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In your annual hunt for back-to-school bargains, don't neglect your on-base military stores. Commissaries and exchanges are offering promotions between now and September.
Exchange shoppers on Army and Air Force installations will see an extra discount that matches their local "tax-free" holiday in the civilian community for back-to-school shopping.
Exchanges never charge taxes, so each exchange will effectively double the tax-free benefit by offering an additional percentage discount equivalent to the local sales tax rate.
For example, during the Aug. 17-19 sales tax holiday in Texas, exchange customers there will save at least an additional 6.25 percent, which is the Texas sales tax rate that's being suspended for those three days. In cases where local Texas jurisdictions impose additional taxes, the exchange savings will increase further.
http://www.shopmyexchange.com/">Shopmyexchange.com also has weekly deals. For example, during the week of Aug. 10-16, some bargains include:
• Skip Hop Zoo Pack Little Kid backpack, $19.95.
• Boys Asics Gel-Havoc GS running shoe, $39.
• Baby Phat apparel, 30 percent off.
Some examples of specials featured the week of Aug. 10-16 at Army and Air Force brick-and-mortar exchanges include:
• Jansport Superbreak backpack, $23.95 (20 percent off).
• Amazon Kindle Touch 3G-reader, $119.
• $50 off any HP computer priced at $469 or more.
• Juniors skinny or boot-cut jeans, $27.
Navy Exchanges are offering sales on school supplies from now through Sept. 4, with different items each week. In addition to specials on crayons, folders, pens and notebooks, there are also deals on backpacks, clothing, shoes and dorm-room necessities.
Various specials are being rolled out at Marine Corps Exchanges; shoppers should look for yellow back-to-school displays.
Commissaries and their industry partners are offering back-to-school promotions, including in-store discounts and coupons aimed at helping to fill lunchboxes.
Overseas stores may have substitute events for some of these promotional programs. Shoppers should check with their local stores for details on dates of specific promotions.
Through Sept. 12, several manufacturers are offering a 32-page coupon booklet valued at $42 with savings on back-to-school products, fresh meat, produce, baked goods and family meal favorites. Those manufacturers are Kraft Foods, General Mills, Ocean Spray, Heinz, Pfizer, Beiersdorf, Schwarzkopf & Henkel, Reynolds, Sun-Maid, Fresh Express, Tyson Foods and Ralston cereals.
Through Aug. 22, Overseas Service Corp. and its manufacturer partners are sponsoring a "Coupon Connection" flier available in stores.
Through Sept. 26, ConAgra Foods, Nissin and Bumble are providing coupon booklets with $9 in savings on products such as Chef Boyardee, Peter Pan, Manwich, Kid Cuisine, Snack Pak, Bumble Bee Salad Kits and Nissin Bowl Noodles. Shoppers who buy 10 qualifying ConAgra products can mail in a tear card to get a $5 coupon toward their next commissary meat department purchase.
Through Aug. 22, Kellogg's is offering coupons and promotions for ACER notebooks, Team USA backpacks and cash prizes.
From Aug. 9 to 22, military children can http://familymedia.com/dmi/index.php">enter an essay contest for a chance to win one of 10 Kindle Fires. The essay must address the theme "Why I am proud to be an American!"
Through Sept. 12, Unilever and Advantage Continental are sponsoring special pricing and coupons for all Unilever personal wash brands, including Dove, Caress, Lever 2000, Suave, St. Ives and Axe. Shoppers should also see in-store displays for a chance to win a commissary gift card. A total of $25,000 in prizes will be given away.
New autumn 2012 catalog
Prices in the new Autumn 2012 Online Shopping Guide are good through Oct. 16. The catalog offers 200 pages of savings on home furnishings, appliances, apparel and other items, along with $35 in coupons.
It's available online at http://www.shopymyexchange.com/">shopymyexchange.com and in Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard exchanges.