Asking For A Military Discount

As we all know, and as the comments here at The Paycheck Chronicles will attest, there are many businesses that offer military discounts and/or veterans discounts of some variety.  Sometimes, the hardest part is remembering to ask.

I’m having a banner day in the military discount department.  I almost never remember to ask, but today I remembered to ask THREE times.  All three places did offer military discounts to active duty dependents, though at one they were already offering a percentage off deal that was more than the military discount and they couldn’t be combined.

That’s not to say that I always get “yes” replies on the rare occasion where I remember to ask.  Tons of places don’t offer discounts, and some limit it to the active duty member only.  And, as discussed ad nauseam here, some places offer only to active duty and not to retirees, or to active duty and retirees but not other veterans, or any other combination as fit the desires of their company

I haven’t written about military discounts here in a long time, because the drama and complaints really upset me.  I honestly have never seen as much childish and selfish behavior as has occurred here in discussions about the Home Depot and Lowes discount policies.  I just had to take a little break from the subject.

If you think you might be eligible for any sort of military or veterans discount, it never hurts to ask.  I don’t know if there is a great way to remind yourself to ask – maybe a post-it note on your credit or debit card?  However, please, PLEASE, if you ask and get a no, or find that you don’t meet that particular requirements for that store, please be polite.  Don’t argue or complain.  Companies are under no obligation to provide any discounts to military members, and bad behavior often ends in the end of the discount or program.  At the very least, acting like a jerk makes you look bad, and it reflects poorly on the rest of the military population.  And nobody wants that.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Guest contributor

    Yes, by ALL means – ASK ! – Remember, “the military discount”, about 10%, comes out of the retailers profit margin so they don’t usually freely advertise it. Usually, if a retailer doesn’t offer this perk, their clerks have been requested to say, “Thank you for your service”.

  • Guset contributor

    Never feel “awkward” about asking for military discounts – remember you gave up some of the rights that you had before you went into the military (granted one understands that when they enter the military), so look at the military discount as a compensation for loss of those rights.

  • 4M

    I always feel awkward asking for military discounts.

    Why? Cause I can afford the things I’m buying with or without the discount. And if I’m shopping for consumer goods outside thrift stores I’m buying nicer things and it that case it almost seems wrong to even ask for a military discount (like buying an $18 set of grill tongs at Sur-la-table and asking for their military discount, $18 tongs are a luxury item, there are dollar store tongs that do the same thing).

    But on the flip side these stores choose to honor my service with a discount, and I shouldn’t snub it.

    I guess that’s part of the reason I stick to thrift shops, it’s just easier when everyone gets the same low prices.

    BTW: if I may plug a reverse military discount of sorts, if you’re an Amazon junkie you can give a portion of the profits of your purchases to any number of organizations by utilizing Amazon smile, I go with the Air Force Aid Society Inc, but you can support your services version of that as well.

  • greynolds

    Excellent Katie. Exactly my sentiments. It was more of a privilege to serve than to receive the 1 dollar discount for mulch at Home Depot. But the
    discount on the $1,000 refrigerator did get my attention.
    Keep up the good work!
    0-5 USN Ret

  • John McGowan

    I always ask for a military discount. Guess it id the fact I save money. In some places 10% adds up. Kitchen refrigerators dish washers, etc. can add up to hundreds of dollars. I am retired so I watch my money.