Navigating the Base Commissary: Tips, Tricks and Basic Knowledge

Let’s talk about the commissary. Obviously, this one is a military-specific post (sorry guys). If you’re a new military spouse or military wife, the commissary can seem intimidating. What is it? How do I use it? Let me tell you, for me the commissary is a magical place that stocks all my favorite grocery items I can’t seem to find at local grocery stores, and it’s usually several cents (we’re talking .39/.50 sometimes more) cheaper than the local market too.

Parking at the commissary

Park anywhere, except for the reserved spaces. These are usually right out front.

Shopping at the commissary

Our military base commissary claims to get fresh produce daily and so far, I haven’t had any issues, although the selection can be a tad slim. Other than that, the set up is like your typical grocery store, with plastic bags, self-checkout and cashiers available.

Make sure to have your DOD identification card with you (this card is your lifeline) since you can’t check out without it.

Tipping commissary staff

The commissary also has a scant staff if you have questions or can’t locate certain items. These staff members aren’t paid that much, so try to bring cash for tips – especially if they cart your groceries to your car for you.

Commissary hours of operation

Commissaries do tend to close early – ours closes at 7 pm – but if you have a 8-5 job, this still gives you plenty of time to get your shopping done.

Commissary shopping tips

Big tip – save yourself the headache and make sure to find out when payday is – you don’t want to be caught in the commissary on payday, because that’s when everyone does their shopping. Believe me, you’ll be BIG mad if you fail to prepare on this one.

Get a commissary rewards card. Like a Kroger, Baker’s, etc. grocery card, you can load coupons onto it. You’ll get a wallet card and one for your key ring, plus one to share. Download the Commissary Rewards mobile app. You can not only add coupons here, but you can also find important information about your local commissary.

Happy shopping! It’s Worth the Trip!

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