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Should you live on post?

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Our on-post stairwell apartment in Germany

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.

ย Do you live on-post or off-post?

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  1. Stephanie

    September 7, 2012

    This blog misses many important considerations such as:
    House Size: which depends on Family size, for example Io live in a 5 bed. house with 2 1/2 bath. with A/C in Hawaii and $530 toward our electric and free water and a Yard ( green space is uber expensive here) , Off post Our BAH would only provide for 3 beds. 1 1/2 bath, no A/C , our electric would run near $800 and water and sanitation would be expensive! To Rent a house of our sq. Ft. Would be more than our monthly income all by itself !
    Quietness : the article mentions this as a pro of off post but that is going to depend on Location! And you are Rolling the Dice with off post neighborhoods, why? because chances are you just PCS’ed and wherever
    you are is completely foreign ! What seems as a peaceful quite neighborhood during the day with your rental agent may be Mardi GRAS come dark ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Rank : while we would like to pretend it doesn’t matter, After a duty station or ( 16 like us) we all discover housing on post, to be Very radically different depending on rank! We have lived in condemned on-post apartments so bad we have been moved for them to be torn down, folks partying at all hours, with drug deals and crimes you couldn’t believe and moved back to the same post a few rungs up the ladder and be offered gorgeous new housing , wide streets , clean safe parks, that even made my non-military friends and relative jealous. Not only are the houses worlds apart the neighborhood of like ranked families are also , radically different , There are still parties and get togethers , but they are more mellow, ( less yelling, less beer-pong ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Rules : depending on your homeowners or neighborhood association, the rules off post could be even stricter than those found on post, with Fees , and can be very unforgiving to the military, for example a citation for over grown grass off post, where on post lawn care and service is provided for by Lend-lease
    There are many different angles to look at when choosing on or off post for housing your Family, and many of the answers will be unique to each families situation. The Big Thing to Look at is Location, which can be really hard if your looking for information on a post or neighborhood, several states away or over seas. Luckily, we now have FB and can join Groups or Like community pages before we PCS and Ask other spouses already living there all of our Burning questions ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Should you live on post? | Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life09-09-12