Government jobs might be more stable than most, but that doesn't mean federal employees aren't watching their pocketbooks. Luckily, one of the perks of being a government worker is that there are many companies eager to thank public servants by offering them deals on everything from Caribbean vacations to iPods.
The following is a sampling of just some of the discounts available to federal employees, retirees and military members. We plan to update it regularly with your suggestions, so check back often for new additions. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you come across discounts or freebies you'd like to share.
A word to the wise as you browse our directory: A number of sites will ask you to enter your government e-mail address to find out if you qualify for discounts. But one reader warns us that if you do so, you should be prepared for an onslaught of unsolicited e-mails.
Communications and Technology
Army & Air Force Exchange Service: An online shopping center open to some State Department embassy employees as well as members of the military.
Auto parts: The Kragen Auto Parts chain will knock 5 percent to 10 percent off your purchase if you have a military ID, one reader says. AutoZone offers military discounts as well, according to another reader, and Advance Auto Parts gives active and retired military members 10 percent off. R1Concepts.com offers 10 percent off brake pads and brake rotors to military personnel when you call in to order.
Auto service: American Auto Assurance offers government employees and active and retired military members discounts on fully insured vehicle protection plans. Click here for a quote. The company also offers first-time callers $500 off fully-insured, A-rated vehicle service contracts (extended auto warranties). Call (877) 214-0335 with discount code "AAA1Gov" to obtain the deal, but note you must sign up for a plan on your first call to qualify.
Baseops.net: A clearinghouse of military discounts.
Bass Pro Shops: Offers military and civilian discounts, a reader tells us.
Bradsdeals: A directory of more than 200 stores and services offering military discounts.
Cars: One reader tells us Volkswagen offers military/civil servant discounts on new cars. Hyundai offers active and retired military members a $500 discount on new cars, another reader says. And active and reserve military members can get discounts on new Infiniti or Nissan vehicles, according to another. The "purchase price will be with a fixed discount at or below dealer invoice," the reader said, and the deal requires proof of active service.
Child care: NannyPro.com, an online resource for parents seeking nannies or babysitters, offers federal employees 30 percent off family memberships. To claim the discount, visit the company's website and use the coupon code "Fedsave" at checkout. Sittercity.com, a website that offers babysitting, housesitting, petsitting, and other services such as housekeeping, has free registration for military members, according to one reader. Service providers have gone through background and criminal checks, and the site is an "ideal way for military families to find reliable childcare in a new area," the reader says.
Choice Promotional Products: Offers 10 percent off, with the coupon code "GOVT10."
Cleaning: The Green Mop offers all government employees in the capital region 15 percent off an initial home cleaning and a discounted rate of $65 per hour on subsequent cleanings.
Clothing, shoes and accessories: Nautica and New York and Co. give discounts of 10 percent or more to customers with military IDs, and Old Navy gives a 10 percent discount on the first of the month, readers say. Aeropostale also offers 10 percent off, according to one tipster, as does Lucky Brand. Footlocker and its affiliates offer a 20 percent discount to active, reserve and retired military personnel who present their identification card, a reader says. Payless Shoes gives military families 10 percent off, another reader tells us. American Eagle stores offer military families a 20 percent discount, according to one tipster. The Banana Republic at Pentagon City Mall in Arlington, Va., offers a 15 percent discount to military personnel and their spouses/dependents, with a valid military ID, a reader reports. Tanzanite jewelry offers all federal employees, retirees and military members a discount of 10 percent by entering the code "EXECTAN" during checkout.
Eye care. Group Health Eye Care offers federal employees, military members and retirees a 20 percent discount on prescription eyeglasses or sunglasses, and a one-time 20 percent discount on contact lenses. Membership is not required. MilitaryContacts.net offers contact lenses to military members and their families at prices as much as 30 percent lower than other retailers, according to its website. And Buy More Contacts offers 5 percent off when government employees spend $100 or more, and free shipping.
Fedsave.com: A free, monthly newsletter highlighting savings and special offers on entertainment, dining, shopping and travel.
Food: IHOP, Denny's and Long John Silver's give military members 10 percent off, readers tell us, though one notes the IHOP offer is not available at all locations. One reader noted that Applebee's gives discounts of 15 percent, and one said T.G.I. Friday's offers a 10 percent discount. The Hard Rock Cafe offers military members discounts of 10 percent or more.
Gift baskets and flowers: GiftTree.com offers military members 15 percent off on most gift baskets, flowers and other merchandise. According to the company, "To access the discount, simply visit our website and enter the promotion code MILITARY67 at checkout." Wine Country Gift Baskets is giving military members 5 percent off baskets, flowers and fresh baked goods. Enter the catalog code "Military" at checkout. Silk Plants Direct gives federal employees and military members 10 percent off online purchases, if you mention your employer at checkout. Gift Basket Villas offers federal employees a 10 percent discount with the code "FED10." Gift Baskets Overseas offers 10 percent discounts to military and government employees. Enter the coupon code "USMILITARY10" on the order form.
Government Employees Marketplace: A free service that offers members exclusive discounts on everything from pet health insurance to rental cars, and aggregates information on thousands of other deals.
Gyms: Civilians and military members qualify for a discount at Washington Sports Clubs. As of early November 2010, the gym was offering feds $17 off monthly memberships. According to a reader, the BlueCross BlueShield Federal Employees Program offers $25 per month memberships to several gyms; more information can be found at Fepblue.org
Home improvement: Readers tell us Lowes and The Home Depot give military members and retirees 10 percent off at most locations, but the discount isn't always advertised so be sure to ask about it if no information is readily available. Also, be sure to carry your military ID. Menards gives shoppers with a military ID or VA identification card 10 percent off, according to one tipster, but the policy seems to vary from store to store because another reader said a branch in Wisconsin denied him a military discount. Long Fence and Home offers deals to federal employees and military members -- employees should contact the company to get an estimate of how much the discount would be. Mohawk flooring is offering a 10 percent discount through 2013.
Home security: Absolute Security of America - Your Local ADT Authorized Dealer provides government employees a special offer on home security. Employees should click here or contact the company at 1.866.792.3595 to find out more. JMAC Supply, a national distributor of life safety and security systems, will give feds a 10 percent discount. To claim the discount, enter the coupon code "JMACFED" at checkout.
Insurance: Federal employees receive 3 percent to 10 percent off on automobile insurance at Geico, depending on the state. Readers tell us they've found insurance deals at Liberty Mutual as well. And Capitol Benefits of Gaithersburg, Md., has partnered with Travelers to offer federal employees in the Washington area a break on home, auto, renters, boat and umbrella insurance.
Military and Veterans Discount Center: A comprehensive directory of discounts in categories ranging from apparel to sports and recreation, searchable by ZIP code.
Moving/shipping: Transit Systems Inc. offers discounts on moving and shipping services. Use the discount code "GOV611" to obtain the deal. MoversCorp.com offers 10 percent off all orders made with the "GOV10" coupon code. ShipHawk offers military members a 10 percent discount on all shipping and moving services except for flatbed or full truckload shipments. To obtain the discount, visit ShipHawk.com or email the company at email@example.com, indicating you are a service member.
National Active and Retired Federal Employees: Arranges discounts on travel, financial services, insurance, moving and emergency services.
Pet Supplies/Services: Petplay.com offers military members 25 percent off on luxury dog beds. Enter the code "MILITARYK9" upon checkout.
Superior Nut Co.: This Cambridge, Mass.-based specialty food provider offers military members a 10 percent discount on orders through its website, one reader tells us. The coupon code is "military," and according to our tipster, there is no minimum order or expiration date.
Veterans Advantage Program: A card that offers discounts on travel, entertainment, home and office supplies, insurance, financial services and more. A one-year membership is $59.95.
Armed Forces Recreation Center Resorts: Joint service facilities aimed at providing affordable vacation options for military members and their families.
Armed Forces Vacation Club: Offers military members, Defense Department civilians and some contractors deals at condominium timeshare resorts as space is available.
Better World Club: This environmentally-conscious roadside assistance provider is offering federal employees a 10 percent discount on new auto club memberships.
Federal Discount Lodging Directory: A searchable directory of domestic and foreign hotels with discounts for federal employees.
FedRooms: While this website is aimed at official government travel, many of the hotels also extend discounts to federal employees on vacation.
Government & Armed Forces Travel Cooperative: Condominium rentals, cruises, car rentals, hotel reservations, golf discounts, vacation packages and more for feds, military members and retirees.
Government Employees Travel Opportunities: This program, sponsored by Resort Condominiums International, offers discount rentals at condominium timeshare resorts and vacation villas worldwide. The catch is that the discounts often are available only in the off-season or on short notice.
Government Vacation Rewards: Offers access to government and military rates on cruises, tours, vacation packages, resorts, hotels, air travel and cars, through International Cruise and Excursions.
Holiday Inn Express: One reader notes he has received big discounts by showing government identification at Holiday Inn Express hotels.
La Quinta Inns and Suites: Offers substantial lodging discounts to federal employees, military members and retirees, one reader says.
Mount Vernon Estate: One reader says she has received discounted admission on two occassions, after showing her federal employee badge. She also received a discount on her gift shop purchase.
National Parks: Active-duty military service members and their families can visit national parks and wildlife refuges for free, under a new program. Show your military identification card at agency fee stations nationwide to obtain a free America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. Other discounts are available to veterans.
SatoVacations: Offers discounted vacation packages and leisure travel services for government workers and military members. The company specializes in tours and cruises but also provides air, car, rail, and hotel accommodations and tickets to local attractions, according to a marketing manager. Feds based in Europe can click here.
Shades of Green: A resort for active and retired armed services members on Walt Disney World in central Florida.
Smithsonian: Federal employees get a 10 percent discount on food services in Smithsonian museums when they show their ID, a tipster says.
Starwood Hotels: A reader tells us he received a big discount on rates in the San Francisco area when he asked if the hotel offered deals for government workers.
Veterans Holidays: Travel deals for vets.
Communications and Technology
Apple: Offers discounts on iPods, computers and other equipment for personal use, through its Store for Government. One reader reported Apple seemed to have discontinued the discount as of December 2011.
AT&T: Federal employees may qualify for reduced rates. To find out more, visit the company's website and enter your government e-mail address.
Dell: Government workers can save at least 7 percent on most computers, printers and other electronics. One civilian reader warned the discount can be as low as 2 percent, however.
HP: A reader tells us Hewlett-Packard offers federal employees discounts of at least 10 percent.
Sprint-Nextel: Offers federal employees a 15 percent discount on top of other deals, such as the family plan, according to a company spokeswoman.
T-Mobile: Offers a 15 percent discount to federal employees. To obtain the deal, new customers can call (877) 426-2024 or visit a local store, and existing customers can call (877) 453-8824.
U.S. Cellular: Gave at least one USDA employee a 15 percent discount on her bill.
Verizon: The company offers federal employee discounts of 20 percent or more on phones, calling plans and accessories. Check here to find out if you are eligible. (One reader said that as of fall 2013, the discount is 15 percent).
Gyms: The Energy Club, and Arlington, Va., based gym, is offering furloughed feds the chance to workout for free. Feds who take advantage of the offer will qualify for discounted memberships once furloughs are over.
Restaurants: The Daily Dish in Silver Spring, Md., will give furloughed feds 20 percent off on food for weekday lunches.
Radio station giveaways: Washington area rock station DC101 is giving away tickets to its chili cook-off at RFK Stadium on May 4. To enter, send the station your furlough story. They will select one winner each week.
Resume writing: Employment BOOST is offering federal employees 20 percent off resume writing and coaching services.