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Stretch your grocery dollars at May commissary sidewalk sales

Stateside commissaries will offer more deals on groceries in May to help troops and families stock their shelves without breaking the bank.

These popular, traditional sidewalk sales will be held at various times throughout the month, depending on the commissary. As the name suggests, they’re generally located on sidewalks immediately outside of a store.

All stateside stores, and those in Hawaii and Alaska, will participate in the sales, generally over two or three days. Discounts vary, but promise to cut customers’ costs over and above their usual commissary savings.

This year, regular commissary prices are already 25% lower on average than those at commercial stores outside the gate, officials said.

Products being offered on sale include: baby products; non-food items such as paper towels, toilet paper, wipes and cleaning products; health and beauty products; pet food; snacks, such as nuts, chips and candy; cold cereals; beverages, including flavored water, juices and energy drinks; international foods; and baking and canned goods.

A number of items are sold in bulk, so check your pantry to make sure you’ve got some storage space, and be mindful of how much your vehicle will hold as you transport your stash home. Shoppers in Hawaii, where commissaries won’t offer plastic or paper bags starting Wednesday, should remember to take plenty of reusable bags with them.

Check the Defense Commissary Agency sidewalk sales web page for specific dates. The first sales are slated to start Wednesday at 11 stores:

  • Charleston Naval Weapons Station, South Carolina
  • New River Marine Corps Air Station, North Carolina
  • Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland
  • Newport Naval Station, Rhode Island
  • Key West Naval Air Station, Florida
  • Fort Cavazos I (Clear Creek store) and Kingsville NAS, Texas
  • Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee
  • Beale AFB and El Centro Naval Air Facility, California
  • Fort Huachuca, Arizona

Check your local store’s website or ask the store manager for any schedule changes, such as postponements because of weather delays. And as usual, if you’re scheduled to move this summer, keep that in mind as you make your purchases — especially when it comes to things like cleaning supplies, which the movers may not be able to pack in your shipment.

These sales are traditionally held twice a year, in the spring and fall. While they are specific to U.S. stores, customers overseas should check with their commissaries to see if there might be some special deals.

Those eligible for the commissary shopping benefit include active duty, Guard and Reserve members, military retirees, Medal of Honor recipients, and their authorized family members. Veterans with any Department of Veterans Affairs-documented, service-connected disability rating are now eligible for commissary shopping, as well as Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, and individuals who have been approved and designated as the primary caregivers of eligible veterans by the VA.

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