Military shopping has changed a lot over the years. The military’s version of a Walmart is the exchange and AAFES. When I first joined the Navy and went into the exchange, mainly what was there was some off-brand civilian clothes and uniform items. But now there is way more. The exchange and AAFES are now more like a shopping mall with everything from 60 inch televisions and queen-sized beds to Nike shoes and much more. The best benefit of all is that it is all tax-free for all military personnel and their dependents. The addition on-base of other shopping outlets continues to grow as well.
Military Shopping Benefits Increasing Day by Day
When it comes to military benefits, I am not talking about retirement, bonuses, or even any type of financial gain. What I am talking about are the benefits that military personnel have on-base and even online.
When I first entered the military in 1988, there was a Navy exchange on base, and that was it. If you go to a large military base nowadays, you will find everything from McDonald’s, Texas Roadhouse, the exchange/AAFES, and even more. The military has taken steps to keep service members and their families from ever having to leave the base for their shopping needs. When you add in the commissary, it makes it far more convenient for service members and their families to stay safe right on base and save money.
The military continues to add base opportunities. I was at Ft. Bliss, Texas in 2015. While I was there, they were adding a, on-base Verizon store. There was also talk of adding a tire and wheels shop. We all know that military members spend lots of money on their automobiles, especially their wheels. What the military does not have on-base you can usually find online through many different military shopping websites. The major one is shopmyexchange.com. They have over 250,000 items a military member can purchase. You must have a user ID and password to shop there. The military continues to accommodate members and their families on-base and online.
Military Shopping Outlets
While I was in Ft Bliss in 2015, I never left base. Why should I, or any military member? Everything is right there on base for you. There are many different outlet stores that continue to be added to bases around the country. While at Ft. Bliss, I visited a mall that was just as big as any shopping mall I had ever been to. There was the Under Armour store, a 5.11 tactical store, a Nike shoe store, and a special uniform store that sells everything from uniforms, shoes, and boots, to uniform accessories. You can purchase your entire PT uniform as well as your entire daily and dress uniform there. This is all non-tax, just like the exchange and AAFES.
Eating and Entertainment
If there is one thing that military personnel can do, it’s eat, and they will spend their money to do so. Some spend too much on fast food rather than eating for free at the DFAC. But the military has seen to it that they can stay right on base and eat. The Ft. Bliss base has a Texas Roadhouse, McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell and more. The hours there are the same as any out in town, as are the prices.
I was actually shocked while at Ft. Bliss by the amount of opportunities and accommodations that military members and families have right there on base. There was a large movie theatre that opened at 1000 and did not close until 2300. They played all the new up-to-date movies, the same as any outside theatre. The prices were also the same as they were at off-base theaters.
It is great that the military continues to add facilities for its members on-base. This keeps them and their families safe and eliminates the need to go anywhere else. The amount of shopping and entertainment opportunities continue to increase, and allow military members to save even more money. The addition of everything from shopping, CrossFit gyms, bowling alleys, and more allow military members to have more to do on-base rather than out in town, where they might spend their money at a bar and put themselves in danger of getting a DUI or causing other trouble.