Welcome to Commissary 101. Let's start with a little information about the commissary. The commissary is usually on or near a military base. All branches have them, although they may be called different things by different branches. Here is the coupon policy for the commissaries.
Good question! Well, basically to save. The average commissary savings vs. commercial grocery stores is 30% , an average of $3,400/yearly for a family of four. Yes, there are times when certain items may be cheaper 'out on town' (usually when the store is offering B1G1 free and you stack coupons), but the 30% savings is based on your entire grocery bill, not just those certain items.
Why is it so cheap?
"Commissaries are required by law to sell items at prices set only high enough to recover item cost, with no profit or overhead factored into item price, and our pricing procedures adhere rigorously to this legislative requirement. "Basically this is saying that the commissaries sell the items for cost (what they paid), plus a 5% surcharge that goes towards the building of new commissaries.
I have heard people say that the commissary raises prices on or near paydays...this is not true. The commissaries DO NOT make a profit. The prices change on or near the 1st and the 16th of the month, every month. Sometimes the prices do go up and sometimes the prices go down on these days. The prices change according to how much the items were purchased for from the supplier. The commissaries are broken up into regions and the costs are pretty comparable to each other, although they do differ, depending on cost of living and other factors.
Sales...ohhh, the sales
Sometimes, the commissaries will get a deal where a supplier will want to get rid of extra product, and that means one thing...GREAT DEALS for us. These will sometimes last a a day or two or until they are sold out. Also, ALWAYS look at the prices, they change ALL the time. I have found that a lot of times the bigger item will be cheaper, not just per oz, but over all.
Here's the deal. I shop at the commissary 90% of the time. The reason I would go to another grocery store is if they are having B1G1 free deals or they accept another competitors coupons AND manufacturers coupons (one of my local stores doubles and triples coupons which can make for big savings on sale items..the only time I find the price better than the commissary on packaged food). I will also go to another store for the produce when it is on sale, that is one of the only times I notice the price of produce rivals that of the commissary.
Other Helpful Information from the Commissary:
Savings Isle (use this to see what is on sale at your commissary)
Subscribe to the Commissary Connection (get updates on commissary happenings)
COUPON MATCH UP-It is DECA's policy to not allow anyone to post prices of items at the commissary. Their view is the prices are to the benefit of authorized patrons and because I can't monitor who sees this (such as non-military people) then I can't post the prices. Or I'll be banned for life (at least that is what it sounds like...ha,ha). This makes it very hard to have a coupon/ad match up like I want you to have each week. What I will do is try what I've seen on other blogs, I will post the items on sale with the coordinating coupons so you are prepared and show any items I use coupons on to get great deals. If you can think of any other ideas, PLEASE let me know.
**Please comment below (or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have anything to add about the Commissary! Thanks!**