You may already know that shopping for groceries at the commissary or for electronics at the exchange can save you a hefty chunk of change. But you may not know that these stores also offer additional perks like contest prizes, scholarships and family employment opportunities, all while supporting your war-fighter overseas. Check out our listings below for benefits you may not have heard about.
Before you were a speckle in your mother’s eye, the government mandated retail sales of only high-quality goods for a fair price to military personnel. That mandate gave birth to the commissary and exchange system. Under this system, the Defense Commissary Agency came up with even more benefits to sweeten what their stores offer:
- Perks — Load your Commissary Rewards Card with coupons, promotions and discount savings. You can also create a handy online shopping list on the website.
- Prizes — Test your luck and enter to win one of many commissary contests, sweepstakes or shopping sprees.
- Scholarships — Give military kids more bang for your buck. Your spending helps the Defense Commissary Agency and Fisher House Foundation provide a $2,000 scholarship per commissary location.
- Recipes — Improve your diet. When you get sick of eating microwavable dinners and you know your physical fitness test is coming, check out Kay's Kitchen for healthy tips and recipes.
- Gift cards — Forget brainstorming for gifts. Instead, buy gift cards your loved ones can use at commissaries worldwide.
Each military branch has its own exchange. But whether you’re a soldier, Marine, sailor or airman, any military service member can shop at any branch exchange and take advantage of their awesome savings and benefits:
- Contest prizes — If you know a puppy that looks too cute in his Abraham Lincoln hat or if your apple pie recipe blows everyone’s socks off, consider entering Army and Air Force exchange service contests to win thousands in prizes.
- Scholastic rewards — The Marine and Navy exchanges give military kids a monetary incentive to work hard on their grades. Check out their Superstar Student and A-OK Student Reward drawings that award kids $5,500 quarterly.
- Family employment — The exchange offers eligible spouses a leg up in the hiring process through its Spouse Preference Program.
- Where You Shop Matters — Expect to save an average of 30 percent when you shop at your exchange. Plus, about 70 percent of what you spend funds programs that focus on military morale, recreation and other services.
- “We go where you go” — Exchange employees are not just found state-side. You can find our retail workers overseas serving deployed service members and providing products for the war-fighter.
- Pay it forward — You can pay it forward by donating a calling or gift card to an unknown military service member at any exchange.
Where you shop does matter. By shopping at your commissary and exchange, you keep more of your hard-earned cash. Plus, you put your dollars to work supporting your military community. The next time you need to do some shopping, visit the commissary and exchange on your installation for benefits beyond savings.