The Ultimate Financial Resources Guide for Federal Government Employees

Government employees had a rough time during the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history, from Dec. 22, 2018, to Jan. 25, 2019 (a total of 35 days). Furloughed federal workers had to cope with a month’s worth of missing pay, which is a huge problem considering that about 78% of American workers live paycheck to paycheck. About 800,000 people were affected, leading to the sharing of #ShutdownStories on social media. Luckily, many lenders were offering special deals on loans for furloughed workers, but now, many of those loans will have to be repaid.

Many furloughed workers haven’t fully recovered, and that’s why we’ve compiled a federal employee discounts list so that federal workers can save money and have an easier time getting back on their feet after the shutdown. And with the possibility of more shutdowns on the horizon, federal employees need resources for catching up and spending wisely. Here’s our helpful list of federal government discounts and tips!

Help, Allotment Loans, and Assistance Programs Help, Allotment Loans, and Assistance Programs

During the shutdown, more than 150 banks and more than 500 credit unions offered loans for federal employees with lower rates and waived fees. The Congressional Federal Credit Union offered lines of credit, and many of the major banks, like Chase and Wells Fargo, promised to work with individuals dealing with missing income. If you or a loved one didn’t take advantage then, try talking to these companies now.

Some employees were even able to file for unemployment. Often, that wasn’t enough, however, with quite a few workers creating GoFundMe pages despite the fact that the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) has since claimed that that is an ethics violation, since this would technically be accepting gifts from the public. Simply put, anything offered to the general public or all federal workers is acceptable, but help offered to specific employees is generally frowned upon.

Unfortunately, a lot of the special deals, fee waivers, and even charitable aid have dwindled since the end of the shutdown, but that doesn’t mean federal workers don’t still need help.

But what can workers do now to recover?

  • Join AFGE: The American Federation of Government Employees offers financial help and benefits, which can be a lifeline in times of stress.
  • Avoid Making Big Purchases: FICO scores may have dropped almost 100 points during the shutdown, so a car or house purchase isn’t likely a good idea. Watch your credit report carefully over the next few months.
  • Create a Plan to Pay Off Debt: Whether workers choose the snowball or avalanche approach to attack debt, it’s important to follow a solid budget plan. Attack the mountain a chunk at a time.
  • Remember Self-Care: The long-term effects of “shutdown stress” can be bad for your mental health. Be sure to ask friends and family for help, and give yourself some time to relax and decompress.
  • Take Advantage of Current Deals: We’ve made a big federal employee discount list so that if you need to make big purchases, you can do so without paying top dollar.

Keep in mind that military members and their families often have access to far more deals than civilian agency federal workers. Check out our helpful military deals guide if you’re part of the armed forces.

Tech Deals for Federal Employees Tech Deals for Federal Employees

Need to buy some tech? Most ordinary workers outside of the military don’t realize that there are dozens of post-shutdown federal government employee discounts. List out the best tech options, and then go in to see whether or not there is a special discount with that company. Many tech giants offer deals for local, state, and federal government workers, not just the military or veterans.

Federal Discounts on Computers and Devices

Shave hundreds of dollars off of laptops, smartphones, computers, software, and more by doing a bit of research and finding special deals on devices.

  • Apple Government Discount — There are both Apple state and local government discounts as well as Apple federal employee discounts on the world’s favorite technology products. How much is the Apple government employee discount? It depends on the product you’re buying. For instance, if you’re looking at a Macbook, you might get a few hundred dollars off, but if you’re looking for a phone, it may be less. It’s still definitely worth it to find out!
  • Dell Member Purchase Program — Sign up for Dell’s program to get special discounts as a federal worker, including better financing, free shipping, rewards, and up to $500 off on purchases.
  • Microsoft Office Federal Government Employee Discount — Through the Microsoft Home Use Program (HUP), Microsoft offers agency workers products like Microsoft Office for $9.95 instead of the normal price.
  • Samsung Government Discount Program — All you need to do is sign up with a .gov email address and you can gain access to a bunch of deals on Samsung products, like their phones, laptops, refrigerators, and more!
  • Hewlett Packard Government Purchase Program — Get “yellow tag” deals by filling out this form (you can use number 2344 for the “company code”). Deals typically hover around 10%.

Cell Phone Plan Deals

Not only can you pay less for your device, but your monthly plan doesn’t need to be as expensive. If you haven’t done so already, check with your cell phone provider to see if you can pare down your bill.

Government Employee Travel Discounts Government Employee Travel Discounts

Planning on a trip for business or pleasure? There’s no reason for a federal worker to pay full price for it with thousands of dollars in deals for hotels, transportation, leisure activities, and entertainment available. While moving about for work, keep in mind the official regulations for federal employee travel, such as temporary duty (TDY) allowances, per-diem rates, and the FedRooms program. Consider downloading the GSA app to keep track of expenses. But if you’re traveling for pleasure, that doesn’t necessarily exclude the possibility of getting a discount for travel.

Federal Government Employee Hotel Discounts

With thousands of hotels that offer special rates, discounts, and deals on hotel stays for government workers, why ever pay full price? Often, you can grab special rates whether or not you’re traveling with your agency for business. If you are booking for business rather than pleasure, remember to check the GSA site to find official lists of per-diem rates. Look up rates using these massive hotel chains when you’re planning your trip:

  • Best Western Exclusive Discounts — This massive chain offers 10% off or more on resorts throughout North America, and signing up with their rewards program will lead to more benefits, including charity donations from Best Western for 10% of earned service rewards points. Best Western also owns other brands like SureStay, Sadie, and Aiden.
  • Choice Hotels Reserved Rates — This is the huge company behind brands like Sleep Inn, Quality Inn, Clarion, Econo Lodge, Comfort Suites, and more. Get deals on 2,700 properties.
  • Wyndham Special Rates for Government Employees — If you’re booking at another one of the largest hotel chains in America, chances are good that you can get a government discount. Hotels that this chain owns include Wyndham, Dolce, Tryp, La Quinta, Ramada, Travelodge, Howard Johnson, Super 8, Days Inn, Microtel, Caesars, and more.
  • Red Roof Government Rates — Save 15% overall on your hotel rate.
  • Hilton Government & Military Rates — Get per-diem rates on Hilton bookings and lots of GSA resources for both business and vacation travel. Note that they also own Waldorfs, Doubletrees, Embassy Suites, Hamptons, Homewood Suites, and Home2 Suites among others.
  • Hyatt Government Rate — Book special per-diem rates with a government ID at check-in.
  • Marriott Government Rate — Hotels with the name Marriott, Sheraton, Renaissance, Courtyard, Fairfield, TownePlace, W Hotels, or even Ritz-Carlton can be booked for per-diem rates.
  • IHG U.S. Government Rates — There are 3,000 GSA-participating hotels worldwide within the InterContinental Hotels Group, including the brands Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, InterContinental Hotels, and more.

Government Employee Car Rental Deals

Most of the major rental companies offer a federal employee car rental discount for official business travel, but see if you can find ones that offer good deals for leisure as well!

Other Vacation Deals Other Vacation Deals

While there are fewer vacation deals for federal workers than military members (who can go to national parks for free), there are quite a few places where you can check for discounts. Check sites like GOVX, GovArm.com, and FedCruise.com, which specialize in government worker vacation deals. Also, see if your agency is listed on TicketsAtWork.com.

  • JetBlue GSA Fares — Certain airlines, like JetBlue, offer deals on fares for federal employees traveling for business.
  • Federal Employee Flight Discounts — Talk to American Airlines, Delta, United, or Southwest over the phone to see if you can get GSA deals.
  • AFGE Member Discounts — AFGE members have several options for vacation-oriented federal employee discounts: Disney World, Disney Land, Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, Colonial Williamsburg, and more.
  • Caesars Entertainment — Caesars is owned in part by Wyndham, and it offers 10% off the price of the stay of government workers at its properties, including many popular Las Vegas hotel/casinos.
  • Tropicana in Las Vegas — Since it is a Hilton hotel, this entertainment spot also offers special federal government rates.
  • SatoVacations Deals — This is part of the official government division of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, and they can help find excellent deals on your next vacation.

Other Federal Employee Discounts Other Federal Employee Discounts

Dozens and dozens of businesses, from restaurants to yoga studios, offered aid, discounts, free stuff, and deals during the shutdown. Now that the shutdown is over, however, that doesn’t mean there aren’t federal employee discounts: 2019 still has a lot to offer in terms of post-furlough federal discounts and coupons. Check the helpful site ID.me to see what you can get with your official government identification.

Commuting Deals

You can also slim down your commuting costs. One strategy might be lowering your car insurance or car payment. Car companies like Volkswagen offer discounts for government workers, and other companies, like Hyundai, offered payment relief during the shutdown. Another strategy might be to try public transit or see what sort of reimbursements or transit subsidies your agency provides.

Childcare Deals

Children may have had a difficult time during the shutdown, suffering from the effects of higher levels of stress, missed daycare payments, and overwhelmed childcare centers. If your normal situation has gotten wonky, consider shopping for a new daycare provider or trying some of these solutions:

  • KinderCare Learning Centers Childcare Subsidy Programs — If you work for the GSA, CBP, NPS, or several other government agencies, you can get lowered tuition rates at these childcare facilities.
  • FEEA Childcare Subsidies — Don’t forget that many agencies officially participate in subsidy programs that can help you pay for childcare, which can be as much as a 50% discount depending on your income.

Miscellaneous Discounts

You might think that there are no more discounts to use, but not so! Besides the few listed here, there are still more; just remember to ask and present your ID, and you’d be surprised how many small, mom-and-pop, local businesses are still helping people get back on their feet. Just ask!

If you don’t see any discounts for something you need to buy, remember that you can always find amazing deals and coupons for everyone with CouponFollow!