Decision Making: Living On or Off Base

By Briana Hartzell, Community Manager, USAA

This post  was originally published on the USAA Member Community blog. Find it at usaa.com 

Moving comes with many decisions, but one of the most important will be deciding whether you would like to live on or off post. Housing options are different depending on where your next assignment brings you, but there are a few things you should consider while making your decision.

Your Financial Goals

Can you afford to live off post? Are there housing options that can be covered by your housing allowance? Do not forget to factor in utility bills when making your decision to live off post.

Community

Living on post allows you to be in a welcoming and understanding military community. You can always count on a neighbor to know exactly what you are going through. You also have the advantage of being close to all of the family readiness activities and on-base amenities, like the gym, the exchange and the commissary. You should also consider the additional safety factor on-base housing affords you. It is nice to live in a community that is protected.

On the other hand, if you wish to live a more private life and feel the need to have a little distance from the military community, maybe renting or buying a home in town is for you. This will allow you to make some non-military friends and neighbors.

Issue Resolution

On post living will undoubtedly make it easier to solve housing issues. The management companies hired to maintain on-post housing are professional and well organized (well, they should be). However, I cannot guarantee that the property manager in your town will be as professional or responsive to your needs. While orders will allow you to break your lease without penalty, sometimes the non-military homeowners are not as flexible and understanding as you would hope.

I have not had the opportunity to live on base. So far the places we have been assigned to either do not offer on-base housing, or they have been full. When we moved to Lemoore, there was a six month waiting list for housing, so we made a decision to live in town. There are days where I wish we lived on base. Many of our friends live on base and it would be so nice to just walk over to their homes for a visit, or only be a short drive from the gym and commissary. However, there are other days I know my husband is thankful for the drive home from base to decompress and have a chance to leave work at work.  

I would love to hear from those of you who have lived on and off and the advantages and disadvantages of both.

What will you choose on your next PCS?

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Guest Blogger | March 14, 2014

    Shop around for auto and homeowners' insurance: Before renewing your existing policies, check out the rates of competing companies whose annual premiums could be several hundred dollars lower. 

Saver Stories View all »

Making Saving Automatic Leads to Personal Success

Written by Lila Quintiliani | May 27, 2020

Ryan’s savings journey started when he was an active duty airman. Frequent deployments and temporary duty assignments gave him the opportunity to save. By the time he transitioned out of active duty, he had built up a healthy rainy-day fund and had started to aggressively save for retirement.

Read more...

From Shopaholic to Saver

Written by Jackie Toops | January 13, 2021

Many of us spend too much money on things we don’t need, but we don’t always know why. It’s easy to get a quick fix from retail therapy, but before we know it, our hard-earned money is gone. Oftentimes, when we engage in a “shopaholic” lifestyle or sporadic shopping sprees, we still experience feelings of emptiness, but to make it worse, we now have debt, too.

Khanmany was a shopaholic who turned everything around. She is active duty Navy and shares, “I was spending too much on things I didn't need. I was going shopping for no reason and was trying to fill a void. I was running up every credit card I owned to include Victoria's Secret, Military Star, Navy Federal, TJ Maxx, JCPenney, Macy's, USAA, and was only paying the minimum payments.”

Read more...

Involving Kids in Family Finances

Written by | April 19, 2019

 

One of the best lessons we can share with our kids is about money. By middle school, kids should have a good understanding of how money works as well as the importance of saving.

Read more...