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Consumer Watch: Prepare for saving money at commissary case lot sale

Aug. 5, 2014 - 03:21PM   |  
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Whether you’ve just moved to a new duty station and need to restock your pared-down pantry; or want to stock your barracks room; or need to stock up on drinks and other items for the kids’ school lunches; or you want to save money on items you use all year, take note.

After a year’s hiatus for budget reasons, the commissary case lot sales are back. The timing of the sales varies by store, but the overall time window for this year’s sales is from Aug. 16 through Sept. 30.

About 200 items are authorized for sale — those selected are top-selling items with “great promotional pricing,” according to Defense Commissary Agency spokesman Kevin Robinson. The savings vary, but some items are sold at discounts of 50 percent or more.

Individual stores can add more items, such as summer club pack items. They can also sell case-lot-sale-priced frozen and chilled items within the stores.

These sales will be held at continental U.S. stores, as well as stores in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Some overseas commissaries may hold substitute events such as sidewalk sales, Robinson said.

For your commissary’s sale days, usually on a weekend, check www.militarytimes.com/casesales. Or go to www.commissaries.com, click on the “Locations” link, and select your store from the alphabetical lists in the drop-down menu.

In consideration of budget issues, no additional operating funds have been given to commissaries to conduct the case lot sales, Robinson said, so stores must hold their sales within their normal operating budget. And, “DeCA is relying on its industry partners to provide enough assistance to make the case lot sale a success,” he said.

Here’s how to prepare for the case lot sale:

■ Inventory your household supplies and pantry. You won’t save money if you buy items that expire before you can use them.

■ Do some pricing research at other stores in your area, such as Wal-Mart and other discount stores. Be sure to compare by unit — cost per diaper, per ounce of laundry detergent or cereal or canned goods. Case lot sales will include a lot of club packs with multiple items.

■ Evaluate how much extra storage space you have. Clear out your vehicle so you’ll have plenty of space to cart large items home.

■ Gather your coupons, being aware that coupons sometimes apply to specific sizes. Check online to upload coupons to your commissary rewards card.

■ Be mindful of your budget. If you use your credit card to buy these great bargains, make sure you can pay it off at the end of the month.

Items on the case lot sales list include many canned goods, drinks, cereals, snacks, pet foods, cleaning materials, paper goods, baby items and beauty supplies.

Here are a few examples of items on the case lot sales list. These are general descriptions; sizes and flavors vary:

■ Canned: Peter Pan peanut butter, Kraft mayonnaise, Kraft barbecue sauce, Snack Pack pudding cups; Top Ramen and Chow Mein oriental soups, Contadina tomato sauce, Hunts diced tomatoes, Van Camps Beanie Weanies, Bumble Bee light water-packed chunk tuna, Campbell’s Spaghettios

■ Drinks: Various Gatorade, Hawaiian Punch, Capri Sun, Kool-Aid, Minute Maid, Hi C. Also Green Mountain coffee K-cups, a variety of bottled waters.

■ Cereal: General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch; Kellogg Cereal on the Go Froot Loops, Corn Pops, Apple Jacks; Kellogg pop tarts

■ Snacks: Act II popcorn, David sunflower seeds, Fisher trail mix, Planters peanuts, Pringles potato chips.

■ Pets: Variety of dog foods and cat foods

■ Cleaning: Tide detergent, Cascade dishwasher detergent, Bounce fabric softener sheets, Downy liquid fabric softener.

■ Paper: Scott, Cottonelle and Charmin bath tissue; Bounty, Viva and Brawny paper towels; Presto storage bags and tall kitchen trash bags.

■ Baby: Various sizes of Huggies and Pampers diapers

■ Beauty: Various Suave body washes, shampoos, conditioners.

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