Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Commissary 101 (it's long...if nothing else, please see 'coupon match up' section)

*After looking at some of the feedback I wanted to repost this and make sure everything is current. The Military Mommy before me was kind enough to write this up and leave it on the site (I did add a little of what I know). I must confess I did not shop at the commissary as much as I should have, but have been going more and more lately! It makes for a huge savings! Please comment or e-mail to let me know if I left anything out or if anything needs to be changed. Thanks!**

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.

Why Shop the Commissary?

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.

Pricing Policies
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.

Bottom Line

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:

Case Lot Sale information

Commissary Locations

Commissary FAQs

Savings Isle (use this to see what is on sale at your commissary)

Subscribe to the Commissary Connection (get updates on commissary happenings)

Other Military Coupon and Matching Policies
DeCA Commissaries Coupon Policy
MCX Price Matching Policy
NEX Price Matching Policy
PX/BX/AAFES Matching Policy

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 if you have anything to add about the Commissary! Thanks!**

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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Hello! First off I would like to say that I LOVE this site! Its great!!!

I have a small question for you: Will the Commissary accept coupons that I have printed out from or will they only work for Walmart, Target etc.?

Thanks for the help! :)


Shirley said...

Our commissary in Western Pa. excepts internet coupons.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for replying Shirley, somehow I overlooked Tamara's question! And yes, all commissaries will take printed manufacture coupons. They will not take printed coupons for "Free items", but that is the only exception. I have successfully used, redplum, and other printed coupons. Hope that helps and sorry for the late response!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, that was extremely valuable and interesting...I will be back again to read more on this topic.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Brilliant site, I had not come across before in my searches!
Continue the great work!

Melinani said...

I have been a military wife 17 years now. I love the commissary, however today I am truly disappointed and upset. I have a special needs child who only drinks Pediasure. We are stationed in japan so the commisary is really the only choice we have to buy pediasure from. I have coupons family sent us for $2 off pediasure and a free chiquita apple slice single up to $1 off. I spend about $600.00 a month on pediasure at the commissary here in japan today they tell me they will not accept this manufacturers coupon because they do not carry the apple slices. Why can't they give me the $2.00 off part? i am so upset.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear this! I don't know why they are so hard to get along with when it comes to coupons...the only thing I can think of is that the manufacture will pay them back the $2 and money for the apple slices, and since they didn't sell any slices it could be considered "stealing" by them b/c they are getting money for something they didn't sell.

The one thing I would recommend is to send this info in to the Commissary here - - They are very quick to get back to you and they may be able to help.

I also recommend you e-mail pediasure and tell them your story and how much you use their product! They may be able to send you coupons or free items (some companies will do this for great customers!). We'll keep our eyes open here in the states for more pediasure coupons!

Anonymous said...

Hello there,

I have a inquiry for the webmaster/admin here at

Can I use part of the information from this blog post above if I provide a link back to this website?


Anonymous said...

Sure, thanks for asking! Please leave a link for your site, I'd love to check it out!


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