June 16th, 2010

The #1 reason why I like being military

The discounts!

Okay, maybe not the #1 reason, I do like being patriotic and serving our country, but the #1 practical reason is the discounts!

Over the years, Micah and I have had a number of opportunities to use our military discount. From Village Inn (the restaurant) that gives free drinks to military with the purchase of an entree, to just about any hotel that gives a reduced rate for military.

By far, the best military discount that we've had so far was during our honeymoon at Pigeon Forge/Gaitlinburg, TN. If anyone has ever been there, you should remember the collection of attractions in Gaitlinburg that are owned by the "Ripley's Believe it or Not."

There is:

The Odditorium Museum

The Haunted Adventure

(Which scared the PANTS off of us!)

The 3D Moving Theater (very UNDERwhelming)

Two FABULOUS Mini Golf Courses: Old MacDonald & Davey Crocket

And, the Aquarium of the Smokies (which rivals the TN Aquarium in Chattanooga)

(they've added two more attractions since then, btw)

If we had bought all the tickets separately, then it would have been $91.94, the combo package being $63.94. Then multiply that by 2, a ticket for each of us, $127.88. That is a chunk of change to us poor newlyweds. And if we wanted to go every day for a week, then it would cost x7 that = $895.16. WHEW! That's our car payment for several months.

Micah and I stood in front of the ticket office, trying to decide which three places we wanted to go. We decided on the Aquarium, the Museum, and the 3D Moving Theater (bad choice on that last one. It was soo boring and made my bum hurt from all the jostling around). We went to go pay and Micah's credit card wouldn't work, so we went across the street to get cash from the ATM. As we were walking back I had the thought, "Hey, maybe we should see if they have a military discount?" We figured that it couldn't hurt so when we went back up to the lady, we asked about the discount first. She got SUCH a smile on her face, as though she was about to give us the greatest gift in the world. Haha, at the time, it seemed like it to these honeymooners.

"Why yes, we do have a military discount. In fact, we have a REALLY good military discount."

Turns out that the military discount would give us tickets to ALL SIX attractions, UNLIMITED VISITS, for SEVEN DAYS!!! Whew--- and if that wasn't good enough, the price tag just about made me weep for joy. All that for the low, low price of... $20. Yes, you saw that number right. Yes, there is only one zero there. Twenty dollars. When all was said and done, we got nearly a $1,000 worth of tickets for $20 each. That was... awesome~!

So the first day Micah and I went to the museum, the haunted house, and the 3D theater. The second day, we went to the Aquarium and one of the mini golf courses. And the third day, our last day, we went to the second mini golf course and then spent the rest of the day in the hot tub.

To the day, that still remains the best military discount that we ever received. Yet, it's definitely not the only discount. Due to being military, we also were able to get car insurance through USAA, a military-only insurance company, which saves us $20-$40 each month on top of the savings that we were already receiving from Geico, though I do miss that gecko.

Now, the awesome part of being military is being able to SHOP at places like the commissary and BX, as well as the scratch & dent store. If you remember, we got our fabulous crib at the scratch & dent, brand new in-the-box, for $30. And my friend Heather found our carseat, new and in-the-box, for $7. Yes, SEVEN DOLLARS.

And then there's the commissary. Wow. Such savings. It's amazing to see the difference in prices. Our favorite, Bryer's ice cream, if purchased from Fred Meyer's would cost $5.99 a carton.

It's $2.50 at the commissary.

Pillsbury Toaster Strudel, one of my favorite grab-and-go breakfasts, is $3.99 at Fred Meyer.

It's $1.50 at the commissary.

That is just one of many example where the commissary at times even beats out Costco, and that's saying something! There are still things that we get at Costco, like bulk fruits and veggies, breads and tortillas, and of course, cheese.

But everything else, there's only one place I'll go.

In fact, the other day I had to run to the store for something and couldn't go all the way to the commissary. It just about killed me to have to buy it, knowing the price I had seen at the commissary. But oh well. Do what ya gotta do, right?

I know most people hate to go grocery shopping, but for me, it's so much fun! I think my favorite part is when I get home and unload the groceries. Micah sit patiently on a stool in the kitchen as I pull out treasure after treasure, sharing my victory in the grocery store aisle.

Yes, I'm strange. Yes, I know it. But hey, I got an extra-large pizza for $6.00! I can live with being strange.