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Department of the Air Force
Military and Family Readiness Center - Lackland AFB
1550 Wurtsmith St
Building 5725, room 212
Lackland AFB, TX 78236-5113
Resources are available to help you understand and manage your finances, including one-on-one financial counseling to assist you and your family with financial readiness. Services are designed to focus on money management issues throughout your active-duty lifecycle and into retirement. Financial readiness educational opportunities range from basic planning to long-term investing. Check out the information below to see what’s available at your installation.
Financial guidance is offered to those experiencing money management difficulties or for those who wish to be in better control of their finances. The Military & Family Readiness Center's Personal Financial Management Program can work with you to prepare a personalized budget and spending plan to make your life a little easier. Information and assistance are available in areas, such as military pay and allowances, consumer rip-offs, savings, insurance, car buying, home buying, identity theft, credit card management and much more.
Whenever you experience a permanent change of station, you are going to be faced with some unusual expenses. Plan for some of the costs listed below and many more:
Local Cost of Living
According to the San Antonio Business Journal, San Antonio is ranked the seventh most affordable in a study by Biz-Journals that compared housing costs and income levels in the 95 U.S. metros with a population above 500,000. Forbes.com cited Alamo City as an area whose housing prices did not overheat during the housing boom and, as a result, the market is experiencing growth. It is no wonder the current cost of an existing single-family home in Alamo Heights area is about $599,000. The San Antonio Board of Realtors also indicated that price appreciation continues to show a steady increase in the value of homes in the area. The average cost of a home throughout San Antonio is $257,196.
Minimum Car Insurance
Texas law requires minimum coverage of $30,000 per injured person, up to a total of $60,000 for everyone hurt in an accident and $25,000 for property damage. This basic coverage is called 30/60/25 coverage. However, basic coverage may not be enough if you are held liable for an accident. You should consider buying more than the basic coverage.
When you PCS, you can request up to 80% of your entitlements in advance to help you pay for lodging, gasoline, food, rent deposits, utilities and more.
NOTE: Do not take or spend advance pay unless it is absolutely necessary, as you pay it back by monthly deductions from your pay. You will have less money to live on each month until it is all paid back. Be even more cautious of considering a casual pay.
Other Financial Impacts
There may be other financial impacts of a PCS move. Here are some examples:
If you anticipate being short of cash for your move, contact your local finance office to discuss the possibility of various travel advances. You may be able to request advance travel pay, advance basic housing allowance or advance dislocation allowance. These advances will be offset when you receive your travel reimbursement.
As a last resort, you are also eligible to request advance basic pay. If possible, avoid taking an advance as it will be automatically withheld from your paycheck for a period of up to 12 months.
The Air Force Aid Society and the Army Emergency Relief provides small, no-interest loans to assist with miscellaneous financial problems caused by a permanent change of station move.
The cost-of-living index for San Antonio, Texas, for livability is 78%, which is lower than the national average of 100%. Therefore, there are no cost-of-living allowances for the area.
Temporary Lodging Allowance
On base, temporary lodging facilities are typically available. Stays are usually limited to 30 days during non-peak periods and 15 days during peak periods. Regardless of the length of your stay, you will be reimbursed for the first 10 days only. If there is no vacancy on base, you will need a statement of non-availability from temporary lodging before you can be reimbursed for off-base lodging. If authorized to stay off base, you will be reimbursed at the per diem rate for the San Antonio area.
Housing costs are slightly lower than the national average. The median housing cost in an acceptable neighborhood in Alamo Heights is $257,196, while two-bedroom apartments average $900.
The current basic allowance for housing rate for Lackland Air Force Base (ZIP code 78236), Randolph Air Force Base (ZIP code 78150) and Fort Sam Houston (ZIP code 78234) can be found at the Department of Defense's travel website.
Utility bills in San Antonio are among the lowest in the state. The city’s Public Services provides electricity and natural gas for the area and is owned by the city. There is no competition in the area. The average residential electricity usage is 1,184 kilowatt hours for $84.39 per thousand KWh. Natural gas is priced in units of 100 cubic feet. The rate per ccf fluctuates between 80-90 cents.
There are two primary water companies: San Antonio Water System and Bexar Metropolitan Water System. Before you choose a place to live, ask which one provides service for your area. Water pricing is based on usage. The more water you use, the higher the rate per unit becomes. There are also different rates depending on whether you live inside or outside the city limits. Sewer usage fees are based on water usage for three months starting sometime in November and ending in March. If you use more water than necessary during those months, you will pay a higher sewage fee for the next 12 months. Contact the base housing office to obtain utility deposit waivers.
As the official charity of the U.S. Air Force, the Air Force Aid Society has been meeting the unique needs of airmen and their families since 1942. The organization works to support and enhance the USAF mission by providing emergency financial assistance, educational support and community programs.
Financial assistance in the form of interest-free loans or grants, may be available through AFAS for those experiencing temporary financial hardships.
For more information, contact your servicing Joint Base San Antonio Military and Family Readiness Center and ask for AFAS.