Commissaries to add detergent pods

A new alternative to large containers of liquid or powdered detergents is coming to military commissaries worldwide. Beginning in March, commissaries are offering compact, premeasured detergent packets known as pods or power “pacs.” These new products are expected to change the way consumers do laundry, said Chris Burns, Defense Commissary Agency sales director. “This is the future of laundry detergent, and the commissary is right up front offering the very best products available,” Burns said. Commissary shoppers have already registered their opinions about pods. In late January, a manufacturer gave free samples to commissary shoppers who purchased a certain brand of liquid detergent. Customer feedback was very positive, Burns said, focusing on convenience of use and a smaller, more manageable size. Commissaries will still offer the traditional forms of detergent.

Six ways to extend your food budget

The following are six steps service members and their families can follow to extend their grocery budgets: 1) Shop the commissary: Consistently shopping the commissary provides an average savings of 32 percent over retail grocery store prices. Yearly savings for a family of four average about $4,500; a family of three saves more than $3,500; and a couple saves more than $2,800 and a single service member saves more than $1,500. Please take note of “Extra Savings” shelf signs. Visit the Savings Aisle at to view prices and percent savings of specific sale items in the store where you shop. 2) Plan ahead: Meal planning and eating more meals at home help reduce your overall food expenditures. 3) Make a list: A list helps avoid impulse buys. If you find an item on sale that you’ll use later, feel free to add it. Also, never shop when you’re tired or hungry. 4) Read labels and compare prices: When comparing prices of competing brands, compare the number of servings per container. A cheaper price on a larger size is only a savings if you actually use those extra ounces. 5) Do it yourself: The higher price for “convenience” items reflects the labor required to pre-cook, pre-cut or pre-measure. Substantial savings can be had by making these preparations yourself. 6) Redeem coupons: Coupons and rebate savings can add up fast.

Commissary surcharge helps patrons improve benefit

When military service members shop their commissary, they save a substantial amount of money, while contributing to the improvement of the commissary system. That’s because for almost 60 years, Congress has required commissaries to collect a surcharge on purchases to make them more self-sustaining. “Every time our customers shop at the commissary, they are not only saving money because we sell at cost, but they are also taking care of their own,” said Joseph H. Jeu, DeCA director and CEO. “Their purchases help improve commissary facilities for their brothers and sisters in uniform.” The surcharge, which has been set at 5 percent for the past 28 years, is used to build replacement stores, renovate and repair existing stores, and purchase equipment such as freezers and cash registers. Even with the surcharge, customers still enjoy an average of 32 percent or more in savings.