by Amanda Marksmeier, Guest Contributor
I have a confession to make. I am slightly obsessed with TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” and thanks to TV streaming services I can binge watch as many coupon clipping episodes as my heart desires. For those not familiar with the show, it follows couponers through the process of clipping, creating lists, searching deals, down the grocery aisles culminating in the final check out where viewers share in the nail-biting excitement to see just how much money was saved.
I know reality TV is far from real. I know most of these extreme savings are almost impossible to achieve for the average shoppers. I have tried my hand at couponing, price matching and searching for the best deal but let’s face it, it requires a lot of time, math and patience to master the art of extreme couponing. Between working, carpooling, cleaning, care for the kids and my other half I don’t have the time to invest.
For those of us too busy for extreme couponing fear not, we can still save big at the upcoming commissary sidewalk sale!
“Thank You For Your Service”
The Defense Commissary Agency, which operates more than 250 commissaries worldwide, is saying “Thank You For Your Service” to their patrons by hosting commissary sidewalk sales throughout the months of April and May.
These sales coincide with April’s Month of the Military Child and May’s Military Appreciation Month.
Weather permitting all commissaries, stateside and abroad, will host a two- or three-day sidewalk sale event beginning April 16 and running through May 31. Visit your commissary’s website to see the exact dates of the sale in your area.
What’s on Sale?
My favorite part of “Extreme Couponing” is the stockpiles. If you are a fan of the show you know what I’m talking about. Garage shelves lined with hundreds of bottles of detergent, boxes of dried pasta and tubes of toothpaste. I can remember one episode where a teenage boy had a stockpile of feminine hygiene products. Why, you ask. Because he got them all free!
While I don’t condone hoarding products you don’t need, creating a stockpile of products your family uses not only saves on trips to the store but also can save tons of cash!
The sidewalk sale will be slashing prices on food sold by the case. Think canned food items. These are great to stock up on while on sale. Imagine purchasing a couple of cases of peas, carrots, and corn. You’ll have veggies for months. In addition to case sales, you can also take advantage of mix and match sales on products such as barbecue sauce, cold cereals, dry pasta, yogurt and more.
Mix and match sale items include a variety of products like fruit snacks, crackers, pastries, popcorn and potato chips, perfect for school lunches.
Summer is coming which means the kids will be home all day. Start preparing now by loading up on juices, teas, and snacks, with these low prices you can get your little one’s favorite summer treats!
Stay hydrated with sales on water, juices, sodas, sports drinks, milk and more. My family buys milk two gallons at a time so I will be taking advantage of the deals on milk. Fill your freezer with frozen family meals for those busy weeknights or during the deployment slump when you don’t feel like cooking.
Some of my favorite get-togethers are themed dinners. Who doesn’t love an Italian night or Taco Tuesday? International foods such as Italian, Asian and Hispanic items can be purchased at discounted prices during the commissary sidewalk sale.
Storage, freezer, sandwich and snack bags will be on sale as well as paper products and cleaning supplies. Now is your chance to load up on laundry detergent – it will come in handy when your service member returns home from the field or deployment!
If all the food and paper products aren’t enough savings, health and beauty items will be included in the commissary sidewalk sale as well. Oh, and did I mention diapers and wipes? Diapers, second to formula, is the largest expense families incur with babies. On average it costs a family over $500 a year to diaper a baby. Cut some of that cost by stocking up on diapers during the commissary sidewalk sale.
Need more savings? Some commissaries will be partnering with nearby exchanges for additional promotions and sales.
According to the USDA, a family of four spends on average $200 a week on groceries. The sidewalk sale is a way for military families to reduce their weekly spending by creating a stockpile of non-perishable and bulk items.
So what items will you be picking up at your commissary’s sidewalk sale?
Amanda Marksmeier is an Army wife and mother of four. She works as an employment specialist assisting the military community in achieving their career goals. Amanda is also a contributing writer for a quarterly employment journal and has written for several military affiliated blogs.