Tips for shopping at the commissary

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Does shopping at the Commissary really save you money? My answer, it depends. From my experience as a 11 year military wife, it depends on the state you live in, the surrounding areas, and the time at which you shop.

If the cost of living is higher where you are stationed, then the Commissary is always the place to go. If the nearest grocery store is 25 minutes away from post, then the Commissary is cheaper after you factor in gas, etc.. To each its own, but here are my personal tips for saving at the Commissary:

  1. Utilize the in-store coupons. They are hard to miss because they are located on the shelf by the item, or stuck to the product itself. Need a tip to keep up with these while you shop? Use an old fashioned wooden clothes pin and pin them to your cart!
  2. Check for coupons at the front of the store. Usually Maxi Saver inserts are located around the doors and there are chock full of coupons!
  3. You can have coupons scanned electronically. Simply ask for a Commissary Rewards card at checkout, register here and load coupons straight to your card. 
  4. Know what is on sale ahead of time. Just like shopping at any store, you want to scope out the deals and plan your meals around that. The sales can be found at commissaries.com for ID holders. Simply click the “What’s on Sale” tab on the right hand side of the screen.
  5. Take advantage of Case Lot Sales. Also known as truckload sales, you can buy in bulk for a special military price. Great savings are always found and remember, if you do not have room to store, you can split the order with a military neighbor. 
  6. Sign up at militaryshoppers.com and you will receive DECA deals and coupons. 
  7. Shopping at the Commissary is tax free! However there is a 5% surcharge for better improvement and maintenance of all Commissaries.

Try to shop the week before payday since most every family at the same duty station will be shopping on pay day. Does this save you money? No, but it will save your sanity.

Keep in mind that typically the Commissary prices are already lower. It may not seem like an ‘Extreme Couponing” trip shopping at the Commissary — your savings may be lower than another that shops at a location that has price inflation, only to have big sales. Remember to think about your out of pocket costs rather than percent saved when shopping at the Commissary.

Thrifty Tiff, (Tiffani Taff) is a Military wife and mom to 4. She writes daily on tips and tricks to save you time and money while learning how to live and love life on a budget. She is a DealPro for Savings.com and teaches Savings Nation Classes to teach others how to save greatly on their grocery budget.

(Source: Savings.com)

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