New Duty Station? Should You Live On Or Off Post/Base?…Now That Is The Question!
Ok, before you even think about either living on post/base or off, always remember never ever, ever set your rent at your full BAH. If you see a house off post/base you want to rent and your BAH is $1,500 make sure the rent is around $1,000 a month. Here is why, you will need the extra $500 for electricity, gas, water, trash (if not included), and those can add up to $500 (if not more) in the colder months. When you live on post/base housing will take your entire BAH, but most times (not always) your gas, electricity, water, and trash are included.
When we were stationed at Fort Bragg, we lived on post in a three bedroom duplex and they took our entire BAH. I remember we had an alliance for gas and electric and if we went over we had to pay. It was not a lot, it was always under $100 but I can remember we did have to pay every month. My husband is E-6 in the Army so our BAH is not a lot, when we were at Bragg we made the decision to live on post to save money and be close to his work. Plus we had the Commissary right around the corner…SCORE!
Every family is different and every situation is different so you will need to figure out what is best for your family. If you need to know what your new duty station BAH will be I suggest visiting http://bit.ly/1fFAuqZ. Enter in you or your spouses/partners rank and zip code for your new duty station.
Here is an example:
This is a FREE BAH Calculator available to anyone. Choose the current year, enter in the zip code of your new duty stations, and you or your spouses/partners rank. Click Calculate.
The next screen will give you the amount of BAH for a military member at the rank you elected with dependents and without. This will give you an amount to work with if you choose to live off post/base.
What you need to remember is never go over what you can afford. I would hate to see anyone be stuck in a bad situation they could not get out of. Always ask questions, lots and lots of questions and don’t be scared to ask other military spouses, we are all here to assist in any way we can.