When my husband first joined the Army someone told us to live on-post at least once. That it was good to have the experience of living on-post and that we could then decide what we really liked after that. In the last 6.5 years we have lived on-post, lived in Gov’t leased housing which was living in a Military community off post in Germany and off post here in the US.
There are benefits to living on and off-post. Depending where you are stationed makes a difference too. Some duty stations are in the middle of no where so you really don’t have many options for off-post. Others are surrounded by a town or city so you have a lot of different places to choose from. At some duty stations the wait for on-post housing is too long so off-post is really the only option.
Our on-post stairwell apartment in Germany
Reasons to live on-post:
- Everything is close. You can usually walk or take a short drive to playgrounds,the PX and Commissary and lots of different activities. You can pretty much live your whole life without leaving post. If you live on-post the service member is much more likely to be able to come home for lunch.
- Save money. If you live on post you will most likely save money on utilities and gas money. I know that we do pay more living off-post for those things. My husband’s commute is about 15 minutes and I tend to go to post about three times a week myself so our gas expenses can add up.
- Close Military Community. All of your neighbors are Military. All of the kids your child goes to school with if they have on-post schools are Military. People bond easier on post during a deployment. It is easier to get together and create a community. This is one of the things I do miss about on-post living.
- Sense of security. There seems to be a sense of security when you live on post. There is an idea that you are safer on-post. Whether this is true or not, it makes people feel better when they are on-post. Especially during a deployment.
Reasons to live off-post:
- Bigger house. This depends on where you are stationed and what your BAH is but for us we can get a bigger, nicer house than if we had on-post housing. This was important to us so it is part of why we wanted to live off-post here at our current duty station.
- Get away from the Military each night. If you live off-post you can separate yourself from the Military and your spouse’s job.. You can get involved more in the local community. You can shop off-post and create a life that isn’t always about the Military.
- Quieter. This is a big plus for us. Our neighborhood is a lot quieter than any of the neighborhoods on-post. Our houses are farther apart as well. As much as I miss some of that Military community I do like having a little space and a more quiet setting.
- Not as many rules. Depending on your landlord or housing development, most likely you will not have as many rules as people do on-post. This can be nice especially during a deployment when you have so many other things to worry about. I have heard of people getting in trouble for leaving a stroller on their porch or little things like that.
In the end, each family needs to decide what is best for their family. Some families love living on post and will always do it. Others will never live on post and then there are those of us that decide based on each duty station. I love living off-post here in Tennessee but I would love to live on-post at another duty station in the future.