2015 Basic Allowance for Subsistence

The 2015 Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) rates have been released.  The 2015 rates are 2.9%  higher than the 201 rates, which means that the actual rates are:

Enlisted: $367.92 per month, a $9.37 increase over the 2014 rate of $357.55 a month.

Officers: $253.38 per month, a $7.14 increase over the 2014 rate of $246.24 a month.

These higher rates are effective 1 January 2015 and will be reflected in the 15 January 2015 paycheck.

BAS is an allowance paid to every military service member to defray the cost of their meals.  It is not designed to pay for the meals of families.  Because BAS is paid, military members may be charged for their meals provided by the Department of Defense.

This seems like a great place to mention that if you are being charged for meals, because you’re attached to a ship or live in the barracks and have a dining facility available to you, it makes financial sense to eat the meals for which you are paying!  I often see soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are paying for meals and eating everywhere BUT the ship or dining hall.  I understand that you might not always want to eat what’s available, but try not to make a habit of eating elsewhere.  That’s money straight out of your pocket that you could be using for something fun!

The annual adjustments to basic allowance for subsistence are tied to changes in food prices as measured by the annual change in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cost of Food at Home Index. From October 2013 through September 2014, the index rose by 2.9 percent, which then justified increased BAS rates.

I was surprised at how many people responded to my question about why they searched for BAS rates, so this year I am asking a new question:  How do you think of BAS when factoring your overall spending plan?  Thanks in advance for your  answers – I learn a lot from you.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Nate

    Prior to Calendar Year 2015, enlisted service members received almost exactly the same amount of money per month as it cost to eat at the galley (or mess hall).

    In 2015, the cost for eating at the galley went up by almost 17%, while the BAS rate only went up by 2.9%. This means that enlisted members will be paying nearly $50 per month out of pocket, even if they eat 100% of their meals in the galley.

    These new rates mean that at my installation, it is now cheaper to eat the $5 special at the MWR café than it is to pay $5.55 at the galley.

    • woodpecker

      Good observation. However, you can eat more food at the galley and generally eat healthier. Besides that, pack a lunch. You are financially behind if you are not bringing meals from your home.

    • Bethany

      I hadn’t noticed this. Is it common for people to eat three meals a day in the galley if they’re not issued a meal card? Those issued a meal card pay the discount meal rate which is $10.45/day or $313.50-323.95/month, so they will see a little more BAS left over each month compared to last year.

  • Old CS

    Those issued a meal card don’t receive BAS.

    • Bethany

      Actually, they do. All servicemembers except those in their initial training receive BAS. If they have a meal card, they then have $10.45/day (the discount meal rate) deducted from their pay.

  • Rcguy

    if i rate Comrats when i was a Fap and dont change it and dont get a meal card, are they going to charge me, for not having a mealcard?

    • Mike

      No, as long as you dont have meal card you cannot be charged. Same thing happened to me and i had it for over a year and a half.

  • Rick C

    I am glad that I don’t have to eat in a “dining facility” anymore. The food was bland, and let’s face it, stuff that couldn’t sell at the commissary. Had the senior officers eaten there everyday, I expect the quality would have risen very quickly, but since they didn’t, the expectation was low. Too bad commanders and chiefs didn’t battle more for the eating establishments or the living quarters out junior enlisted had to put up with.

  • Jessica

    I am waiting for a form to get signed to get off meal card due to medical reasons, and half been waiting for a month and a half for my wing commander to sign the form, within the past 2 months i have eaten at the DFac maybe 3-4 times, so can i get my $10.45/day back for all the days i didn’t use it? Because these contractors are basically getting free money and i am going broke trying to buy foods that won’t make me sick.