Shopping on base at your commissary saves you money on your grocery bill. In fact, market basket comparisons show that your commissary consistently saves you about 32%--before your coupon savings are factored in.
Because commissaries sell at cost and negotiate the best possible prices for the products they sell, commissary shoppers saved almost $2.8 billion on their purchases in 2011. And coupon-friendly policies allowed shoppers to earn more than $110 million in additional savings at the commissary, which has been consistently ranked in the top 10 for retailers that redeem the most coupons.
One of the many unique features about shopping at your commissary is the availability of coupons right in your store. Manufacturers work closely with magazines and coupon distributors to place their coupons in flyers and publications that are available for free as you check in to the commissary.
“Manufacturers reimburse us in full for valid coupons that meet their terms and conditions, which is a great opportunity for us to help customers save even more on their grocery purchases,” said Chris Burns, DeCA’s (Defense Commissary Agency) director of sales. “Manufacturers also release military- and commissary-only coupons for use in our stores that are not valid in retail stores – another opportunity to save that is available exclusively to military shoppers.”
Remember too that DeCA redeems coupons that you’ve downloaded from the internet. Online coupons allow you to plan your shopping excursion in advance at-home, add coupons to your shopping list and maximize your savings. If you are a registered visitor to MilitaryLife.com, just click here to see current promotional pricing at your commissary and create your shopping list, then match coupons with the discounted items to really save!
One of the biggest online sites is Coupons.com where you’ll find hundreds of coupons. Like most coupon sites, you can browse through the site, select the coupons that interest you, and with a simple click of the print button you’ll have coupons ready to redeem.
Redplum.com is another site you can check out. You may recognize the name Redplum as they are one of the largest distributors of coupon booklets which are often found inserted into your local newspaper. The site allows you to fill in your zip code to see how you can find their coupon booklets in your area and also has a print and online magazine with excellent food articles and recipes.
Another highly rated site is GrocerySmarts.com. The site adds new coupon listings each day so you are encourage to visit often. Coupons are shown in a printed list so you can scan them quickly and grouped together by brand. The site can be a little cumbersome to navigate for first timers but the advantage is the volume of coupons available.
Another great way to get electronic coupons is to follow your favorite brands on Facebook. Manufacturers often run specials for their "Facebook friends". Sign up for newsletters from your favorite manufactures—they often include coupons and many have military specific sites such as Unilever's www.operationintouch.com.
Fraudulant use of coupons is serious business so keep these rules in mind. Obtaining coupons from a clipping service almost always violates the manufacturers' coupon-redemption policies. Any sale or transfer voids the coupon. Photocopying coupons is illegal. Scanning a coupon into a computer and printing it is no different. Each coupon has a unique print identifier.
You also can't photocopy printable online coupons. The practice known as decoding is also a form of coupon fraud. Decoding occurs when a customer uses a high-value coupon on an inexpensive item within the same brand line for which the coupon was not intended – thus getting the product for a significant discount. A switch to a new bar code system is under way that will eventually eliminate decoding. Be especially aware of coupons that are e-mailed to you for free products as they are usually counterfeit. The commissary will not accept internet coupons for free products, however, "Buy One Get One Free" coupons are acceptable if they meet all other requirements. For a list of the commissary's rules on coupon usage go to www.commissaries.com.