Jennifer Cary is a freelance writer, blogger and stay-at-home mom. She’s spent her entire life around the military and is currently a proud Army spouse. You can read her blog at Party Girl To Crunchy Mama.
When it comes to shopping at the commissary, people either love it or hate it. And while I fully understand some of the reasons people choose not to shop there – it’s too far away, it’s crowded, there’s lousy produce – there are also some good reasons to use it regularly.
1: It’s cheaper
For the most part, items at the commissary are cheaper than the same items you’d find at your local grocery store or big-box retailer. The reason the prices are so low is because commissaries are required by law to sell items with prices high enough only to cover the product’s cost (profits are not factored into the price). Other stores mark up their items to cover the price of the item, overhead costs and to make a profit. Now, I know you’re thinking but wait, sometimes the commissary is more expensive. And that’s true. Occasionally items are more expensive at the commissary. But usually, you’ll find prices about 30% lower at the commissary than on the economy.
On top of the savings you get from the sticker price, the commissary often has military specific coupons placed next to their products. What’s more, they have a rewards card so you can download coupons at home and scan them at the register. And while some people have a difficult time using coupons because they feel like it makes them look “desperate” try to remember that coupons are not a discount. They’re actually a form of payment. The commissary is literally hanging free money throughout the store just for you.
3: The selection
Yep, you read that correctly. Believe it or not, the commissary stocks a wide range of items from here and abroad. They have a great selection of food from places like Korea and Germany, especially around the holidays. They also have a section for gluten-free products and have started carrying more organic items. These items are on the expensive side so it really pays off when you buy them at the commissary for a much lower price.
4: Case lot sales
At least twice a year, the commissary will host a case lot sale. The commissary sells items in bulk, similar to the way Sam’s Club sells items. There are bargain prices on items like paper towels, wipes, canned goods, bottled drinks, frozen food and snacks. If you know a case lot sale is happening, make the trip. You won’t be disappointed.
Overall, commissary shopping isn’t for everyone. It’s not always conveniently located and let’s be honest, it can get a little crazy around payday. But for me, the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Try it out. Your bank account – and your spouse – will thank you.
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