Shopping

Many times as a spouse you may move to a new state, city or even country.  This makes it very hard and confusing to learn new stores to shop at.  I will highlight how you can still shop at your favorite store even though you may not have a physical brick and mortar store nearby through online shopping.  Many stores offer free shipping and coupon codes to make your online shopping experience very similar to shopping in store.  Also, in this section we will highlight amazing deals you can score at the Commissary and Exchanges with coupons.   If you ever score an amazing deal or spot a deal please feel free to share with your military spouse community at Military Spouse Living.  We hope this section helps you save money and score amazing deals.  Happy Shopping!!

Commissary is a benefit to military and dependents.Defense Commissary Agencies (DECA, also known as Commissaries) is the military grocery store.  This is a benefit you should take advantage of.

Go HERE to see the Commissary Deals


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How to shop at the Commissary:

Here is the link to their coupon policy: Click HERE to read the DECA policy.  I do warn you to not attempt to print the policy as it is extremely long.  If in store and you have a question you can pull it up on your phone or you can ask to read the store copy which will be at the customer service desk.  

How to use coupons at the Commissary (Defense Commissary Agency):

  • All coupons found at the Commissary are manufacturer’s coupons.  The Commissary does NOT released store coupons.  Some coupons might say military store coupon, military manufacturer’s coupon, military coupon, etc…  regardless what the coupon states they are all manufacturer’s coupons.  For reference which applies for all coupons and stores, the easiest way to tell a store coupon from a manufacturer coupon is looking at the fine print. If it in the fine print there is a sentence To Retailer mail this coupon here to xyz to be reimbursed + get $.0x for shipping that means the coupon is a manufacturer’s coupon. This is how we know all military store coupons are manufacturer’s coupons because all coupons will say to mail the coupon somewhere. A store will never waste its money to mail their own store coupons back to their corporate office so looking for an address is the easiest way to look  to determine if a coupon is a manufacturer’s coupon vs a store coupon. Remember no store coupons at commissary! 
  • So why did I go into this whole long paragraph above about store coupons.  That is to explain the Commissary does NOT allow stacking.  Stacking is when some stores allow a store coupon with a manufacturer’s coupon.
  • Commissary has a rewards card.  The rewards card is all manufacturer coupons.  Remember you cannot stack manufacturer coupons so you cannot use a paper coupon and a rewards card ecoupon on one product.  Also, most paper coupons will be higher value than the coupons you can load on your card.  Therefore, you want to make sure you have the greatest savings so the best bet is to have all paper coupons scanned first than your rewards card scanned last.  The reason why you want to scan your rewards card last is to ensure you use your paper coupons first which are usually higher value for greatest savings. 
  • Special Orders is where you can place an order for a product.  All you need is the UPC number to request.  If you have products at home that the commissary doesn’t carry you can bring the UPC in and ask if the commissary can start carrying this product.  If the commissary is out of a product, you can take a picture of the price tag and in small numbers (a long list of numbers) is the UPC.  You can ask to special order the product they are out of stock of.  This is extremely important for couponers.  If there is a mass amount of couponers in an area the hot deals might always be gone.  Therefore, special order the product and you will receive within 2 weeks.  I suggest to always order more than the coupons you have in case you are able to find more for when you order comes in.  Once your order is in, you do not need to get all that is in your order.  If your coupons expires before your order comes in you do not need to accept the special order.  Coupons have cycles so the commissary will keep the order and fill the store shelves.  You will only pay for the special order after the order comes in.  Also, you will place the special order at the customer service desk or often called the cash cage. 
  • You can use foreign language coupons as long as the english translation is printed on the coupon.
  • The commissary does NOT price match.
  • If a coupon states “No Cash back” that means the Commissary is to price adjust the coupon down to the price of the item if the item is less than the stated coupon value.  If the price of the item is higher than the price of the coupon, you will get the maximum value of coupon and pay the difference of the coupon. Proctor & Gamble coupons all state in fine print “No Cash Back”.  If the price of the item is less than the price of the coupon you will get the product for FREE! 
  • The commissary does allow overages.  Meaning if the price of the coupon is higher than the price of the item, if the coupon allows you will get the full value of the coupon which makes an overage.  I usually use my overage for milk, eggs and meat!  
  • If you ever have a negative subtotal from buying just overages, the commissary will give cash back.  You will get up to $25 back in cash.  Anything over $25 will be given back as a commissary gift card.
  • Commissary accepts FREE coupons that are mailed from manufacturer’s.  I suggest emailing your favorite brands and ask for coupons to be mailed.  
  • The commissary will NOT accept FREE printed coupons. 
  • You can redeem a manufacturer coupon with another stores logo as long as the coupon does not state “Redeem ONLY at Store XYZ”  
  • You are charged a 5% surcharge on your purchase before coupons.  Keep this in mind as some states have no tax on grocery items.  Some states have less than 5% tax.  A surcharge is similar to a tax.  The commissary is tax free.  The surcharge is to help cover the operating expense of the Commissary like receipt paper, future remodels, bags, etc… 
  • Sales happen at the Commissary from the 1st of the month till the 14th.  The second sale of the month will happen the 15th – end of the month.  I have noticed that many items will go off sale for a few days around pay day.  I typically shop off pay day weekends.
  • You can use up to 36 like coupons as long as the coupon itself does not have a lower limit.  For example, Proctor & Gamble coupons limit 4 like coupons so you would only be able to use 4.  If the coupon does not have a limit, the commissary limits you to 36 like coupons.
  • Go HERE to read the latest revision of the Commissary Store Policy.




Shopping at Case Lot Sales: 

When Shopping at Case Lot sales you should know that each item in the case is a purchase; therefore, if you are buying a case you can use coupons for each item in the case.

Example: You purchase a case of dial hand soaps which contains 8 products.  You can use a coupon for each product.  If the coupon is save $1/2 Dial hand soaps, you can use 4 coupons since the case contains 8 products. 

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Go HERE to see the Exchange Deals.




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How to Shop at the Military Exchanges:

There are 4 different military Exchanges.

  • The Exchange or Army Air Force Exchange (AAFES) also known as the PX or BX – Click here to read the Exchange coupon policy.  Click HERE to read the Price Match Policy. 
  • Navy Exchange (NEX) –  Click HERE to read the NEX policy.  
  • Coast Guard Exchange (CGX) – Here is the link to sign up to receive their sales ad.
  • Marine Core Exchange (MCX) –  Here is the link to sign up for the email blast or call (877) 803-2375.

Things you should know about shopping at the Exchanges:

    • Sign up for sales ad at the customer service desk in-store.
    • There is no sales taxes on purchases at the Exchanges.
    • The Exchanges do not allow overage.  This means if you are using a coupon and your item is less than the price of the coupon, the coupon will be adjusted down to the price of the item.  Meaning you will get the item for free! 
    • You can stack an Exchange coupon (Store Coupon) with a manufacturer’s coupon for additional savings.
    • A military store coupon is a manufacturer’s coupon.  An exchange coupon will say Exchange coupon.  You can tell the difference by looking in the fine print.  If in the fine print an address to mail the coupon back to for redemption is present that means it is a manufacturer’s coupon.  
    • NEX, MCX & CGX releases scratch cards for additional savings.  The 3 stores will accept each others scratch cards.  AAFEX does not accept scratch cards. 
    • You can use any Exchange Store coupon at another Exchange.  For example, you can use an AAFES coupon at NEX.  You can use an MCX coupon at NEX.
    • You can use coupons at the mini marts/shoppettes/gas station stores. 
    • Exchanges will price match as long as you bring the ad and it is not a limited item, special promotion offer.  Order: Price match first, use store coupon stacked with manufacturer coupon than scratch card.
    • NEX allows price matching of select online stores for regular or advertised sales.
    • Exchanges offer rain checks for sale items that are out of stock.
    • An Exchange Store coupon are found in coupon booklets or peelies on products.  Please read the peelies on the products as most say they must be removed by cashier.  The cashiers have been known and are informed to deny them if coupon is already peeled before reaching the register.