Military Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves always end up costing more than you think they will. While the Department of Defense (DoD) reimburses many moving expenses or gives benefits and allotments, most military members also experience unexpected out-of-pocket costs.
Veteran spouse and military life expert Joanna Noll, who also runs Military.com's social media, joined us on the PCS With Military.com podcast to discuss military discounts that can help troops and their families save some cash over a move. And since she also co-owns a small business with her Navy veteran husband, John, she was able to give a perspective as someone whose company offers discounts.
Listen now: How to Use Military Discounts with Your PCS (with Joanna Guldin-Noll)
Here are a few of her tips for finding military discounts during a military move.
Know what you're looking for -- and then visit Military.com's discount center. Over her own moves, as well as during a cross-country road trip done in conjunction with their final-out from the Navy, Noll learned military discount research starts with knowing what you need. That might seem like an obvious first step, but if you don't have a plan, you can't find solutions to fit it.
"I would make a list of things that you want that you need, you know that are going to come up and then seek those out specifically," she said.
With a staff dedicated to listing and double-checking military and veteran discounts, Noll said Military.com's military discounts center is the first place she looks for information.
"We have a gigantic repository of military discounts that are constantly being updated. And so I think that that's the No. 1 place to go, especially if you're looking for national or regional discounts," she said. "We have them organized by the brand itself. We also have a lot of articles that have been lovingly created to curate all this information ... and we also have a newsletter that shares once a week some of those best discounts that are very important at that time."
Hit Google. If she can't find what she needs on Military.com, Noll said she turns next to Google, especially if she's looking for information on local brands or businesses.
"I think Google is a great tool for this. Whatever that thing is, that item is or if it's a particular brand of something that you need, I would Google that plus 'military discount,'" she said. "I'll probably Google it especially if it's a local store or a regional store that I wasn't able to find on Military.com."
Just ask -- especially if it's a local small business. Many small, local businesses offer military discounts, but don't advertise them regularly. That means the very best way to learn about discounts at local stores is simply to ask.
"If I can't find anything online, or if I'm just out and about, I would absolutely ask as I'm checking out just to see if they do offer a military discount," she said. "Now is not the time to be bashful. If you're interested in their military discount, then you want to say, 'Hey, do you have something?'"
Noll said as a small business owner, she wants people to ask if she has a discount so she can make sure they use it.
"A lot of times in businesses, if a particular discount isn't being used over a long period of time, they might do away with it," she said. "Just ask and inquire."
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