The internet is full of amazing things, but how do you find them all? I love seeing what tools other people use to make their life easier and save money, so I’m sharing the things I use here.
Some of these are affiliate links, so I may receive a small compensation for any purchases you make through these links. But please be assured, I only recommend products I love and would buy for my mom. If she needed it. She doesn’t like clutter. It doesn’t cost you anything to use these programs, and it helps me pay the bills for this website.
Active Duty Pay Chart
Unless the DoD does something wacky, you should be able to access current and historical pay charts at this link. https://militarypay.defense.gov/Pay/Basic-Pay/Active-Duty-Pay/
Okay, okay. I don’t LOVE Amazon. I have a rather love-hate relationship with it. But with my schedule, online shopping is my deal. And Amazon often has the best selection, or the best price, or the fastest delivery. And with Amazon Prime, I’m not trying to scrounge together hairbands and furnace filters to make a minimum order for free delivery.
American Express cards waive the annual fees for military members, so you can get their amazing travel benefits without paying the premium fees. And those benefits genuinely are amazing. Depending on which card you get, it might include free shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue, Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check, airport lounge access, and an ongoing list of discounts and freebies. I’ve saved about $500 this year just by having a free-to-me American Express card.
Basic Allowance for Housing Rates
Current Basic Allowance for Housing rates can be looked up here: http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bah.cfm
This document does a great job of explaining how BAH rates are calculated. https://media.defense.gov/2022/Jun/23/2003023204/-1/-1/0/BAH-PRIMER.PDF
CONUS Cost of Living Allowance
Rakuten (in a previous life, Ebates)
I started using Ebates way back in the stone ages of internet shopping, and I’ve earned several THOUSAND dollars in rebates since then, just doing my regular shopping. I’ve gradually gotten used to their new name, Rakuten. I’ve installed the Rakuten Extension for Chrome so that it pops up and reminds me when I’m at a participating website.
And Rakuten always has bonus promotions for new members, so you can make some money just for trying it. Pretty nice.
Regular Military Compensation Calculator
This calculator helps you to know the “real” value of your military pay and benefits. https://militarypay.defense.gov/Calculators/RMC-Calculator/
Secondary Dependency Information
Special and Incentive Pays
Tax-Free Combat Zones
Explanation about how Combat Zone Tax Exempt (CZTE) works: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/military/tax-exclusion-for-combat-service
List of current and historical CZTE locations: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/military/combat-zones
TRICARE Costs and Fees