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Friday, January 8, 2010

Guest Post: Commissary Shopping

Attention Commissary Shoppers! Beth over at Saving Like Crazy has coupon match-ups just for you!
Check it out!

Beth's Bio:
When I'm not bargain shopping, I am a busy mommy to 3 beautiful children ages 6, 4 and 1. I enjoy volunteering for my daughter's school's PTO and my church. I like to travel, be outdoors, keep in touch with friends and family, and blog about great deals! I constantly count my blessings for the freedoms that we have in this country, and I'm grateful to all of you military families out there that sacrifice every day for those freedoms!

Getting to know the Commissary:
Last November when we arrived at our first Air Force duty station, we shopped the commissary religiously. I had always heard that commissary shopping was one of the great advantages to being in the military. Cheap groceries close by, no sales tax, etc. Now that I have a year of experience under my belt, I'm a little bit smarter and more strategic about my trips to the commissary. If you've ever shopped there, you've probably noticed that some things are NEVER a better price than what you can get at Wal-Mart, Target, or your local grocery store. You may have also noticed that some things are almost always lower at the commissary. In February of 2009, I joined the coupon craze, and I realized that there are TONS of things that can be had for cheaper by shopping sales and matching them up with coupons. However, I still go to the commissary occasionally, and I still do find great deals there. Some of the things that I have been able to buy really cheap lately include ground beef, boneless skinless chicken breasts, cream cheese, rolls of sausage, taco seasoning, household cleaning supplies, canned vegetables, cereal, razors, deodorant, and frozen pizzas, among other things.
For me, there are a few keys to commissary shopping:

First and foremost, it's worth the time to go through the list of sale items and match up coupons ahead of time. Hopefully I've done most of the dirty work for you and now you just need to dig out your coupons!

Second, be sure to grab the coupon flyers available at the front of the store.

Third, as you're walking through the store, be sure to check the tear pad coupons. I've been able to get a few things extremely inexpensively and even free using the tearpad coupons.

Finally, if you're just stopping in for a few things, absolutely use the self check out. For anybody who is not aware, commissaries charge a 5% surcharge based on the amount you spend, but does not charge sales tax. If you're like me and live in an area where groceries are not taxed anyway, you need to factor the extra expense in.

Additionally, the baggers at the commissary work strictly for tips, so depending on how much you buy, you'll need to work at least a few dollars into the budget for a tip. Hence, my love for the self check out. Since I don't do the majority of my shopping at the commissary, I prefer to just cruise through the self checkout and carry my two bags to the car myself. If I buy more, I do go through the regular check out, and I do try to generously tip the bagger, which is really difficult for a frugal coupon shopper like myself. :)

Check out Beth's deals here. Keep in mind she is blogging out of CO. So some deals may vary.

I did a little research and found the 5 closest commissary's to me!
Mountain Home AFB
Nas Fallon
Find the closest one to you here.

Thanks Beth! Hope this helps out some of our military families!

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