We are coming up on that time again – the semi-annual case lot sales. They take place at almost all Commissaries in the months of May and September (find your store’s dates here: Case Lot Dates) . So if you are new to couponing you will need to learn about couponing at the Commissary Case Lot Sales.
The case lot sales are where each Commissary sets out select items and discounts them. The catch – you have to buy the case. A case generally runs 6 to 24 of an item. Often the Commissary will attach coupons to the case so that you can discount the price even more. Often items can be discounted 50%, and some times as little as 10%.
For deals in the case lot sales you need to first look at the prices. Sometimes you can get good deals and sometimes the prices are worse that the regular Commissary sale price. So always calculate out the per item price. Know the typical price of the items when on sale and compare them – you may be surprised. In May I went to my Commissary and they had canned veggies for .75/item outside, and inside the same can sold individually was .55. So buyers beware!
So your first question – Can I use coupons at the Case lot sale? The answer is yes – with some “ifs” attached. Generally you can use one coupon per item in the case. But only if the Commissary doesn’t have coupons attached to them already. If your coupons are better than theirs you can ask them to remove the coupons so you can use your own. This gets more complicated with the fact some Commissaries are attaching the coupons electronically. For those that do this you cannot use your own coupons on that case.
So now you wonder – Does my Commissary know I can use my own? That is the important question. Most do but assume that they don’t. I always recommend you email your store director a few weeks before (so now!) asking this question. Find your director’s name and email here: Store Locator. Almost all
directors are good about emailing back that you can. Print that email and bring it with you. If you can’t get an email from the director I recommend you go to DeCA’s Facebook page and print their response on the subject (here and here) . Those checking you out may not have even encountered this before so be patient and bring your print out of the rules.
Next – How many coupons can I use on a case? You can use one per item purchased – same as regular shopping. So if there are 12 items in a case and you have $1/1 coupons you can use 12. If you have $1/3 coupons you can use 4, $1/5 you can use 2, etc. Remember you cannot use these in addition to the ones the Commissary has offered. If the coupons total to more than the item is offered you will get the overage. Remember not to use more coupons than are in the case. Club packs (i.e. the giant packages of 48 rolls of toilet paper) are considered one item and can only have one coupon used.
Finally – How do I know what is going to be on sale? Each Commissary will have a list of some of the items on sale a few days to a few weeks before the sale. Ask around or email your store director to see if you can get a copy. But remember this list is subject to change and doesn’t include everything. Some things don’t arrive in time. Beverages (soda, powerades, Monsters, etc.) are often not listed and can be great deals. Also, venders are often on site adding things as they choose. I recommend you drive by the night before to see what seems to be out, and on the day of just bring all your coupons to be safe.
Case lots can provide good deals and they can be deceptive. Couponers generally find that they can get better deals with coupons and sales. The average shopper doesn’t typically use coupons so they feel the items are amazing deals. I generally use them for beverages and other items that rarely have coupons available. I also look for items that have high value coupons out at the time that may get me free items. Think about what you want to spend, what sale prices generally look like, and use a calculator!