Military Kids: AAFES $20 for A-Grade Students | Military Money Manual Podcast Episode 76

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Jamie and Spencer discuss a $20 AAFES gift card available for students of military parents with A level grades.

Military Money Manual Podcast Episode #76 Links

Outline of Episode:

  • How does the program work?
  • Who is eligible?
  • How often can you take advantage of this program?
  • Where can you find more information?
  • Do other branches have similar programs?
  • Resources on previous podcast episodes about how to teach your kids good financial literacy and good money habits

Military Money Manual Podcast Episode #76 Transcript

[00:00:00] Jamie: Our military families are gonna love this. All AAFES locations around the world have this program where if your child got straight A's on their report card, they get a free $20 AAFES gift card or a $10 gift card if they had a B average. It's very easy to do and a great encouragement for your kids who are working hard in school.

[00:00:39] Spencer: Hey podcast listeners. Welcome to the Military Money Manual Podcast. I'm your host, Spencer Reese, joined by my co-host, Jamie, and today we're going to be sharing with you a neat program from the Army and Air Force Exchange, or AAFES called the “You Made the Grade” program where your dependent children can get up to a $20 AAFES gift card for getting straight As or a $10 AAFES gift card for a B average on the report card. 

So basically anything, as long as they're over average, they're over a C student, they're going to be getting some gift cards from AAFES. 

Hey, if you're finding value from this episode or any of our episodes, please remember to five-star review on Spotify or Apple. That really helps us out or wherever you listen to the podcast and then subscribe as well so you can get future episodes.

So Jamie, how does the program work?

[00:01:26] Jamie: Hey Spencer. It's a really easy program and it's as simple as bringing in your kids' report card to the customer service desk, and after a few minutes, you leave with a $20 or $10 gift card. They also should get a coupon sheet for your local exchange and the restaurant sale, and there's also a chance to win a sweepstakes on the back of the gift card.

The winner for that is selected each June and December, and that's up to a $2,000 gift card.

[00:01:50] Spencer: Wow. Sounds like a great program for military kids. So who's eligible?

[00:01:54] Jamie: Military dependents in grades 1st through 12th grade, and if they're old enough to have a military ID, they need to bring that to the customer service desk as well as their report card.

[00:02:04] Spencer: Sweet. So even those who are homeschooled or eligible as well?

[00:02:08] Jamie: Yes, AAFES has a plan for that as well. If a child is homeschooled, the student just needs to provide written affirmation of their scholastic aptitude from a parent or other community-authorized education provider, if they're going to co-op or something like that.

So even homeschooled children military dependents are eligible for the gift cards as well. Sweet.

[00:02:26] Spencer: And is this a new program? I don't ever remember hearing about this. I don't have dependent children myself. So I'm not the target demographic, but I'm usually up to speed on these AAFES promotions.

[00:02:38] Jamie: So we first heard about it a couple of years ago, maybe two or three years ago now, but looking online, it looks like it's actually over 20 years old.

But maybe just recently, the publicity team at AAFES has been doing a little bit better job of advertising it now. And also the amounts did go up. When we first heard about the program, it was only a $5 gift card which is still great. It's still free. And now I guess we're more people are spending at AAFES and the inflated prices and they're able to give back to the military community a little bit more.

So $20 gift card is new, but the program itself is over 20 years old.

[00:03:09] Spencer: And how often can you take advantage of the program?

[00:03:12] Jamie: I could not find any specific detail. I know for my family personally, we did one in the fall and then we just got another one with our spring report cards. There were no terms that said like only once per school year or once per semester.

From what I can see, it looks like every time you get a report card you should be eligible to go back to AAFES, so maybe $80 a school year if you're on a quarterly system. But I can't guarantee that all customer service agents will view it the same way because the rules do not specify.

[00:03:39] Spencer: It sounds like a really great program, and I especially like that it's rewarding academic excellence.

It's just reinforcing to kids that, hey, if you get good grades and you do well in school, you're probably on the path to not just success in life, but also potentially financial success as well.  

Where can our listeners find more information about the program?

[00:04:00] Jamie: So the best source is the local AAFES customer service desk at whichever AAFES you're closest to.

And you can also Google the AAFES “You Made The Grade” and the info will come up for that.

[00:04:11] Spencer: So this is all great information, Jamie. I'm actually going to create an article on my website and it'll be about the AAFES You Made the Grade program. If you Google Military Money Manual and AAFES You Made the Grade, that will pop right up, or the show notes for this episode will show up as well.

So, Jamie, this covers our Army and Air Force listeners, but what about the other branches who don't have access to an AAFES?

[00:04:36] Jamie: So from what we could tell, the Marine Corps Exchange has a program that's very similar called A Superstar Student. This is also for grades 1 through 12, including homeschooled students who attain an overall B average for the grading period may bring their report cards to the Marine Corps Exchange within 30 days to AAFES to receive a scratch-off card with a guaranteed prize. So you simply bring a valid military ID card in the most recent report card to customer service, and you'll receive a scratch-off card valued at either $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, or even $250.

So the Marine Corps has got a pretty cool program there. And it also mentioned once per grading period, which leads me to believe that they're accepting multiple per year for the Marine Corps and then for the Navy Exchange, this one's a little more unclear. They at least used to have a program called The “A-OK Student” Program.

But the last press release and information we could find online about that one was in 2019 and we couldn't find anything updated since 2019. So I'm not sure if the Navy Exchange is still doing it. If we get any updated information or you know of anything from the Navy Exchange, send us a comment on Instagram, a direct message on Instagram @militarymoneymanual, or comment on the article Spencer just mentioned on his website, and we'll get the information updated in the article.

Couple more things I wanted to mention. We have some great resources on previous podcast episodes about how to teach your kids good financial literacy and good money habits. So I wanted to share those because we talked about how this can incentivize good behavior and working hard in school.

The first one is our episode with Doug Norman, which was episode 31, and he is a retired Navy officer who wrote a book. He actually retired in ‘99, I believe it was, and he wrote a book with his daughter called Raising Your Money Savvy Family for Next Generation Financial Independence, which is a great read.

I have it in my desk and loan it out to anyone that ever asks. In that episode number 31, we talked with him about his concept of a kids' 401k, where he basically creates that investment model for the child to save up for their first car and just really how they did all the allowances and chore money and everything else that parents like to talk about to make their kids really smart with money and get them off on a good start.

And then the other episode I want to mention is episode 60. And again, you can find the show notes at militarymoneymanual.com/ep60. In episode 60, we had the My First Nest Egg team on, Annie and Nicole, and they created this app where it basically gamifies chores and money habits, whether it's learning how to go to the bathroom for your toddler potty training, or mowing lawns or whatever you have for older kids, anywhere from 3 to 12 and more.

Kids are able to learn money habits by completing puzzles and then getting rewarded for it. They learn how to save and give and spend, and then they even can get interest from their parents if they keep it saved through the end of the month, and then at the beginning of the month, they can get a percentage of interest that you determine.

So my first Nest Egg is an amazing app. We personally use it in my family, and if you look up the show notes online, you'll see the code “militarymoney”. For the first 300 listeners of ours can sign up for that app for free lifetime access if you use the code “militarymoney”. 

So two great resources for our parents out there in addition to this gift card program to help your kids learn about good money habits.

[00:07:51] Spencer: I like how the Marines add a little element of lottery or gambling to it with the scratch-off tickets. I don't know if that's exactly the kind of values we want to instill in our children, but I like the concept there that they're still getting rewarded for being above average. 

Hey, listener again, if you found the episode valuable, you can leave us a five-star review on Apple or Spotify, and you can find the show notes for this episode on MilitaryMoneyManual.com. Thanks for listening, and we'll catch you on the next episode of the Military Money Manual podcast.

[00:08:22] Jamie: Thanks so much for tuning in to this episode of the Military Money Manual Podcast.

If you are enjoying the show, please feel free to rate, subscribe, and leave a review wherever you listen to your podcasts. This helps others find the show and we really appreciate it. Thanks again for tuning in and we'll catch you in the next episode.

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