Military families have a lot to deal with – emotionally, logistically, and financially. What benefits are out there for military families to make life a bit easier for them? Where can they find discounts and deals? We’ve created this helpful financial guide aimed specifically to help military family members learn about the different resources, federal programs, retail discounts, and deals for dependents of U.S. soldiers.
U.S. soldier family members should be able to rely on fellow Americans to provide support and help in one way or another. In this guide we aim to help military families navigate their finances as well as get the support needed in various aspects of their busy lives.
There’s one key thing to keep in mind, one thing that’s hammered into our brains again and again: Everyone serves. Whether you’re military personnel, retired veterans, or have family members who serve or are veterans themselves, it’s important to remember there are plenty of resources and support groups available. However, beyond a simple breakdown of military family benefits, it’s easy to get lost in military resources and give up on your search before finding what you really are after! Here are the main support groups that all dependents should check and use regularly:
The government’s official one-stop resource for military spouses, this site includes materials on deployment, relocation, parenting, and finances. It offers 24/7 confidential support and counseling, access to the free Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Digital Library for adults and children, and a lot of information about what’s out there for military family benefits.
National Military Family Association (NMFA):
The NMFA is one of the longest-running organizations made for family support. They’ve wooed national sponsors for a ton of different helpful programs, from family retreats to caregiver support. It’s simply one of the best military websites out there for information and resources.
The top nonprofit resource for helping to build “strong, stable, and secure military families,” Operation Homefront offers many types of financial help and programs such as Homes on the Homefront, Transitional Homes, and the Holiday Toy Drive.
Offering everything from career coaching to discounted movie tickets, this community offers the opportunity to get support in a variety of ways. Sign up to get a mentor and find the help you need.
This is an official resource for completely free online tutoring and homework help for U.S. military members and their families. The members themselves, children, and some spouses are eligible.
Offering military veterans and family members a new career path, this nonprofit organization offers accelerated learning programs for coding, programming, and software development.
Medical experts at Harvard Medical School and UCLA have been studying the resilience of military families for decades, and now, they offer courses in resilience and coping training.
The wives, husbands, and partners of military members may feel like they’re alone, but that’s far from the truth. Not only are there communities of military spouses ready to network with, but there are more scholarships, business funds, and remote jobs available than ever before! Military spouse benefits and resources include everything from a free library to a military family life counselor to partner associations.
NMFA: Spouse Scholarships and Business Funding:
The National Military Family Association offers financial resources for military spouses such as military spouse scholarships of up to $2,500 and small business funding up to $1,000.
US SBA Spouse-Owned Business Support:
Spouses of the military who are hoping to start a business have accesses to resources and capital via the U.S. Small Business Administration.
FlexJobs for Military Spouses:
This is a job search tool for those looking for remote or freelance jobs, and it has a lot of resources for spouses.
Operation Homefront: Hearts of Valor:
This is an online community of caretakers for injured service members.
My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA):
Backed by the Department of Defense, this scholarship program provides tuition assistance to those pursing a STEM-related associate degree or certification in a portable career field.
Society of Military Spouses in STEM:
Connect with a LinkedIn group and Facebook group and get access to a network of other members. They also post jobs.
Military OneSource: Spouse Education and Career Opportunities:
This is an informational resource that offers career exploration counseling and tips.
This series of local festivals is presented by the USAA and MilitaryOneClick.
A nonprofit for Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard families, this organization offers a mentorship program as well as leadership courses.
Amazon Jobs for Military Spouses and Caregivers:
Amazon is a great place to work, as they specifically value the flexibility of military spouses.
The American Military Partner Association:
This organization represents LGBTQ+ military spouses and families.
Also, check out helpful tips from blogging networks and magazines like MilitarySpouse.com and NextGenMilSpouse.com.
“Military brats” have a mixed bag of privileges and struggles. The drawbacks are pretty obvious, with a family member going missing for long stretches of time, lots of moving, and needing to switch schools frequently. The benefits of being a military child include having access to educational tools, tutoring, and various kinds of financial help. Luckily, there’s support for military families during deployment, especially for military children. Benefits of military family members include some of the following programs:
DoDEA Educational Partnership:
The U.S. Department of Defense has a variety of outreach programs to local education agencies (LEAs) to support the success of military children. One includes a joint grant program with the U.S. Department of Education. See how they can help children transition and learn more here
- View the status of specific states and schools at USA4MilitaryFamilies.
- You can also check on specific schools and find resources with the Military Impacted Schools Association.
The main gateway for children to connect with other military kids, this site features message boards, interactive games, and ways to connect.
A simple but life-changing form of military family support, this program involves separated service members and their families reading aloud together.
This is a nonprofit organization that supports 5-12th grade kids of military members in athletic, fine arts, and tutoring programs.
This federal program partners with the military and Department of Defense to connect people with child-care programs at a reduced fee. The exact program depends on the military branch.
Operation Homefront: Military Child of the Year:
This national award recognizes six outstanding kids ages 13 to 18 for their leadership. They receive $10,000 each and a laptop computer.
Operation Homefront: Back-to-School Brigade:
This is a school supply campaign sponsored in part by Dollar Tree.
Operation Homefront: Holiday Toy Drive:
People give donations of toys and games for children to open during the holidays.
Military OneSource: Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Digital Library:
This digital library offers free books for military spouses and other family members.
Military Child Education Coalition:
This national nonprofit funds webinars, scholarships, the career-readiness program SchoolQuest, and transition resources.
This resource is for service people and their family members; if the child is a K-12 student, it’s one of the only free military dependents benefits.
NMFA’s Operation Purple Camps:
The National Military Family Association offers a free week of camp where attendees can connect with other military kids. They also offer options like “healing adventures” and “buddy camp.”
Dependents over 18 can apply to work for Amazon, which appreciates their flexibility.
Do Parents Get Military Discounts? Are They Considered Dependents?
Military benefits for parents of service members are limited. They cannot be enrolled in Tricare, but if you learn how to make a parent a military dependent, they may have access to some limited Tricare Plus options.
Health care can get expensive, especially if someone is treating a spouse with PTSD or a potential brain injury. Luckily, military family benefits tend to cover those sorts of things, but that doesn’t mean the transient lifestyle can’t lead to unforeseen costs, or even sudden wealth. Getting a hold of good military insurance benefits not only helps in emergencies but also can provide resources in times when things are going well. A number of insurance and financial options are available as well as ways money can be drawn on in times of stress.
- USAA: With numerous forms of banking, insurance, wealth management, and loans for military family members, from auto loans to mortgages to health insurance to credit monitoring, the USAA is the top insurer of military families and veterans.
- Armed Forces Insurance: Providing active military and veteran insurance for family needs from auto to renters’ insurance, AFI has been an important provider sine 1887.
- First Command: A banking solution that offers financial planning, loans, investment management, and insurance for military family members, this institution dates back to the 1950s.
- Tricare: This is the official health insurance of the U.S. military.
- AAFMAA: This banking solution offers mortgages, wealth management, and life insurance.
- Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society: They offer many kinds of services and loans for military family members, from financial counseling to thrift shops to education assistance.
- Army Emergency Relief: For those in the Army, this organization offers interest-free loans and grants as well as financial assistance.
- Veterans of Foreign Wars Grants: The VFW offers emergency financial assistance for veterans.
- Military Star Card: Earn rewards and build credit with a military-focused credit card.
Your individual state may have a military family relief fund for direct financial aid as well!
There’s a huge array of military discounts out there for a huge variety of situations: when things are going well and you’re shopping for a gift for your loved one’s return, or when things are a bit more dire and spouses are scrounging for cheap groceries. We’ve picked out some of the most useful deals for military families that can help transitions go smoother.
Recreation and Vacation
Many attractions like museums, national parks, and even amusement parks give vacation deals to military families. If your loved one is looking for a bit of rest and relaxation, you may be able to find a military lodging facility that could fit your needs, such as the Hale Koa Hotel or the Shades of Green Resort. Check the Information, Tickets, and Travel Office or look for a USO. There are a lot of options!
- Blue Star Museums, Theaters, and Books: Blue Star Families offers complimentary admission to many facilities and free books on bases.
- America the Beautiful Pass: Military members and their dependents can get a free annual pass to all national parks!
- The Commissary: This is a grocery store network specifically for military families. Note that they also have a rewards program.
- U.S. Army Morale, Welfare, and Recreation: Army members can find deals on outdoor recreation, sports, entertainment, and vacations.
- Information, Tickets, and Travel (ITT): Troops can get discounts on leisure travel and vacation packages by looking up military lodging.
- Camaraderie Foundation: Family Fun Days: This organization for returning soldiers offers free family fun days in Orlando, Florida.
- Find a USO: International locations for safe travel, free entertainment, and programs for staying connected can be found through this massive network.
- USAA Travel Deals: If you have USAA as an insurer, you can get access to numerous deals through the company.
- Armed Forces Vacation Club: Eligible members of the U.S. military can get cheap week-long stays and travel deals.
- Military Cruise Deals: This is a site for finding discounted cruises for military families.
- Gameday for Heroes: This is a nonprofit that provides tickets to college sporting events to active military and veterans.
- Chuck E. Cheese’s Military Discount: Military families get a special discount on pizza and games.
- Beaches Resorts: Get 10% off on a vacation getaway with a military discount.
- Disneyland Specially Priced Theme Park Tickets: Military members and their families can get a deal on their Disney tickets! Those on the East Coast can enjoy a discount at Walt Disney World.
- Royal Caribbean Lowered Rates: Planning on going on a cruise? Most cruise companies give military discounts!
- YMCA Membership: Family members are welcome to a special discounted membership at the Y.
Hotel and Flight Discounts
Note that besides buying military family discount flights, you can also travel via train or bus: Amtrak offers 10% off on tickets, or you can get up to 30% off on Greyhound tickets or 15% off on Peter Pan bus tickets.
- United’s Military 5% Discount: For both military members and their families, United has offered a small deal on flights.
- Expedia.com Gold Status: Get a deal on bookings with Expedia.
- Motel 6 10% Discount: Military personnel and their families get lower rates at more than 1,400 Motel 6 locations.
- Super 8 15% Discount: Save a bit more at this massive hotel chain.
- Hilton Honors 10% Military Family Rate: Since it has such a wide network of hotels, the Hilton military family discount can come in quite handy.
- Allegiant Honors Deal: You can qualify for three free checked bags, one free oversized checked bag, a free carry-on, and a free pet in the cabin, among other perks.
- American Airlines Cargo: Military members can ship their pets for 50% off.
- Space-Available Flights: Military members who need to fly may be able to travel for free on a space-available flight.
- American Legion Travel Center: The American Legion offers hotel deals for those who are a member.
- MilitaryFares.com: This site offers airline discounts for military families.
- MilitaryTravel.com: Find military family flight discounts, deals on hotels, rental car discounts, and other travel deals.
- MilitaryToGo.com: This is another site that offers military discount flights for family.
Other Military Family Discounts and Deals
Below you’ll find a few military programs that once enrolled you’ll have access to exclusive deals and discounts for a variety of online retailers and services:
- GOVX: Servicemen and -women themselves can get deals for everything from gear to baseball tickets to hotels to discount airline tickets for military families.
- ID.me: Put in a military ID and you can get discounts with a variety of brands. It’s sort of like a military discount Groupon!
- Veterans Advantage: Easily find military discounts and savings with this network.
- Military Bridge: This similar resource focuses on discounts at small or local businesses.
Most military deals at stores and restaurants pertain only to the service members themselves, but there are still many more deals out there that extend to military family and dependents. Discounts are everywhere, but here’s a brief overview of what’s available. (Keep in mind that each one of these military family deals has special rules and regulations.)
- 47% Discount at Bates Footwear
- 10% Discount at Carhartt
- 10% Discount at Champion
- 10% Discount at Hanes
- 10% Discount at Jockey
- 10% Discount at Merrell
- 10% Discount at Orvis
- 10% Discount at Payless Shoes
- 10% Discount at the NASCAR Shop
- 15% Discount at the NBA Store
- 10% Discount at the NFL Shop
- 15% Discount at Roxy
- 10% Discount at Tactical Gear
- 10% Discount at Wilson’s Leather (for spouse)
- Also, check out Operation Deploy Your Dress and Operation That’s My Dress, both nonprofits for swapping gently used formal attire.
- Apple Military/Government Purchase Program
- 15% Discount on PCs and Electronics at Dell
- 10% Discount on Lenovo
- If you need help, check Computers 4 Heroes and the Tech for Troops Project (T4TP), programs for military members and their families.
- Costco New Membership Military Offer ($60 Deal)
- Free Membership at Thrive Market ($59.95 Deal)
- $10 eGift Card at Sam’s Club
- 15% Discount on Enfamil
- 10% Discount at Pure Formulas
- Remember that organizations like your local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the Red Cross may be able to provide grants in times of financial stress.
Cars and Home
- 10% Discount at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores
- 15% Discount at Michaels
- 15% Discount at Williams-Sonoma
- 10% Discount at Yankee Candle
- 20% Discount at Portrait Innovations
- 10% Discount at Man Crates
- 10% Discount at Fathead
- 35% Discount at Coleman on Orders Over $49
- Discounted Boat Models at Lund Boats
- 10% Discount at Profox Racing
- 10% Discount on Eight Sleep Mattresses
- 10% Discount at Helzberg Diamonds
- Remember that the Holiday Toy Drive is an option for making the season brighter.
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