Military commissaries are facing a 1 billion dollar budget cut, which accounts for more than two-thirds of their total budget. Slashing the budget by 1 billion dollars will mean that military families will see their commissary savings slashed by about two-thirds.
CNN reports that a military family of four can save $4,500 a year shopping at the commissary, with the cuts that number shrinks to $1,500.
Military families are already facing a tiny one percent pay raise as well as decreased housing subsidies.
The good news for military families is that you can still save big shopping at local stores. Knowing how to outsmart the marketers is key to saving big at the grocery store.
Coupons are available in the Sunday paper, magazines, in stores, and online. Take advantage of this free money by pairing coupons with items that are already on sale.
Become familiar with local store’s coupon policy to see if they accept competitor’s store coupons, double coupons, and allow coupon stacking.
By spending as little as thirty to forty-minutes a week clipping and sorting coupons savvy shoppers can cut their grocery bill by up to thirty percent.
Plan before you shop
Grocery stores lure shoppers into the store with their loss leaders, but make up for it when the four dollar bakery loaf ends up in the cart.
Shoppers who plan before they shop, and stick to the plan while shopping will see significant savings on their weekly grocery bill.
Take grocery planning a step further and create a weekly menu plan. Plan the menu around what’s on sale at the local grocery store for increased savings.
Sign up for store loyalty programs
Grocery stores love their loyal customers and often create special pricing just for signing up for their card or program. Many times these discounts can be paired with a manufacturer’s coupon for even bigger savings.
Grocery stores have made it easier to participate in the program by linking the card to a phone number so adding another item to a keychain isn’t required anymore.
Compare prices at local stores
Most items have a sale cycle of six to eight weeks, which means they will be on sale almost every other month. Smart shoppers can track these sales and only purchase items when they are at their lowest price.
Sale cycles differ throughout local stores, so one week one grocery store might have a great deal on chicken breasts and another store will have all their dairy products on sale. The key is to know what’s on sale when to save big.
Shoppers no longer have to spend hours organizing and reading through store sales flyers to find the best deals each week. The free grocery app Favado tracks sales throughout a variety of local stores and allows consumers to compare prices in the palm of their hand.
While the proposed one billion dollar commissary cuts are a huge setback for military families, it is still possible to save on groceries by implementing these strategies and shopping smarter at local stores.
Toni Anderson is the founder of The Happy Housewife, where she blogs about practical ways to live well, save more and have fun. Toni is a military wife and stay-at-home (schooling) mom to seven kids. She is also a Savings.com DealPro and helps people learn how to save up to 50% off their grocery bills using the Favado app.