The average police officer makes about $53,000 per year1 across the United States. With their busy and unpredictable schedules, many spouses of law enforcement officers only work part-time or choose not to work. Or, if they do work, they have to put their kids in daycare or hire a full-time nanny. This can make your budget pretty tight, especially if you have children. So, discounts can be a benefit of working in law enforcement. And, there are dozens of companies and organizations that want to thank officers for their service to our country through giving discounts. In this article, we’ll discuss five discounts your family may be able to take advantage of.
What You Need to Save
Law enforcement encompasses professions at local, state, and federal levels. Many of the ways law enforcement members can save money also include their immediate family members. But, you must prove you or a family member is in law enforcement before getting a discount. This is usually done by providing a law enforcement ID in-person or online through the website ID.me. When it comes to purchasing memberships or buying a product, it may be better to do so online in the event the law enforcement officer (LEO) cannot come in person.
Before we begin, it is important that you follow the guidelines below, to avoid any accidental violations of your specific department’s policies.
- Always be clear on your department’s policies. It’s worth asking a supervisor or HR about policies regarding discounts, prior to searching for discounts. In some cases, LEOs are prohibited from inquiring in any way about LEO discounts (except when such discounts are clearly posted).
- Always ask about discount availability, rather than requesting a discount. This can be a matter of careful wording, but it is important that you do not make businesses feel they should offer a special discount just in case they don’t.
- Never press the issue if an employee has told you they don’t offer a LEO discount. Continuing the conversation could be viewed as unprofessional and should the business choose to complain, you will likely be subject to disciplinary action.
- When redeeming a discount, always bring proof of your profession.
- If you are ever unsure, skip the discount. In some extreme cases, police chiefs & departments have implemented policies where officers are prohibited from accepting any discounts or gifts. This is why it is important that you become clear on your department’s policies beforehand.
5 Ways to Save as a LEO
There are many ways for law enforcement officers to save money. Firstly, just about every industry has a company that offers a discount to law enforcement officers. From phone plans to meal subscription services, you can generally find a discount. If you take the time to look up a company’s discounts, you could potentially save money.
Secondly, being strategic about your money and getting help from a professional can be beneficial as well. Making strategic investments can set your family up for financial stability once you are ready to retire. Appropriate investments can also help you earn some additional income outside of your day job. Other than that, let’s go over five ways you may be able to save additional money as a LEO.
1. Retail Discounts
When people think of discounts, they commonly think of retail stores. Well, there are hundreds of stores that offer discounts to LEOs. Keep in mind, these are just national chains, and some local stores may offer a discount as well. If you can’t find a business’ law enforcement discounts, you can always call to ask before deciding which store to shop at.
Here* are some of the largest retail chains with law enforcement discounts:
- Under Armour
- Columbia Sportswear
- Sunglass Hut
* Based on specific discounts found on shop.id.me as of 8/17/21.
2. Food Discounts
Eating out is usually one of the biggest expenses for families. Not to mention, many officers have to run through a fast-food chain because their schedule doesn’t allow them to go home for lunch. So, to potentially save money each year, consider going to or ordering food from the restaurants and companies below** as they have law enforcement discounts or special offers.
- Big Chicken
- Cumberland Farms
- Macaroni Grill
- Outback Steakhouse
- Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill
- Panda Express
- Tropical Smoothie Café
** Based on information provided by retailmenot.com
Just like with retail stores, many local restaurants have law enforcement deals or appreciation days. To save money on date night or celebrations, it’s worth calling ahead to different restaurants to see who has a discount.
As a law enforcement officer, insurance can seem like it would be incredibly expensive due to your risky job. However, there are many insurance companies that offer low rates to officers and their families, especially if you are a part of a law enforcement organization. For example, GEICO offers2 a discount to members of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA).3 To see the best rates for police officers, you may want to consider using a tool like The Zebra4 to compare the rates and discounts of each insurance company.
4. Education and Scholarships
First responders like law enforcement officers that would like to pursue a higher education may be able to qualify for several scholarships for schools across the United States. Some colleges even have online programs specifically for law enforcement so they can pursue a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree while working full-time. Additionally, some states have programs that help police officers pay for education through state funding. So, if you would like to go to college despite being a full-time law enforcement officer, there are options available.
If you or someone you know has lost a law enforcement family member, there are many scholarships available for the fallen officer’s family as well. One of which includes the Police Family Survivors Fund Scholarship from the American Federation of Police & Concerned Citizens. Another scholarship that is available to the children of first responders is the America’s 911 Foundation, Inc. scholarship. According to an article from Scholarships.com,5 this law enforcement officer scholarship provides $2,000 to a student whose parent is an active first responder. Another scholarship offered is the Operation Thank an Officer for children of retired or active law enforcement (or ones that have passed away) and is specifically meant for high school seniors that are heading into college.
5. Hire a Wealth Strategist
Perhaps one of the best ways to potentially save money as a law enforcement officer is to hire a wealth strategist. A wealth strategist is someone that can help you manage your finances and make strategic investments. The investments they advise you to make are designed to help grow your income over time, and also provide you with a comfortable retirement fund.
Saving Money for LEOs and Their Families
Law enforcement officers and their families are able to save money in many ways because of their service. With a bit of research and some help from a professional, your family can live happily with a stable financial situation. So, take some notes on who will offer your family a discount, and choose to use them when trying to save money.
1 “How much does a Police Officer make in the United States?” Anonymous indeed.com, Aug 10, 2021
2 “Military And Federal Organization Discounts” Anonymous geico.com
3 “Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association” Anonymous fleoa.org
4 “Best Car Insurance for Police Officers” Ava Lynch thezebra.com
5 “America’s 911 Foundation, Inc. Scholarship” Anonymous scholarships.com
This information is informational being provided as a convenience based on our general understanding of the subject matter. Equitable Advisors, its affiliates and financial professionals are not affiliated with any company, organization, or association mentioned here.