How To Get Uniform Pieces For Cheap (or FREE!)

 In Military, Zero Waste

It’s not a lie that getting promoted is exciting, but also expensive.  Who knew that all the different uniform pieces you need cost so much?  For my husband’s last promotion, I was determined not to spend a crazy amount of money so I set out to find everything either for free or super cheap.  Luckily, I got almost everything he needed for under $50! Here’s a few tips and tricks to get insignia at a discount (or for free!)



When we found out he was selected for promotion, I started regularly visiting the thrift shop.  I found several pieces that he needed for a dollar or less. We were also in transit for two months before he got promoted, spending time at a few different bases.  I made it a point to visit each one’s thrift shop. My favorite find was a pair of still in package shoulder boards for $5. Those run around $60, so I was SUPER excited.

Just be careful.  Some thrift stores only allow service members to purchase uniform pieces. In that case, I would just stash the pieces I needed somewhere until I could get a service member to purchase them for me…whether that was my husband or a kind stranger I’d ask in the store lol.  Yup…I was that wife.  Pro tip- have cash on hand in case you need someone to purchase something for you!


Believe it or not, I bought several pieces for extremely inexpensive and even had a few given to me by the tailor shop.  One kind lady even handed me a basket of patches and said, “here you go, just grab whatever you like or need.” I was shocked. I found several pieces that my husband needed for $0.


A lot of people don’t want their insignia once they’ve promoted, so there’s no harm in asking if anyone wants things taken off their hands.  The great thing about the military community is that there’s no shame in the saving a couple bucks game.  People will most likely be willing to help you out if they can.  My husband has given several of his pieces away to people once he’s moved to the next rank.  

What are some of the ways you’ve gotten uniform pieces for cheap?  Share the love by leaving a comment below!


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