I often think that grocery store shoppers divide into 2 types of people: those who have a coupon for every single item in their shopping carts and those who shrug their shoulders when asked for their coupons.
When you’re standing in line behind the person who has a coupon for every bottle of shampoo, bag of potato chips and container of baby formula, it is impressive to see their total savings. These commissary shoppers are super organized. They know how to get additional savings using military coupons.
What the rest of us – the ones without the coupons – need to know is that we can all be savvy military coupon users at our commissaries. Here’s how to do it.
3 Things You Need to Know About Military Coupons
Using Military Coupons Has Never Been Easier
Gone are the days when you bought your local Sunday newspaper for the stacks of coupons. Put down your scissors, sister. You won’t be needing that.
Today’s commissary shoppers can find military coupons online with user-friendly websites like coupons.com. Within minutes, you can digitally clip and print military coupons to use during your weekly grocery trip. Here’s what DeCA says about coupons from the internet:
Commissaries gladly accept Internet or home-printed coupons provided they meet the following requirements: the coupons must have a typical barcode and Product Identification Number (PIN) or GS1 DataBar. A Dot Scan Barcode may appear below the expiration date, but is only required if stated on the coupon, e.g., “Do not accept without a Dot Scan Barcode below the expiration date.” Internet coupons cannot be accepted for free products, however, “Buy One Get One Free” coupons are acceptable if they meet all other requirements.
To print these military coupons correctly you may need to download the site’s printer software. Once you do that, you will be ready to print your coupons on a regular basis.
Military coupons are also available through the commissary rewards card. I recommend downloading the commissary rewards card app on your smartphone after you register your card. I use these military coupons like other people use Target’s Cartwheel app.
Near the end of my shopping trip (once my cart is full, but before I’ve gotten in line) I use the free Wi-Fi available at my commissary to open the commissary rewards card app. Then I clip the military coupons for items that I’ve already placed in my shopping cart. When the cashier asks for my military ID card, I also hand her my commissary rewards card.
Commissary rewards cards are free. You can pick one up from your cashier that next time you are at the commissary.
If you really miss the sound of scissors slicing through coupon ads, you can always pick up a military coupons ad section at your commissary. These military coupons can be used only at commissaries. Look for these coupon packets either at your commissary’s front lobby (near the shopping baskets) or ask your bagger for one. My bagger will often slip one in my shopping bag.
You Won’t See Double or Triple Coupons Days at the Commissaries
The commissaries aren’t able to have promotions that increase the value of your military coupons. Here is the reason, according to DeCA’s website:
Commercial stores who offer these types of promotions get paid by the coupon issuer only for the face value of a coupon, and have to absorb the costs of “doubling” or “tripling” coupon face value in their pricing and profit structure.
Because commissaries are required by law to sell goods at prices set only high enough to cover the cost of those goods, commissaries make no profit from which to pay the costs associated with “double” coupon promotions.
Additionally, DeCA cannot use funds provided for the operation of commissaries to support such promotions, because law strictly prescribes the uses of these funds, and “promotional support” is not among the allowable uses of these funds.
Then I read this on DeCA’s military coupon policy webpage:
Commissaries do occasionally offer a different type of “double coupon” promotion than described above. For these promotions, manufacturers or other coupon issuers agree that commissaries may accept more than one coupon on the purchase of an item, and usually supply large numbers of coupons to patrons in the commissary in support of such promotions. These “double coupon” promotions involve doubling the number of coupons accepted on the purchase of an item, but DO NOT involve doubling (or otherwise increasing) the face value of a coupon.
I haven’t seen a double coupon promotion offered at my commissary, so I’m very curious about these promotions. If anyone has seen a double coupon promotion at their commissary, tell us how it worked in the comments section.
You Can Use Military Coupons at OCONUS Commissaries
Military spouses living overseas can redeem military coupons at their commissaries. In fact you can use an expired coupon up to 6 months after its expiration date.
My mom thought that this expired coupon policy was delightful when I was living in Okinawa, Japan. She would send me her expired coupons and I would gladly use them every time I shopped at the commissary.