I am excited that CORT is sponsoring this article, because I absolutely love the opportunities they provide to our military members to save money. Did I mention yet I am frugal and have an expensive empire-building habit?
As of November 1, 2015, the military has implemented a new flat rate per diem for long-term TDY— for those on TDY longer than 30 days and not in government housing (lodge, inn, etc.). Instead of getting the standard full per diem rate, those in excess of 30 days but less than 180 day, get 75 percent of the per diem rate. Those in excess of 180 days get just 55 percent of the per diem rate.
For example, in DC, you would make $179 a night, for 30 days or less. You would make $134.25 between 31 and 180 days, and $98.45 at the 55 percent rate for 181+ days. The point of this new policy is to save the military millions of dollars, as it encourages military members to find cheaper housing accommodations. The amazing thing is that there is actually a benefit to the military service members. Under the new regulations, you don’t need to provide lodging receipts the Defense Travel Management Office.
This allows you to pocket the difference, which is a huge benefit to those who have found cheaper accommodations.
Another great thing for active military is that you have so many more options than just staying in a 325-square-foot average-size hotel room. Now, some of your options are:
- Vacation Rental — Sites such as VRBO, Airbnb, and Flip Key, offer some astoundingly cheap rentals, especially if you are able to hit the off-season in your area. Many times they are fully furnished, include utilities, and allow for very short-term to long-term situations.
- Rent a Furnished Apartment — Many apartment communities offer fully furnished apartments the same way that they would a vacation rental, but they instead cater to business professionals. I know that a couple of years ago apartments outside of Ft. Lee specifically catered to the soldiers on TDY.
- Rent a Regular Apartment and Live on an Air Mattress/Craigslist Items — The problem with options number one and number two are that there is a premium attached to them. By renting a normal apartment and living on an air mattress, you get to pocket the premium in exchange for a little discomfort.
- Rent an Apartment and Use CORT Rental Furniture —While my frugality has not left me over the years (for example, we saved 60k throughout my husband’s 10-month deployment), my willingness to sacrifice comfort is starting to fade. I still get the cheap apartment and utilities from setting it up myself, but with CORT I also get the furniture. It’s a win-win.
Stay tuned for our PCS adventure (sign up for our newsletter and don’t miss a minute). This spring, the husband is up for order. One of his potential jobs would involve 3–4 months of TDYs. After already spending 10 months apart last year, due to his deployment, we decided that if he gets the position that requires TDYs, I would accompany him on his adventure through the southern United States. That also means, of course, that our three adorable cats would be joining us! So it will be quite the epic journey.
Since we will be down to one income, our plan is to save as much money as possible during the TDY assignment, while still being able to enjoy every moment together by exploring and traveling. My current goal is to be able to use CORT and rent an apartment. This will allow us to maximize the financial savings, but not have to sacrifice comfort. As always, Murphy and the Navy love a good plan, so luckily I will have four options to choose from.
Have you done one of these four options before? How do you maximize TDY benefits?
I would love to hear from you! Advice, words of wisdom and “never agains!” are always so appreciated. While this is not our first move, this could be our first time doing an extended TDY while en route to our next location with three cats. So to say that it will be an adventure is an understatement!9