Where Heroes Get (Almost) What They Deserve
- The Big List of Military Freebies and Deals
- Military Discounts from The Military Wallet
- 48Travel Discounts and Free Services for Military Families
- 10 Airlines That Offer Discounts for Military Families
- Military Discount– Don’t Vacation Without It!
- Military Disney Tips
- Big List of Military Discounts for Theme Parks and Attractions
- Best Military Discounts for Major League Baseball Games
Veterans Day Discounts
- 2015 Veterans Day Day Discounts (continuously updated)