How Your MWR Saves You Money

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This article was originally published on The Military Wallet at How Your MWR Saves You Money and is protected by US copyright laws.

Morale, Welfare, & Recreation (MWR) works together across every branch of the military to support military families by making leisure and recreational activities more affordable.

The MWR offers quality of life improvements for active, Guard, or Reserve military members, their families, civilian government employees, retirees, and veterans with 100% service-connected disability. The goal of the MWR is to help these military families live the same kind of life as the civilians they’re fighting to defend.

Each branch of the United States Armed Forces has its own version of MWR services, and each MWR location is unique in what it offers. The benefits available at each location will also vary from base to base, depending on the size of the military installation that particular MWR supports.

US Army MWR Program

Although the actual services will vary by location, you will have access to free or price-reduced activities, services, and equipment. Each MWR installation or program works to improve your quality of life and help save you money.

These are just a few of the cost-saving benefits you have access to through your local MWR installation.


MWR fitness facilities offer individual and group fitness classes, help with nutrition education, swimming and diving pools, weight rooms, cardio training equipment, and more. Many of these fitness facilities also offer intramural sports programs like football, soccer, flag football, softball, and more. There’s no need to spend money on expensive civilian gym passes when you have free access to the MWR fitness facilities.


Many military installations have bowling centers where you can enjoy a round with friends, hold a birthday party, or get involved with a bowling team or league. The Army MWR alone has 80 Army bowling centers in the United States, Europe, Puerto Rico, Japan, and Korea, but every other branch has bowling centers as well. Take advantage of these lanes, and enjoy an inexpensive night out with family and friends.


Movie showings through the MWR movie program are much more affordable than showings out in town. You can expect to spend $6 per adult and $4 per child to see a movie through a Reel Time Cinema. Find out the next Reel Time Movie Theater showing at your nearest installation.


The MWR also offers affordable catering services for any size or budget. Have your MWR installation’s team of professionals cater your next wedding, birthday party, graduation celebration, or business event. The catering capabilities will vary from location to location, but all catering locations offer affordable, price-reduced services.

Conference centers

MWR conference centers offer great affordable space to rent and help you save money when planning your next family or business get together.


Each branch of the military offers a variety of golf courses both in the U.S. and abroad. Enjoy the driving range, take classes, play in tournaments, and shop the pro shop.


Save money on your recreational boating vehicles by utilizing the MWR marinas. They have boat houses, boat maintenance areas, boat ramps, dock berths, dry docking, fueling and mooring stations, and wash racks. Whatever you need to take care of your boat at a reduced price, the MWR can help.

Child care

The MWR also offers accredited family child care and youth and school-aged services at many installations. In many cases the cost is substantially lower than off-base child care, and the hours may be more forgiving for those who work military hours.

Information, tickets, and travel

The Information Tickets and Travel Program offers discount ticket sales for special events, area attractions, hotel information, and cruise booking. You will also find region-specific brochures and information. Visit your MWR ticket installation to get special, reduced-rate tickets for all military family friendly attractions, including Disney, Sea World, and other theme parks or attractions.


Instead of paying for a new book, magazine, or newspaper, use one of the MWR library facilities instead. They offer all of those resources for free, along with access to computer resources and programs. You’ll never want for access to library resources. The Navy NGLP libraries alone include more than 300 afloat and 30 shore locations. The MWR even has a digital library where you can access free eBooks and audio books, live, free tutoring for kids through, get help with a resume, and more. Check out all of the resources that the MWR digital library has to offer.

To be validated as a library customer to use the Digital Library Products & Services you will need to either log on with your Common Access Card or DS log on.

Please note that the Army and Airforce digital libraries differ from the other branches of the armed forces and can be found at their own respective links.

Take advantage of the free library services available through MWR programs, and you will have access to audiobooks, eBooks, newspapers, reference materials, and practice tests at no cost.


If you’re arriving at a new duty station or looking for a leisurely weekend away, take advantage of the MWR sponsored hotels that offer reduced rates. Besides hotels, you can also rent cabins, cottages, cabanas, lodges, RVs, and campground sites. These hotels and accommodations on and around military installations really help abate the necessary costs associated with travel. Base lodging can be a cost-effective way to save money on vacation. Here are some more ways military members can save on travel.

Guided activities, trips, and tours

Each MWR is different in their available services, but the following are just a few of the guided activities, trips, and tours that you have access to at affordable rates through your nearest installation:

  • Adventure races
  • Skiing
  • Archery
  • ATV tours
  • Backpacking
  • Sailing
  • Camping
  • Canoeing
  • Deep sea fishing
  • Golf tournaments
  • Mountain biking
  • Nature hikes
  • Paintball
  • Boating
  • Cycling
  • Surfing
  • White water rafting
  • And much, much more!

Auto Repair Facilities – AKA – Auto Hobby Shop

Many MWR installations offer self-help auto repair facilities that provides vehicle lifts, tools and a trained instructor on hand to offer assistance with your vehicle repairs. These facilities allow service members and their families to perform minor repairs to their vehicles and save on their auto-repair costs.

This is an example of the fees associated with one of the MWR auto crafts shops:

Fees & Charges:

  • Service Bay $6.50 per hour
  • Lift Bat $6.00 per 1/2 hour
  • MIG Welder $15 per hour/use
  • Tire Change
    Tires 13″ – 17″ – $8.50 per tire
    Tires 18″ – 22″ – $20 per tire
  • Balance
    Tires 13″ – 17″ – $8.50 per tire
    Tires 18″ – 22″ – $20 per tire
  • Torch $15 per hour/use
  • Oil Change $12 (Must provide own oil and filter)

If you feel comfortable around your vehicle or you’re willing to learn basic auto repair, these service bays will save you a lot of money on vehicle maintenance.

Equipment rental / Outdoor Rec

he list of rental equipment available through MWR installations is endless. You can rent jet skis, RVs, fishing or party boats, and more. They also offer Party supplies, camping equipment, moonwalks, tables, chairs, canopies, etc. Basically, anything you can imagine needing to host a party, go away for the weekend, or take part in a new sport or activity is available for a very reasonable fee.

Take advantage of these money-saving offers

To utilize the free and reduced cost services available to you and your family through the MWR, check with your local command or go online to find the nearest MWR installation. The following links will take you to the home website for the MWR of each branch of the Armed Forces.

The MWR strives to provide the same quality of life afforded to the members of society that our service members protect. Take advantage of these affordable recreational and leisure activities, and start living the life you want, knowing it’s a life you can afford.

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