Commissaries offer military personnel groceries at an average of about 30 percent savings from what they would have to pay if they shopped elsewhere, potentially saving a family of four almost $4,500 annually. Groceries are sold at cost plus a 5 percent surcharge that goes toward building and maintaining commissaries.
In addition, military personnel do not pay state or local sales tax on their purchases. The commissaries stock quality items and even have sales that benefit their customers. For military families stationed overseas, the commissary offers the chance to buy familiar items.
Commissaries have been in existence since 1867 as part of the benefits package for the military community. Only active and retired service members and their families, National Guard members and members of the Reserve and their families may shop at the commissary.