The debate in the Military community lives on: Is living on base better than living off base? Or, is collecting a BAH every month and choosing your location better? Every base is unique and comes with different challenges and benefits. Each new base comes with the opportunity and sometimes strenuous decision of choosing whether or not live on or off base.
Here are the top 5 ways to help make your decision:
Consider what your day-to-day priorities will be.
If your priorities will be getting to/from your child’s activities, or your potential work place, consider both of these factors when trying to decide what will be the best option.
Consider how far your spouse will have to drive every day.
The less time your spouse is commuting the more time they can be at home. Remember, to not only calculate mileage but also traffic time! Traffic time on the highway should be a factor, but also traffic time on the base (living off base can take the same amount of time to get into the office as living on base in some cases).
Consider what the average cost of living in that area is.
In some cases, families can benefit by accepting the BAH option and living off base. However, in others you can get more “bang for your buck” by living on base. This all depends on location and individual life style.
Consider all the cost benefits of living on base.
Living on base often means not having to pay utilities (electricity, water, gas) and a safe and gated community. Will your family benefit by not paying certain utilities and living in a gated community?
Do what option works best for your family.
Don’t ever feel the pressures of needing to live off base, to try to profit off BAH or on base just to (hopefully) save money. Do what will work best for your family, be the most cost effective and make your time at your new base as happy and stress-free as possible!
What other elements helped you make this decision?