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A Boy, A Girl, and The Marine Corps: A Love Triangle: The commissary

A Boy, A Girl, and The Marine Corps: A Love Triangle

"I cast my lot with a Marine and where he was, was home to me." ~ Anonymous.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The commissary

I decided on a whim today to compare the cost of my commissary bill yesterday to the cost of the Safeway that is literally a block from our house.

$40 more expensive. It equaled out to be about a 35% savings, which is about what the commissary advertises. I happened to mention this little fact on FB and a friend of mine, who served in the Army, decided to actually argue with me that the commissary is not actually cheaper. Seriously.

Granted, there are not a lot of commissaries in the area.  I'm sure it was a pain in the ass to get there to grocery shop. That said, he told me that Safeway is generally accepted to be one of the most expensive grocery stores in the Seattle area. Semi-true. We have a number of local chains that boast better produce etc that are hugely more expensive... Many of them are my other choices for stores near my house. So, I feel comfortable choosing Safeway as my comparison.

So, when I argued that, and the actual dollar differences, he came back and argued time and gas money. I can tell you right now, I saved $40 this week vs the civilian grocery store, and it did not, in any way, cost me $40 to drive to the commissary. It only costs me $32 to fill my tank if I am below empty. (roll my eyes a little). And we average $40 to $60 a week in savings depending on the items we need, and we don't pay sales tax, which is almost 10% in the Seattle area. So, how am I not saving money if it only takes an extra 40 minutes out of my day to go to the commissary, I'm not paying sales tax, and it probably costs a whopping $5 in gas to get there and back?

Now, if I had to drive from where I live farther than an hour away it would take a half a tank of gas or more to go there and back, and over an hour each way. That would not be worth it.  If we didn't have a commissary near by, by all means, we would shop retail, but why would I currently?

I don't know about you, but my husband and I do not think $40 is a small amount of money to save (or waste). $122 (before our 10% sales tax) vs $82 (after the 5% surcharge) is still a win in my book.

Now, my friend had a very good paying civilian job. So much so, in fact, that he managed to save up money, quite his job, and is now backpacking all over Australia and New Zealand. So, maybe he thinks 40 minutes out of his day to save 35% is not worth it because $40-$60 is not a lot of money to him... I don't know, but I do know that my husband and I do this comparison a few times a year and never once say, "Gee, that extra $50 a week is not worth it. Who needs an extra $2600 a year? Not us!" LOL!

It's so crazy to me how many people do not think about those things... We know so many Marines who do not take advantage of the military benefits. Why not? We use our military discount on clothes, movie tickets (on the rare occasion we go to a movie), groceries, travel, you name it. Why not take advantage of those things while you have them? Use that extra money to pay down your debt, like we do, or to save a little more, or even get to eat out once a week. Buy a new video game, something!

I don't know... How many of you don't think the savings are worth it? Are we weird in the fact that we are willing take 3/4 of an hour out of our day to save the money? I understand if you don't have a commissary near by, but if we do, why wouldn't we use it?


Blogger Tori and Chad said...

No, it means you're wise. I actually break it down sometimes what's cheaper at the commissary vs. WalMart (like you can get pasta at Wallyworld cheaper) and do both trips!

February 13, 2011 at 1:34 PM  
Blogger Brandee Mask said...

I agree with you 100%!!!! being a Marine wife for over 13 years and living both on base at times as well as living out in town, the drive regardless is worth the trip. I ran to a near by grocery store yesterday to grill out and the hamb. meat, sides, and bread were over $40. I could have easily gotten atleast 3 things of meat and everythjing else I got for the same price if not cheaper had I driven to the base. It has saved us a ton over the years I am certain of it.......

February 13, 2011 at 3:58 PM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

Where do you live in WA? Do you live at Fort Lewis or Everett? We go to the commissary at Smokey Point :) Of course, it's only 20 minutes away from us since we live in Everett & it's a bit smaller than I expected. The one in Oak Harbor is even bigger.. makes no sense to me but I LOVE the commissary. I can get so much oriental stuff there that my husband loves & it's not outrageously priced.

February 13, 2011 at 5:38 PM  

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