Whether you’re buying at the local mall, your exchange, or online, a little research can help you get the best deal and avoid unnecessary hassles.
- Buy groceries and household items at military-run commissaries worldwide. Servicemembers, military retirees, and their families can save about 30% compared to civilian grocery stores. Find the commissary closest to you. You can save even more using coupons at your commissary.
- Instead of the mall, shop at military Exchanges. Each service branch has its own Exchange system where you can shop (online or in-store) at discounted prices and tax-free. They’re like a mall with other services: uniform shops, barbershops, laundry and dry cleaning, gas stations, fast food outlets, and lawn and garden shops.
- No matter your branch, if you’re eligible to shop in an Exchange system, you can shop in any other service branch systems.
- Exchanges may offer special deals. For instance, if you're stationed overseas for at least 30 days, you can typically buy a car tax-free and may even be able to ship it back to the US for free.
- Army and Air Force Exchange Service (the AAFES or the Exchange)
- Navy Exchange Service Command (the NEX)
- Marine Corps Exchange) (the MCX)
- Coast Guard Exchange (the CGX)
- No matter where you shop, mobile apps may make shopping easier. But what if you hit a snag? If you run into a billing problem, turn to the store, the app or the credit or debit card linked to the app for help.
- The law says that anyone giving online reviews and recommendations should disclose their connection to a company but not all of them do. Search online for information and credible opinions from trusted sources. Compare reviews from a variety of websites.
- Some companies offer “free” trials for their products, but don’t make their cancellation policies obvious. You could end up paying for that “free” trial every month. Read the fine print to avoid hidden costs.