Pssst, you guys. Yeah, you! I need to share a sneaky secret that you’re probably, maybe, missing at your local Commissary.
Two words: store brands.
Over the last year or so, DeCA has rolled out store and partner brands. These are high quality, lower-cost pantry staples that every family buys often.
Let me tell you: I’m hooked! I know the Commissary is often known for carrying brand names at slightly less than stores out in town. But I’ve almost totally switched from those big names to the Commissary brands!
MilFams Save More Cash When You Buy Commissary Store Brands
Since I switched over to store brands, I’ve seen my savings increase! And I’m not buying anything unusual or that we don’t need. Instead, I’m making smart swaps to save some cash.
Even though the per item difference might just be a few cents, maybe a dollar, those small amounts definitely add up over time. Just one shopping trip can save me over $5, even when compared to using coupons.
What Brands Are Store Brand?
It’s pretty easy to spot store brands in other places. Target has UpandUp. Giant and Stop & Shop have Nature’s Promise.
But spotting the Commissary’s store brands might be a smidge harder.
When you’re shopping look for:
- Freedom’s Choice: food items, like canned goods and baking products
- Homebase: paper products and non-food household goods
These are the private label brands, directly owned and produced by DeCA. You can find these labels on all sort of great products. Seriously: so many staples!
There are also partner brands. These are brands that you might see at other stores, but are priced like store brands. You can find:
- Full Circle Market: organic, non-GMO and USDA organic items across the spectrum
- TopCare: health and medical items, like bandaids and floss
- Tippy Toes: baby care, like diapers and wipes
There are also pet food and birdseed brands available to shoppers at some locations.
What Store Brands Does a Real MilFam Buy
Some of my favorites are toilet paper and canned products, like beans and tomatoes. See? Pantry staples!
I’m constantly adding canned diced tomatoes to my everyday recipes. They’re a great addition to soups, pasta sauce and baked chicken. Yum!
My family has also been on a major healthy, organic food kick. So we’re cutting back on meat-eating and switching to mostly fruits and veggies. Lately, I’ve been absolutely loving the Full Circle Market organic canned beans.
They’re so much cheaper than comparable brand name organic beans! The quality is really great, too.
My kids are obsessed with eating the organic chickpeas, straight up with no seasoning. Plus, beans of all sorts are yummy additions to chili or to a vegetarian rice bowl.
As a baker, I’ve switched completely over to Freedom’s Choice flour and sugar. There’s no real difference between these pantry staples and the name brand products! Plus, that extra money allows me to buy more baking goods and make bigger batches of cookies. My kids appreciate that.
We switched over to the Homebase toilet paper when it first rolled out. It’s a good bit cheaper than the name brands the Commissary carries. There’s enough of a difference that I’ll gladly swap my triple thick, but pricey, TP for the two-ply Homebase rolls. No questions asked!
Shop & Save with Store Brands
Yes, I do still add non-store and partner brands to my cart. There aren’t equivalent products for everything I need available. At least, they’re not available right now, at my location.
There might be slightly different products available at your duty station!
But when I have the choice, I’m going with store brands. Hands down, every time.
It’s just smart, financially, to pick something just as good but with a lower price. All that money I’m saving goes straight into our vacation fund account! We’re planning a great trip, partially financed with savings because we’re shopping the Commissary’s store brands regularly.
What’s Stopping You From Switching to Store Brands
My family isn’t particularly choosy about brands, which is lucky. But I know that some families might be.
You might have grown up always buying the name brand or a particular brand. But here’s the thing: do canned diced tomatoes really taste that much different? What about flour?
Personally, I can’t tell the difference between Progresso and Freedom’s Choice once they’re out of the can. And I actually did a taste comparison before fully making the switch over.
Before you rule out store brands just because you’ve “always” bought the brand names, do a taste test. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised! I know I was.
When you’ve switched over on those pantry staples, you might even be able to splurge on some special, more pricey grocery items. I know that I love having a little more flexibility to grab gourmet olives and fancy bread.