I haven't been to officer basic. I got my scholarship to late and will instead take it in my off time my 4th year. I do have some stuff though.
I bought 1 full set of BDU's (with boots and all that jazz), and one full class B uniform. Total cost was about $300. A lot though is tied into the $110 boots and $50 dress shoes. At basic you will need 2 or 3 BDU uniforms and workout stuff so I would think you could spend upwards for $500 easily.
I attended COT class 03-06. Uniforms set me back ~$1600. Purchasing the Mess dress uniform was required & that alone was ~500 bucks. Add in the 3 sets of BDUs, 2-3 sets of blues + a service dress coat, PT uniforms, boots, low quarters (dress shoes), and all the insignia and you're gonna far surpass the measly 400 credit they give you with your 1st check.
Let me preface this by saying I'm referring to AF...
It's out of pocket costs. If I were you though, I wouldn't invest in too many sets of BDUs... they'll be obsolete soon when the new ones roll out. If you live near an Army or Navy surplus store, I would go check out the availability of inexpensive BDUs. Just make sure that they are not faded. Some bases even have thrift stores where you can purchase some of these items at a discounted price. And burs is correct. The mess dress uniform will cost you an arm and a leg. The female version is more expensive than the male counterpart. Just the shoulder boards with the rank are approx $35.
There are ways of saving money. You just have to know where to look.
I tried posting this a second ago, so sorry if this is a double.
Go to any on-base or near-base dry cleaner's. They will have lots of all kinds of uniforms that were never picked up. You can get tops and bottoms for like 5 dollars each, and might only have to change the name and rank if you're lucky (I did). It's best to try a bigger base where there a lot of people coming and going.
there's also a couple of places that rent uniforms right off base near Maxwell. they don't make mess dress coats in my size so rather than spend $600 to have one custom made I just rented mine for less than $30 for the dining out. just a thought
besides, unless you're really into the pomp and circumstance of schmooze-fests, dining out really isn't that much fun. graduating with your buddies is great but sucking up to the general's wife is no fun.
enjoy COT though, the experience was magnificent. i made lots of friends whom I still keep in touch with
if you go to the COT website it'll list what you need. you do need everything on the list, though the mess dress is only used once for dining out. you will use it during active duty for Christmas parties and such, but that's a long way off.
you probably ought to just buy everything at COT, except for the mess dress. they'll take you to the uniform shop on the first day and the people there know exactly what you need. it's much easier that way. tell them you don't want the mess dress yet, then ask your FTO where the uniform rental place is (it's just outside one of the Maxwell gates).
Nope. Everything's paid for. You get a per diem for meals which is more than sufficient. Travel is paid. The only thing that isn't is uniforms. It'll eat pretty much most of your first paycheck but then you end up making about $1500 by the end of COT from remaining salary and reimbursements.
Don't worry about it though, you'll be fine. I stressed beforehand too, but you'll still make more than when on reserve. COT is so much fun too. There's a huge word document on the COT site that you can download to give you more info if you like.