The holidays are upon us and that means it’s time to shop. Not only do you have gifts to buy, but you also have meals to plan.
It isn’t just retail stores that will be crowded; the commissary will be too. Follow these 5 tips to keep your cool while shopping at the commissary for your holiday needs.
5 Tips for Shopping at the Commissary During the Holidays
Plan Your Meals
Instead of browsing the aisles of the commissary, make a plan. Before heading to the commissary you should make a menu and from there create your grocery list.
Get a head count of how many friends and family members will be at your house for each meal. Make sure to include snacks as well.
Also consider how many holiday parties you will be attending and what you want to make for each one. Don’t forget to include cookie swaps in your planning.
When planning your meals, take into consideration the ingredients you’ll need. Will there be excess product unused? If you only need a cup of chicken stock but you buy a 16-ounce container, you’ll have some left over.
Don’t waste it if you don’t have to. Look at your menu. Is there anything else you can use the leftover item for? You’ll save money at the commissary if you can use a product fully.
Also, consider if there will be leftovers. Will anyone want to eat them at the next meal? If there is a substantial amount leftover, you might not need to plan for the next meal.
Load Your Commissary Rewards Card with Coupons
Have you heard of the commissary rewards card? Do you have one? If you don’t have one, now is the time to get one and if you already have a commissary rewards card, it’s time to load it with great savings.
What is a commissary rewards card and how do you get one? A commissary rewards card is available at the checkout at any commissary.
This card is a money-saving tool. Once you get this free card, you simply register it online and it’s activated.
You won’t need to clip coupons once you have the commissary rewards card. You can look through a list of digital coupons and check the ones you want to use. You can do this on your PC or through the mobile app.
When you check out at the commissary, simply show the barcode to the cashier and with one simple scan your coupons will be applied.
Why spend time searching for coupons through the newspaper or online when you can get them in one spot?
Eat Before You Go to the Commissary
While this sounds mundane, it is important.
You shouldn’t shop on an empty stomach.
If you go grocery shopping while you are hungry, you’ll likely end up buying more than you need. You are also more likely to buy junk food if you are hungry as well.
Have a good meal before heading to the commissary and perhaps bring a snack with you.
Shop Kid Free, if Possible
Are you a parent? You’re probably laughing at this. Taking your children shopping is an adventure.
If you can get someone to watch them, your shopping trip will likely be much faster and hassle-free.
If however, you are unable to secure help with child care, be prepared to shop with the kids. Keep children content with snacks and entertainment so they are not asking for junk food or unneeded items. Make sure they eat a filling meal before heading to the commissary as well.
If you can’t keep them entertained or if you simply want them to participate in the shopping experience, getting kids involved can be helpful. You can have them be in charge of the grocery list, you can give them specific items to go get or you can let them choose some items.
Start your holiday shopping early. Once you have your meals planned and your shopping list made, have a look at what is nonperishable. Purchase those items early to save you the time looking for them when it is closer to the holidays.
The commissary will get crowded as the day goes on as well as near payday and in the days leading up to the holidays.
Look at what time your commissary opens and plan to be there as close to that time as possible. The commissary usually has less people in the mornings. Less people means quicker shopping and speedier checkout.
Make sure you pay attention to the date as well. The commissary is busy on and near payday, which is the 1st and 15th for service members.
Finally, don’t wait until the last minute. Shop as early as you can to avoid stress.