Reaping Your Harvest

Tell It Tuesday: Couponing at the Commissary

Posted on: 06/01/2010

One of my readers contacted me about “getting started” at the Commissary. Between running after the children, cleaning, yard work, etc., I decided to pick my own brain for ideas to “tell”. Here are some things that came to the fore-front.

I. First thing first, read and get a good understanding of the coupon policy.

Regardless of what store you frequently, or infrequently, visit it is ALWAYS a great idea to know the “rules” prior to shopping.

Straight off the bat, you need to know that CONUS Commissaries DOES NOT accept expired coupons, allow stacking of a military store coupon with a manufacturer, or any other coupon, does not accept competitor coupons, nor do they double/triple coupons.

OCONUS Commissaries allow you to use coupons up to six (6) months after the printed expiration date.

What if you had a coupon that was more than the cost of your item and the cashier informed you that you either, couldn’t use it or that s/he had to reduce the value of the coupon down, making the item only FREE?

Here’s what I did in this very situation…I pulled out my handy copy of the coupon policy and pointed to the section that stated:

n. Valid coupons will be entered at the value stated on the coupon. If the value of the coupon exceeds the cost of the product, the customer will be given the full value of the coupon. (DeCAD 40-6
June 5, 2007, Change 1, April 2, 2009, pg. 48, Ch. 7 Section 7-4
)

She proceeded with scanning the coupons. Now, had I not made myself aware of the “rules” I would have lost out of the full value of my coupons. So make it a point to go over the policy so that you will know, for yourself what it says instead of going off of hear say.

II. Check current sales:

a. Commissaries.com (requires log-in)
b. Commissary Specials
c. Kraft Military Brand Sales

III. What Military Coupons are available:

At any given time there may be up to three to four coupon booklets available at the Commissary specifically for military families, such as the MaxiSaver, Coupon Connexion, or the Family Monthly Savings Booklet. In addition to these booklets, we also receive some of the same pamplets, often times, found at traditional grocery stores, such as the recent Shrek-tacular booklet.

If your particular store does not have a table or magazine style rack in the front of the store housing these booklets, they are usually passed out around payday.

a. Current Maxi-Saver Coupon Booklet
b. Although the Commissary accepts internet printed coupons, they:

i. DO NOT accept coupons for completely FREE items that does not require the purchase of another item.
ii. DO NOT accept copies of ANY form of coupons. Please don’t make copies of any coupons, whether printable or from coupon inserts

You can now use coupons that bear the logo of another store, of course, with certain restrictions

Take a look at the two possible coupon wordings that could be found on a manufacturer’s coupon, along with the store’s logo:

“Redeemable at Food Lion” v/s “Redeemable at Food Lion ONLY”

The first group of words on a manufacturer coupon would be an acceptable coupon to use as the wording merely states that the coupon COULD be used at Food Lion. However, the second grouping of words prohibits the coupon useage at the Commissary as it places a restriction on the coupon to ONLY be used at Food Lion. Does that make sense?

While we’re on the subject, please note that the Commissary is accepting Walgreen’s Register Rewards! They will accept Walgreens catalinas that are manufacturer coupons with the Walgreen’s logo.

IV. Seek out all your available overage items

We are NOT allowed to post Commissary prices on our blog so if I do find an item that is a good buy I will usually do a post with them listed according to “approx.” prices AFTER coupons, for example:

Reach Dental Floss
-use $1/1 Reach Dental Floss or Reach Access Flosser or Reach Toothbrush or Value Pack – 05-16-10 RP (exp. 12/31)
makes it FREE plus overage

I enjoy the Deli Creation Crack Combinations, particularly, the Rotisserie Chicken with Garden Vegetable Spread. At some Commissaries, these would be FREE plus overage. There’s one that I saw had these priced even higher than the price of the ones that I get for the children. So when I want to grab a few for the children I like to consider using an item, such as the one above, that allows me to receive overage.

Here’s a quick idea of what I’m trying to convey:

(1) Surf, 31ld-40ld (currently on sale @ CAFB)
-use (1) $2/1 Surf Laundry Detergent – 05-16-10 RP (exp. 7/4)

(1) Schick Disposable Razor, trial size
-use (1) $2/1 Schick Disposable Razor package, any – 05-23-10 SS (exp. 7/4)

(1) Oscar Mayer Deli Creations Cracker Combination (Mesquite Smoked Turkey & Brown Sugar Ham)
-use (1) $1/1 Oscar Mayer Deli Creations Sandwiches Or Cracker Combinations, any – 05-16-10 SS (exp. 7/11)

***Now if I went into the Commissary and picked up just those three items above with those three coupons it would make my subtotal (pre-surcharge): -$0.04, which although isn’t much, would go towards my surcharge and all of the items would be FREE!

It is VERY important to note that not all Commissaries have the same prices at the same time. If I was to go to the other Commissary in our area to purchase those same three items my subtotal (pre-surcharge) would be $2.27! That is a significant difference!

Distant Shoppers

If you live far from the Commissary and only shop there every so often, as you read blogs, such as mine, keep an eye out for those regularly priced items out that will help reduce your expenses.

I would go so far as to create a Commissary folder/binder. Within the folder/binder place:

a. baseball card inserts: place ONLY coupons you plan to use THAT trip; will partly serve as a shopping list
b. sheet protectors: hold a copy of the coupon policy & current sales flyers
c. notebook paper: document prices of items you anticipate purchases or would like to purchase on future trips. This will also make it easier to note after coupon prices, if one becomes available.

Please note that these are only my ideas. A lot of us do things differently, so try to get a method that works for you that will prove less time consuming and produce the best outcome. Feel free post any feedback, suggestions, etc…

Hope this helps!

Reaping In Abundance,
Kay

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3 Responses to "Tell It Tuesday: Couponing at the Commissary"

Thank you so much for taking the time to put this all together. I look forward to putting your great ideas to use!

You’re quite welcome, Kim!

Please let me know if it’s helpful and if there’s anything I should add.

Reaping In Abundance,
Kay

[…] Make A Plan Monday: Commissary & Walgreens RRs ::”Tell It Tuesday”: Couponing at the Commissary […]

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Kay n Hubby FL
Hello and welcome! I am a military spouse & mom of four boys and two girls, ages 1 to 10, oldest diagnosed with autism. We're located in the Charleston, SC area. My family and my faith are very important to me. Since I've started using coupons I have been able to save more money and become a better steward of my household. I hope to seed into the general public, and our military families, how to spend less and get more.

Get ready to take your grocery & household spending to a whole new level! Couponing is not only a means to seed but an avenue to harvest...both opportunities are endless & a joy to delight in.

I welcome feedback and comments! Thank you again!

Kay

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Couponing Terminology

$1/1, $1/2, etc. One dollar off one item, one dollar off two items, etc.
b1g1/bogo(f)- buy one get one (free)
CC- Coupon Connexion (Military Coupon Booklet)
Deal- Grocery plan worked out to spend the less money out of pocket (OOP)
FLIP- Food Lion Internet Printable
OOP- Out of Pocket
P&G- proctor & gamble
Q- Coupon
RP- Redplum
SS- Smartsource
wyb- when you buy

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