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Consumer Watch: Website features coupons, promotions in military stores

Mar. 5, 2014 - 05:10PM   |  
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If you’re looking for ways to save money at your commissary and exchange, check out a growing website that’s aimed at promoting coupons and other deals in those stores.

“The Defense Commissary Agency is not allowed to advertise, so we help them increase awareness” of deals, said Dave Gibson, chief executive officer of bBIG Communications, parent company of mymilitarysavings.com. The site advertises actual sale prices available in the stores. Every day, “dozens and dozens” of coupons and offers are available, Gibson said, and the number is growing.

At this writing, there were coupons or other sales promotions for products ranging from applesauce to vodka. There are 280 brands with more than 1,700 products offered by companies that sell their products in military stores, such as Kraft Foods, Kellogg’s, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo and Hershey’s, to name a few.

Gibson said more than 730,000 authorized shoppers have opted to receive emails from mymilitarysavings.com with information about savings and offers specific to the military.

You can search by brand or category: alcohol, beverages, food products, health and beauty, household, and pet products. When you click on a product, you’ll see a variety of specials for that brand; the coupons have a green dollar sign icon in the right corner.

By the end of May, there will be a dedicated “Coupons” page that will combine all coupons into one section, Gibson said.

Most of the coupons are the click-and-print variety, but the site also features increasing numbers of DeCA Rewards Card coupon offers, Gibson said. Those can be downloaded to the Rewards Card.

You can create your own shopping list by category, drilling down to brands, but it only includes the brands offered by the sponsors on the website. If there are coupons available for that item, you can click and print them. At the left, under “miscellaneous” you can add items to your list that you don’t find in the current shopping departments. You can print the shopping list, email it or view it from your smartphone, tablet or iPad.

Another option for creating shopping lists is the commissaries.com site, which allows you to check out specials and create a customized shopping list based on the layout of the store where you shop and the products available in that store.

At mymilitarysavings.com, there are recipes, and blogs about new products and charity tie-ins — such as manufacturers’ donations to a particular charity when a product is bought in a military store. Ten military spouses work part time doing various work such as blogs and product trials.

Military ID holders also can enter a variety of contests, including registering for in-store contests on mobile devices — while you’re standing in a commissary aisle.

The site was launched in June 2011, but its founders have been involved in marketing and promoting items in commissaries and exchanges for about 25 years with in-store coupons and promotional signs.

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