When my husband left for an unaccompanied overseas tour, he left his old car with my family. At the time, he thought he had a couple more years left until he needed to buy a new one. Our ideal plan was to milk whatever years his two-door convertible had left because we wanted to buy a new vehicle for ourselves later.
However, things happened a little bit differently.
During his year away, his car started going downhill (that’s saying it nicely). There were lots of little mechanical issues that added up to a lot of money (i.e. the convertible top wouldn’t seal all the way, the window wouldn’t open and close, among other things). Plus, the engine was acting funky. I took it in to get assessed and found out that it would cost more to fix the car than what it was worth.
That’s when we decided that if we can wiggle it, we should both get new cars. The next step was working out a budget and car choices that fit our needs.
In our research, we found that there are a lot of military discounts and savings out there!
Ultimately, we utilized 2 different programs to purchase our brand-new cars that helped us save thousands. Are you shopping for a new car? Here are the military discounts and savings you need to know about.
Military AutoSource. My dad was the one that brought this military discount program to my attention. It turns out that my own family utilized an overseas car buying program in the ‘90s to buy our tried-and-true Ford Aerostar. Purchasing your car overseas has lots of great benefits if you’re interested in a Ford or Chrysler vehicle.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is typically lower and the dealerships are accommodating to match other stateside deals. These military discounts are only offered to military members overseas, so it’s something to consider when the time lines up for you. We were lucky to have the time work for us to use the military discount!
You don’t have to be overseas to bank on an amazing military discount. There are a lot of different stateside opportunities that you should explore! I’ve split up the 3 main groups that offer unique ways to save.
Car Dealerships. I was actually led to a dealership that offered deductions off my dream car’s MSRP via USAA’s car buying program. Not all dealerships participate, so start your search on USAA’s member platform to figure out which ones are included. Once I found a dealership that was within my needs, I went ahead and worked with them to buy my car.
If you don’t have USAA, dealerships may separately offer deductions for service members. It doesn’t hurt to call around and ask about military discounts. Whether you are looking for a new or used car, dealerships can work with you to get the most out of your budget.
Car Manufacturers. If you’re buying a new car, most car manufacturers offer a military appreciation bonus or military discount. The best way to research a military discount for your dream car is to go directly to their website.
Since a lot of dealerships are single car manufacturer focused, check to see if you could apply a military discount or military appreciation bonus with any other dealership discounts they offer too. Think of it this way, they want to sell you a car and use it to their advantage!
Bank Financing. Lastly, I was able to score a rebate with financing with my car manufacturer. It wasn’t actually a military discount, but it did add onto our military deals. It wasn’t my intent to finance with them, but when I sat down with the advisor, we broke down the numbers and if I planned it right I would be able to save thousands more. They offered a zero percent introductory APR and I would be able to refinance after a year.
That’s ultimately what I did, so I could use the additional discount. I was able to go with my ideal car loan with a lower APR. It would also allow me to pay off my car in a shorter amount of time. Of course, you could utilize military friendly banks to finance from the beginning if there aren’t any particular deals to utilize at the time of purchase.