Living on an Air Force Base several miles outside town, it didn’t take me long to get acquainted with our Commissary.  Commissary access is only for military members, retirees, and their dependents. My main motivation: it’s just down the street from my house, compared to driving 10-20 miles to the chain grocery stores. I started using coupons on their already low prices.  I was also saving on gas and time with my lower food bill!

Generally Lower Prices

When you shop at the commissary, the goods are sold at cost, so the prices are already around 40% less than other retail grocery stores. I’ve heard some opinions that it’s not much cheaper than going off base. But if you compare average daily prices, not the store sales or loss leader promotions, you usually can do better on grocery shopping at the commissary.

Commissary sales and special promotions are hard to beat, especially if you also have a coupon. My strategy is to keep an eye on chain store sales and compare those to commissary prices and deals. I go with the better deal at the chain store if it’s a stock up price that makes it worth the drive into town.

Accepts Manufacturer and Military Manufacturer Coupons

You can read the DeCA coupon policy here.  It shares a lot of the rules already used at other stores such as, one coupon per item and follow the fine print. Read the link for the complete information on using coupons at the commissary and print it up for your binder!

It’s helpful to understand that, although you do find commissary and military manufacturer coupons, they aren’t coupons generated by the commissary itself. These are special coupons the manufacturers issue, so they take the loss, not the commissary.

No Stacking or Doubling Coupons

Don’t forget that there are not actual store coupons for the commissary, so you can’t stack or double coupons. This doesn’t mean it’s not possible to get the most out of your coupons there! There have been several times I’ve looked at a stacking or doubling deal somewhere like Walgreens or Safeway, and realized that the item was still cheaper at the commissary. Of course, that’s not always the case, but it’s a consideration when you’re looking for the best deal.

Internet Coupons

The commissary accepts Internet coupons, as long as they meet the requirements listed in their coupon policies. They don’t accept photocopies of coupons, and each coupon must have a unique dot scan bar code. This could end up applying to PDF coupons because they can be printed many times with the same barcodes, so keep that in mind as you prepare your shopping trip.


The commissary doesn’t take Internet coupons for “Free” items, but “Buy One Get One Free” is okay if it meets all the other requirements. You can get free items from a published coupon, such as comes in a newspaper or is mailed to you.


Starting May 1, 2012, the commissary will give overage in cash unless it’s above $25, then you can get a combination of commissary gift cards and cash.

What’s on Sale, and When to Stock Up

DeCA puts out a monthly ad with special promotions.  You can usually find it in the store. If you are a military member or a dependent registered in DEERS, you can view the sale items online by setting up an account here. DeCA does not post prices publicly online, so you must log in to get the prices. You even can set up your shopping list!

The manufacturers work with DeCA to sell the goods at cost, so prices are subject to change suddenly and sometimes drastically, depending on production costs. So, it’s always important to keep an idea of what you want to pay for items and stock up when you see a rock-bottom price.

Commissaries will do special orders if you want to avoid clearing a shelf when you see an awesome deal; however, make sure the items will be in before the coupons expire or the price changes because you can’t pay until your order comes in.

Case Lot Sales

Case Lot Sales are an opportunity to buy certain items in bulk for a few days. There are often coupons available on the racks or at the registers for the items that make for some amazing deals. Check here for the schedule to see when one is coming to your post or base!


If you’re on an overseas base, you can use manufacturer, Commissary, or Military coupons up to 6 months after the expiration date!

Where to Get Commissary Coupons

Always keep your eyes open as you shop for tear-pads with coupons.  Look for stacks of fliers around the store. “Eat Healthy Your Way” and “MaxiSaver” are a couple you might find.

Sign up at Commissary Shopper to get commissary coupons in the mail.

The commissary has an extensive page of links, including many of the products they stock.  Some companies have special pages and offers for military families. One great example is Procter and Gamble, who offers special commissary coupons in the mail through The Family UNIT.  They make a donation to the USO for every redeemed coupon. For even more info about shopping at the commissary click here.

This has been a guest post by Rachel from Ellsworth AFB, SD
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15 thoughts on “Extreme Couponing Tip: How to Use Coupons at the Commissary”

Do you know if the commissary takes max value on a BOGO coupon?


THANK YOU somuch for posting this. i recently just moved to fort rucker and was kinda confused about the couponing here… its right down the street from me to much cheeper and easier than going out to the surrounding cities… add coupons and its a much better choice. :o)


I LOVE the commissary. The prices are WAY cheaper than any other store. I go to the commissary here in San Diego, and I HAVE been able to stack coupons here. But it often depends on the cashier. I often use the “commissary only” coupon and combine them with manu coupons and I get even greater savings! My last trip went from $269 down to $139! I only go once a month to the commissary for a big haul and focus on the drugstores thru the week and farmer’s market on the weekend. Coupons I don’t use, I send to my brother and his wife, who are stationed overseas.


Thank you for both of those websites.  I bookmarked them and I’ll be checking them before I go to the commissary next week.  We actually get tons of coupons through the AFRC on base.  You can take a whole box if you want.  I also signed up for the newsletter so thank you for that information too!  I just need someone I can sit down and watch do this with the commissary stuff overseas.  I used coupons today, but I only saved 10% of what I spent…not so good.  I’m hoping once I get a stockpile and get a little more organized it will get better.  I’ve started writing out my own personal price sheet from my receipts too, hoping that I’ll get to know that normal prices of things better and be able to notice when items go on sale.  Thanks for all your help!


YES!  That is exactly what I need…how did you even get started couponing at the commissaries?  Have you done it overseas??  I’m a beginner at couponing to start with and being overseas with coupons that expire 6 months later than everyone else’s might be heaven for extreme couponers but to me it just makes it even harder!  We need a forum for commisary couponing!  LOL  Thanks for the post.


Right now the commissarys in the states are having the truck load sales.  They are in may with a few in june.  Go on the commissary web site to find your store with the dates.


I love the Commissary!  Prices are way cheaper, especially when gas prices go up.  They also have an area where they put the clearanced items.  I just found it a few weeks ago.  It’s hidden in a back corner.  Also, they have sushi as well, I love sushi reminds me of home.


Expired coupons, can you use them here in the state at the commissary?


No, Lina. Unfortunately they are only accepted overseas. Sorry. Some people claim that they have used expired coupons, but according to DECA policy it is not allowed in the states. The deals are already really good. I would just focus on using what coupons you can, and trying to get a hold of the occasional overage.


Thanks for the reply! I wasn’t sure, I was asking for a friend cuz she had tried to use the expired ones here in the US at the commissary and I thought you could. I’ll pass the message on.


I’m so excited to find a post about this.  I’ve been so overwhelmed being a new couponer and being stationed overseas.  I feel like having 6 extra months worth of deals actually makes it worse.  Plus, our commissary has no rhyme or reason as to when they put items on sale.  We even had a coupon class on base that joked about never knowing…not so funny when you’re completely lost anyways!  lol  If anyone has any experience with this and wants to post it, I would LOVE to read it.  This post was helpful and I signed up for everything I could on here.  I just ordered my binder and baseball card holders and everything I need to get started, so wish me luck!


When you go to the Deca website their is a tab that shows the sales.  It is called savings isle.  You will need to put in your sponsers info to verify you do get the privilege of the commissery.  When you get in you need to find your commissary and click on it.  It will show you what is on sale, I always check it before I go and make my list.  I hope this helps I always did it when I lived in Italy.


For some reason, the Deca website is currently unavailable for overseas and Alaska.


I am sorry, they used to be on there.  :(


Is the Deca website the same as the  I went to that website and tried to look at our base, but I didn’t see any of the overseas bases listed for the “savings isle”.  I also tried to look at our case lot sales, that NEVER show up for our base!  So convenient, right?  :)  I did find the Maxi Saver for overseas online, but there’s just not much in there.  It’s pretty stressful considering I was able to feed our family for about $200/mo. before we moved overseas and now, on a budget (and I’m not exaggerating), my bill is about $1,000/mo.  Yes, our wages have increased, but I think that’s just ridiculous.  Thank you for the response, I REALLY appreciate it! 


Do you know where we can donate expired coupons?