The commissary is a constant fixture among military families. It is the grocery store military families depend on with each move to have their staples and favorites. Beyond being the store that military families turn to for convenience and affordable products, there is a lot to love about the commissary.
Meat Power Boxes
Have you seen the meat power boxes in the meat section of your local commissary? Sometimes also available at the commissary entrances, these boxes provide a collection of meat options with additional savings. Four meat power boxes rotate availability per local commissary: Health Alternatives, Economy, Tailgate, and Fix it and Forget It. Each one offers up to 25% in savings on top of the Commissary’s lower prices. Each box includes 15-19 pounds with a variety of meat, depending on the box. This is perfect for families doing monthly or bi-monthly shopping trips to grab what they need and keep moving. It is also perfect for units or groups that are grilling or cooking together to save money.
Congress has mandated that the Defense Commissaries (DeCA) provided a consistent savings level for military families. This means that there are guaranteed savings at your local military commissary. These savings are calculated regionally so that prices better match that region’s cost-of-living. Per DeCA, the regional savings are as follows:
- New England: 21.8%
- South Atlantic: 18.7%
- South Central: 18.9%
- Pacific: 22.6%
- Mountain: 20%
- North Central: 21.4%
- Alaska/Hawaii: 33.2%
In addition to the Congress-mandated savings, the Commissary has a Rewards program. The Rewards Program is an application with coupons for additional savings, no clipping necessary. Download the app, enter the number of your Commissary Rewards card, and “clip” from the store’s coupons. The card is associated with your phone number and can be used at checkout if you forget your card.
Use Your Military Star Card
Shopping for groceries and have a Military Star Card? Earn rewards on your grocery purchases! Earn 2 points for every $1 spent at the Military Commissary. Every 2,000 points earn a $20 rewards card. Historically, there have also been double points offerings on certain days, earning 4 points per $1, meaning you earn the reward even faster. Check your local Military Commissary social media for any offerings of this type.
While living the hotel-style life or just moving into a new home, the grab-n-go section is a, pardon the pun, go-to. The packaged sushi, salads, and sandwiches are perfect for families without dishes, often including silverware or chopsticks that are readily available at the pick-up area. Perfect for those deployment days when you don’t want to cook, but you still have to eat and feed the kids – grab a rotisserie chicken from the Grab-N-Go and grab some deli sides for a complete meal.
Amazing International Aisle
The International aisle spans a variety of ethnic foods, especially areas that military service members and their families were stationed overseas. Looking for mustard from Germany, or a biscuit from the U.K.? Or perhaps that canned coffee you got from Dydo while living in Asia? It’s in the International aisle at the commissary! It’s a trip down memory lane and a chance to share those memories with other family members. Haven’t been to any of these countries? Enjoy the food from the country from the comfort of your home without the requirement of your passport, all at affordable prices.
Click2Go Curbside service
Online shopping and curbside pickup service have become a staple in the last year. It is perfect for busy individuals, parents with sick children or families with a deployed spouse, or just plain don’t want to go into the store. Click2Go is the curbside service of the Commissary. Orders can be placed here. Upon pickup, you will be required to show military ID, the confirmation email and bring a preferred form of electronic payment. There is no minimum order size or minimum dollar amount.
The Click2Go service is available at Charleston AFB, Fort Belvoir, Fort Eustis, Fort Lee, Fort Polk, Jacksonville NAS, Oceana NAS, Offutt AFB, Quantico, and McGuire. There are hours of operation for Click2Go which can be checked here. This service is still in the testing phase, and if it is popular, there are plans to expand to more commissaries.
Moving to a foreign country is an amazing opportunity that some military families enjoy. Living overseas means a new culture, housing, and food. There are also differing food prices in the local economy that are not always affordable. While military families living overseas do receive a COLA, the on-base commissary provides a place with familiar food with labels that are easily read, which is an amazing resource for families with food allergies. Also, some food pricing at the local commissaries is aligned with U.S. pricing and is much more affordable on base than off. Bonus -when living overseas, coupons to be accepted up to 6 months after their expiration date!
Packaged Meals Ready to Cook
Beyond the Grab-N-Go are prepackaged meals near the meat section. Want to make a stew but don’t have all the ingredients? Grab the prepackaged stew packages, and everything is there – oftentimes including the seasoning packets. All you have to do is cut the container open, pour and cook per the instructions. A homecooked meal is not far away with the prepared ready to cook meals. These are useful when living in temporary living facilities with a limited kitchen as some of these can be prepared easily on the stovetop that on-base hotel facilities have.
Sense of Camaraderie
The commissary isn’t just a grocery store. It’s part of the community. It is where new families run into friends they knew at the previous duty station. It’s where you run into the family down the street and catch up on neighborhood gatherings. The commissary is a community resource for the families that serve.