MacDill Happenings

Things to Do in and around MacDill AFB

Archive for the ‘News’

5 Money Saving Tips

October 14, 2014 By: Laura Category: News, Self Improvement, Things to do No Comments →

piggy_bank courtesy of takeiteasyinlife

With the Holiday season just around the corner you may be looking at ways to save a little cash. I recently saw a few articles on tips on saving money and came up with a few of my own that apply to those of us living here in the MacDill AFB area. I was also inspired by recent articles posted on the blog. One article discussed how to learn to  save with the Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace program. My niece actually took a class on this subject.  Here is my take on saving a combination on several sources;

  1. Eat at home.  I used to budget my grocery bill around a 7-day a week menu. I soon realized I needed to rethink that and budget in my dinners out. I also try to find restaurants who offer a military discount or a kids eat free deal. PDQ has recently started offering a military discount on the first Monday of every month.
  2. Shop wisely. Look for stores that offer a military discount, senior citizen discount or any discount that might apply. For example I believe Joanne’s and Micheal’s both offer teacher discounts. Old Navy, American Eagle, Lowe’s and Home Depot are just a few of the stores that offer military discounts. Ask everywhere you go what discounts are offered. Use the commissary, this is a great place for your bulk items, cereals, meats and canned goods. Use your local produce markets for produce.
  3. Watch the thermostat. A programmable thermostat is a great way to keep utility bills down.
  4. Prepare a budget. While preparing your budget be realistic. Don’t tighten your purse strings so tight you do not have any money to enjoy a night out etc.. One tip I saw is pick two days a week that you  would not spend any money. No Starbucks Tuesdays could be a possibility.
  5. Educate yourself. See what courses are offered on base, through your work place, community college or your church.

What tips do you use to save money?  Do you have a favorite restaurant or store that offers a military discount? I would love for you to share you ideas here on the blog or on our Facebook page.

If you are saving money to buy a home take a look at all the great home has listed in the MacDill AFB area.

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Use Your VA Home Loan to Buy a House!

October 13, 2014 By: Laura Category: News No Comments →

sold courtesyofactiverain

A VA home loan is one of the best benefits that a veteran or as an active duty service member is entitled to use.  The VA doesn’t provide the mortgage but they guarantee a portion of the loan so that the lender can provide you with more favorable terms.

With a VA home loan, you can purchase a house without a down payment. There is not a private mortgage insurance premium requirement. There is a limit to the amount you can be charged for closing costs. Closing costs may be paid by the seller. The lender can’t charge you a penalty fee if you pay the loan off early. You don’t have to be a first-time buyer and you can reuse the benefit. And the loan is assumable as long as the person assuming the loan qualifies.

Your real estate agent will work with you on using a VA loan. With the large number of veterans and active duty service members in the Tampa Bay area, you will find many real estate agents and mortgage brokers experienced in using VA loans. There may be a little more paperwork involved with a VA loan, but not having to put any money down is too good to pass up.

This article by a guest blogger on the MilitaryByOwner website will provide more info on VA loans.

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Cards For Troops

September 25, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Events, News, Self Improvement, Things to do No Comments →


Whether you are a paper “crafter” or not you will enjoy this event being held October 4th at Center Place in Brandon.

In October 2006 the Paper Crafts Magazine designated the first Saturday of October as World Card Making Day. The idea was to promote sending home made cards and communicating through the written word not a text message. Here in the MacDill A.F.B. area with so many military families it is a great day to get together and make cards for our military heroes serving overseas.

A few years ago Center Place of Brandon, Florida decided to make the first Saturday of October their celebration of World Card Making day by holding Cards For Troops. The event has now become an annual event. The idea is to make homemade holiday cards that are blank inside to allow the deployed service members a chance to write their own hand written sentiment and then send the cards back to their families. All of the materials are either purchased with donations or donated to Center Place. A committee begins meeting in August to design and then begin cutting the card stock and embellishments to be used to decorate the cards. The group designs 15 different cards and on October 4th 175 cards of each design are glued, glittered and stamped by volunteers. I have participated with the design committee and the assembly.  It is a great way to meet new people and the lunch donated by so many businesses in the area is delicious!

If you would like to participate in the Cards For Troops event here are the details:

  • Date: October 4th 2014
  • Time: 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
  • Place: Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association Inc.
  • Must be 16 years or older to attend (see details for children’s night)
  • Donations can be made at the door
  • For more information and to make a reservation or donation call 813-685-8888.
  • If you know of any deployed service members who cards could be sent to please give Center Place a call with the information.

This is also an opportunity for  children to make cards. The kids will have their own special night of card making on Wednesday October 8th from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. again give center place a call to make a reservation.

I hope to see all of you at Center Place .

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Tax Free Weekend for Appliances!

September 20, 2014 By: Laura Category: News No Comments →

This weekend is Tax Free Weekend for Appliances in Florida!


The first $1,500 of energy efficient refrigerators, dishwashers, washers, dryers and air conditioners are tax exempt. You also do not have to pay sales tax on efficient light bulbs, ceiling fans.

The tax is also waived on toilets, faucets and other items that cut down on water consumption.

The tax break is limited to a single purchase for each item that costs $500 or more. There is no limit for items that are worth less than $500.

Sales tax is 6% in Florida. So you can save quite a bit of money today if you were planning on buy the nice new shiny appliance this weekend!

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Free Movie at the MacDill AFB Theater on Thursday

September 17, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, News No Comments →

This Thursday the free movie at the MacDill AFB movie theater will be “The Amazing Spider Man-2″. The movie starts at 5:30pm.

YouTube Preview Image

In this movie, Spider-Man protects his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city including Electro played by Jamie Foxx. This movie explores the human side of Spider-Man and the tragedies his must endure.

Anyone can attend this movie. Plus you can bring your own food and drinks. Just make sure that you clean up after yourself! The air conditioner is pretty good in the theater so make sure you bring a light jacket or even a blanket to share. If you want to have a little dinner before the movie, then stop by SeaScapes Beach Club or Ten Pin Grill at the MacDill Lanes.

SeaScapes Beach House on the MacDill AFB beach gives you a great view of  Tampa Bay.  Sip a few cocktails or just enjoy the great food.  The Ten Pin Grill is a great place for a snack or a full meal. From burgers to pizza to kids meal, you will find something at the Grill that should please any appetite.

MacDill Happenings is brought to you by Militarybyowner Advertising, Inc., your resource for MacDill AFB Off-Base Housing!

Is It Time to Move to a Condo?

September 15, 2014 By: Laura Category: News No Comments →


My husband and I have hit a point in our lives where all the kids have moved out to college or graduated from college and are out on their own. We have one left at home who will finish up her senior year of high school in June and then go off to college in September. Living in a large home with no kids makes the house seem way too large! My husband is not big on gardening and so maybe it is time to downsize! Maybe a condo is the right move for anyone feeling like us!

One of the staff writers on MilitaryByOwner has written an article “Is it Time to Buy a Condo?” that might be helpful with your decision. It is just a fact of life that sometimes a large house can be too much to keep up with and a condo might be better especially if traveling or doing more things away from the house is in your future.

Although you might be living a little bit closer to people and maybe parking might be a little less easily available, owning condo might make good financial sense even if you are just starting out. As landlord, condos are little more easier to maintain since there is a condo association to take care of the outside. You just have to ensure that tenants take care of the inside.

In South Tampa and downtown Tampa, there are many condos being built, for sale or for rent in these popular and growing areas of Tampa. These areas are also just a 5 to 15 minute drive from MacDill AFB. There are plenty of new condos and townhouses being built in nearby suburbs of Tampa. Many of these locations will be within a 30 minute drive of MacDill AFB.

MacDill Happenings is brought to you by Militarybyowner Advertising, Inc., your resource for MacDill AFB Off-Base Housing!

MacDill Lanes Bowling Specials

September 12, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, News, Sports No Comments →

If you’re bowler or looking to take the family out for a night of bowling, then head over the MacDill Lanes for some of the best and most affordable bowling in Tampa! The 12-lane facility offers a family friendly location for bowling, video games, billiards and a great grill that offers something for everyone.


On Fridays and Saturdays after 6pm until 10pm, a game costs $3 a person. On Sundays from noon to 6pm, a game costs $2.50 a person. Shoe rental is $2 a pair.

The pro shop has everything you need from bowling balls to shoes and everything in between.

The Ten Pin Grill has something for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The prices are very reasonable!

If you’re looking to have a birthday party at a great venue, then the MacDill Lanes is the place to go!

And now that football season has started, you can catch NFL football starting at 1pm on Sunday at MacDill Lanes!

This page is brought to you by your one stop for military relocation.

ID Card Information for MacDill AFB

September 10, 2014 By: Laura Category: News, Self Improvement No Comments →

Macdill AFB


Do you need to update your military ID card? Maybe a member of your family is getting their first ID card. Well here is some information to hopefully make the transaction a smooth one.

First, the military ID card customer service office is located at 8011 Tampa Point Blvd., Building 373, MacDill AFB. You can follow the signs found along Bayshore drive. The office is closed on the third Monday  of every month to all customers.

The best way to get an ID or CAC card is to make an appointment.  By clicking on this appointment button you will be able to view what times and dates are available. If you are getting more than one ID card you will have to book an appointment for each member of your party. Also if you are more than 15 minutes late you forfeit your appointment. Make sure you jot down your confirmation number in case you need it to cancel or reschedule your appointment. If you have any questions on this you can give the customer service office a call at 813-828-6673.

The MacDill AFB customer service office does offer walk in service on a limited schedule. You can use the walk in service Mondays from 7:30a.m. until 11:00a.m. Tuesday thru Friday you can walk in from 7:30a.m. until 9:30a.m.

The ID office does offer military priority Monday thru Friday from 7:30a.m.-9:30a.m. This is only for the military member if you need to bring in dependents they will need to use the walk in service or make appointments on line.

Tips for making the transaction go smoothly:

  • Bring all required documents.
  • Have 2 forms of valid ID (a Veterans Affairs ID will not be accepted)
  • Make sure you have updated all of you DEERS information before arriving
  • If your sponsor will not be accompanying you make sure to have a valid “General/Special” Power of Attorney or a signed and notarized DD form 1172-2.

For more information on what to bring , what services are offered and when to use the office go to information.

Getting a new ID card for many military families can be stressful and yet exciting for those getting their first card. As a military dependent turning 10 and getting your first ID card was something we all looked forward to! Using the above information and planning ahead should make it a little less stressful. Maybe you can grab lunch at one of the food-trucks on base!

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Business Advertising With

September 09, 2014 By: Laura Category: News, Self Improvement No Comments →

advertising blog

Do you own a business in the MacDill AFB area? Would you like to share your business with newcomers to the area? Do you think your business would be helpful to military families looking for a new home to rent or buy in the Tampa Bay area? If so then you need to take a look at the changes recently added to the advertising package. offers to advertising packages to meet your needs.

Both of these packages will allow customers coming to’s MacDill AFB page an opportunity to view your advertising space.

The new features of the ad packages allows you the advertiser the ability to customize your ad to fit your needs. Some of the new features included are:

  • A link to “View Advertiser Features”.
  • The ability to list other bases that you do business in. (Just allows listing the info not an entire new ad for another base).
  • A space for two contact numbers is provided.
  • New Social Media tools-buttons for all of your social media accounts.
  • You will have the ability to give a detailed description of your experience, certification, awards and any professional designations you may have earned.
  • The ability for Realtors and Property Managers to list all of their listings with their advertisement.

With all of these great upgrades who wouldn’t want to advertise on our MacDill AFB page? As of now most of our advertisers are involved with the Real Estate market . But this would also be a great place to advertise your dental practice, medical office, plumbing company, electrical business, day care or a handyman service. I have found on the social media sites I belong to these types of businesses seem to be what newcomers and home owners in the area are searching for.

I can not wait to see all the new advertisers on the MacDill AFB base page. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the new features. You can always like us on our Facebook page our Tweet at us at @MacDill Happenin.

If you have any questions or would like to place an ad you can go to or give the office a call at 866-604-9126.


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More Labor Day Weekend Fun!

August 29, 2014 By: Laura Category: Events, News No Comments →

This weekend is an opportunity to get out enjoy the last traditional weekend of the summer! It’s a little different in Tampa, because school has already started and the best weather of the year is just a few weeks away. No snow, but great outdoor weather will soon be here! And there still a lot of great things to do here.


Courtesy of the Tampa Bay Rays

  • The Tampa Bay Rays start a 4-game series against the Boston Red Sox tonight.  The first pitch is at 7:10pm and Chris Archer will be on the mound for the Rays.  Go Rays!
  • Tonight at MOSI admission is $5 after 6pm for the “After Dark and Food Truck Rally”.
  • On Saturday, the Capitol Theater in downtown Clearwater will show two classic disaster movies from the 70′s “The Poseidon Adventure” and “The Towering Inferno”.  Start time is 7pm.
  • This is also the last weekend for active duty military families to take advantage of the Blue Star Initiative for free admission to various museums.
  • All weekend long is the Tarpon Spring Docks Arts and Crafts Festival with plant, food and of course Arts and Crafts.
  • On Sunday after 5pm, the Florida Aquarium is offering $15 admission!

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