Commissary Coupon Match-Ups

Shopping at your military commissary can mean big savings for your family. When you combine coupons with sales there are great deals.

Remember when shopping at the commissary look for the coupons on the tear pad. Sometimes these unexpected coupons can bring you the greatest savings, especially during the holidays. If you are shopping this week make sure you read my Commissary Holiday Shopping tips article so you can survive the trip!

If you want to make the most of your Commissary trip read my commissary shopping tips article. Make sure you also read the commissary coupon policy, know it before you go so you can make the most of your shopping trip!

Coupon Abbreviations SS = Smart Source Insert AY = All You Magazine P&G = Proctor & Gamble Insert RP = Redplum Insert GM = General Mills Insert

There are lots of great in store specials at the commissary this week. Look for blinkies and in store specials to make the most of your savings and the commissary!

Military Commissary Coupon Match-Ups

1/18/2012 -2/8/2012

Armour Pepperoni $0.75
Printable Coupon $1/2
Final Price $0.25

Armour Meatballs $1.75
Printable Coupon $1/2
Final Price $1.25

Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks $1.59
Printable Coupon $0.60/2
Final Price $1.29

Campbell’s Select Harvest Soup $1.25 (a few soups are $1 each)
Printable Coupon $1/3
Final Price $1.00

Cheerios $2.12
Printable Coupon $1.00/2
Final Price $1.62

Cinnamon Toast Crunch $2.12
Printable Coupon $0.50/1
Final Price $1.62

Fiber One Cereal (Assorted) $2.12
Printable Coupon $0.85/1
Final Price $1.37

Hormel Chili $0.99
Printable Coupon $0.55/2
Final Price $0.70

Musselman’s Applesauce Singles $0.99
$0.75/2 (SS 1/8)
Final Price $0.66

Oscar Mayer Lunch Meat $2.00
Printable Coupon $1/2
Final Price $1.50

Pace Picante Sauce $1.49
Printable Coupon $0.50/2
Final Price $1.25

Post Shredded Wheat $2.00
$1/2 (SS 1/15)
Final Price $1.50

Totino’s Pizza Rolls $0.99
Printable Coupon $0.40/2
Final Price $0.79

Weight Watchers Smart Ones $2.00
Printable Coupon $3/10
Final Price $1.70 each

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Commissary Holiday Shopping Tips

Shopping at your military commissary over the holidays can add up to big savings. Many staples can be purchased at the commissary for significantly less than the local stores.

Shopping during the holidays at the commissary can also be overwhelming. Long lines and empty shelves can make it not worth the trip.

Here are a few tips for holiday shopping at your local commissary.

Shop Early

The later in the month you shop, the emptier the shelves. If you shop soon (three weeks before Christmas) you’ll probably find everything you need.

Items such as vanilla, sprinkles, cinnamon, and sugar will often sell out a few days before Christmas. If you have these on your shopping list buy them now.

Don’t Shop Around Payday or the Three Days Before Christmas

The best days to shop this month will be December 7-9th and 12-14th. If you can save your Christmas money until closer to payday you’ll find fewer crowds at the store.

Shop Alone

I know this can be difficult in military families due to schedules, deployments, and duty stations far away from family. But if at all possible, shop alone. The commissary is extra crowded in December and trying to manage kids and a huge shopping list can be very stressful.

There are also more displays this time of year, just waiting to be knocked over by a curious toddler (or teenager if you are like my family).

If you don’t have any help, try swapping babysitting with another military family. It will make your shopping trip easier.

Check the Special Displays

If you can’t find an item you are looking for on the shelf check the special holiday displays. Often the commissary puts items like gravy, stuffing, bread crumbs, and spices in special displays either on end caps or in front of the meat department.

Look for Tear Pads for Additional Savings

Tear pads can often bring unexpected savings on your holiday shopping list items. Look for in-store coupons on crackers, mixes, oils, and cereals.

When you enter the commissary there is usually a display or box with additional coupons. Check the coupons to see if you can save on items you already have on your list.

Remember to Make a List and Bring Coupons

Every two weeks I post commissary coupon match-ups which will help you save additional money at the store. Making a list and marking coupon items will save you time at the store.

No matter when you shop this month it will be more crowded than usual so being prepared and organized will make the trip a little better.

Remember to Bring Your Cheerful Attitude

Nothing says Merry Christmas like a line wrapping around the back of the commissary, crowded aisles, and crying children.  Sometimes even a simple smile can bring some much needed joy into the life of a cashier or bagger.

Remember everyone shopping has the same goal, to get their groceries and get home.

It is worth it to shop at your commissary this Christmas, just remember these simple tips for an easier trip!

What is your best tip for holiday shopping at the commissary?

 

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Can You Stack Coupons at the Commissary?

A question from a reader:

Hi, I am a fellow military wife and heard from a friend of mine that the commissary accepts a military ONLY coupon and a regular
manufacturer’s coupon with 1 item… So, basically like stacking.. I always thought this was a no-no, do you know the answer, by chance?

Great question! I’ve had several people tell me that they can save big at the commissary by stacking coupons. According to the official commissary coupon policy you cannot stack coupons.

The policy states:

Customers may only use one coupon per purchase in DeCA commissaries. (A “purchase” is the item or set of items a customer must buy to meet the purchase requirements listed on the coupon.)

I have heard of cashiers allowing customers to stack coupons, but they are not following official policy.

Commissary cashiers have become much more vigilant about checking coupons before you check out so it is best to follow the commissary coupon policy and not try to break the rules by stacking. If the cashier is familiar with the policy they will not allow you to stack.

You can read more about commissary and coupons in my Extreme Couponing at the Commissary article. Don’t forget all the greatest deals and coupons for the commissary are shared twice a month in my commissary coupon match ups.

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Extreme Couponing at the Commissary?

A question from a reader:

I just finished reading “Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey.” I have to say I was so motivated by the saving that the Krazy Coupon Lady’s experienced. So my question is, Is saving that extreme only possible at civilian supermarkets, or can we really coupon and save that much at our own commissaries? Please help inquiring minds in Jax, FL would love to know?

I haven’t read the book, but I did see Joanie on the Extreme Couponing show so I have a pretty good idea of what she is saving on groceries.

The fast answer to this question is no, you can’t save that much at the commissary.

But….

You can spend less at your commissary.

I have not shopped at every commissary or every civilian store, but it has been my experience that most regular priced items at the commissary are cheaper than civilian stores.

When it comes to sales, BOGO’s and double coupons, civilian grocery stores beat the commissary most of the time.

If you are familiar with the commissary coupon policy you know that they don’t double coupons and only occasionally offer BOGO’s. They do run sales every two weeks, but they don’t have penny items, register rewards or even coupons that print on your receipt.

Because civilian stores do offer these incentives it is possible to save more on your groceries… but saving more doesn’t mean spending less. Since this reader lives in Jacksonville, Florida I’ll compare a few items that are on sale this week at Publix with the same items at the commissary. I’ll throw some coupons in the mix too, although these coupons might not all be available in real life.

Ball Park Franks

  • Publix BOGO – Buy two for $4.49
  • Commissary- $1.29 each
  • Let’s assume we had a $1/2 coupon.
  • Your final price for 2 packs of Ball Park Franks is $3.49 at Publix.
  • Commissary final price $1.58.
  • On your receipt from Publix you would have saved $5.49 but on the commissary receipt you only saved $1.
  • You saved more at Publix, but spent less at the Commissary. Even if you shopped at a store that doubled coupons you would have paid less at the commissary.

Kraft Salad Dressing

  • Publix BOGO – Buy two for $3.39
  • Commissary Sale Price $1.60 each
  • Coupon $1/2
  • Publix Final Price $2.39 for two
  • Commissary Final Price $2.20 for two

If your store doubled you would spend less buying the salad dressing at Publix.

Bush’s Baked Beans

  • Publix 3/$5
  • Commissary $1.33 each or $3.99 for 3

Since this reader lives in Florida where they do not double coupons I think she will spend less overall shopping at the commissary. The commissary is almost always cheaper on produce, dairy, and meat unless you are comparing those items to loss leaders at a civilian store.

Just because she would spend less overall at the commissary doesn’t mean she shouldn’t shop the deals at her local stores. I recommend keeping a price book to make sure it is really a great deal. Keeping a price book will also keep track of prices on non sale items, you never know- your local store might be cheaper on a few things.

The fact is, there isn’t much extreme couponing going on at the commissary. Even if you have a coupon for every single item you probably aren’t going to walk out of there paying only a few dollars for a cart full of groceries. That doesn’t mean you can’t save by shopping there… you’ll just save more shopping at your local store.

The bottom line is that for many of these extreme couponers it isn’t about buying things they need, it is about the thrill of the deal. Most of them have admitted they LOVE finding deals and will do just about anything to get an item for free (or even get paid for buying it).

I don’t think it is wrong to want to save and find deals, but the bottom line is you need to buy groceries to feed your family. One hundred packs of free toilet paper, candy bars and sports drinks do not feed your family!

Stock up when there is a sale, keep a modest stock pile, search for the best deal, but in the end remember that you need to buy food to feed your family three meals a day. Vegetables, meat, milk, and other items that don’t often have available coupons are all items you need to consider in the final equation.

Many of the coupons today are for processed food which are not the healthiest and cheapest food for your family. You can often spend less on your groceries by preparing from scratch meals with whole foods. Whole foods that are often cheaper at the commissary.

So while there is nothing wrong with wanting to emulate all those extreme couponers out there, remember to think about your total monthly grocery bill instead of just the super coupon deals. Use the techniques taught by the extreme couponers to save on items you need at your local store, then do the rest of your shopping at the commissary.

Image source: Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn

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