Shopping at a Post Exchange (PX) or Base Exchange (BX), which is operated by the Army Air Force Exchange Services (AAFES), is one of the many benefits given to servicemembers and their dependents. And it's a pretty big benefit at that: According to AAFES, on average, customers save 20% by shopping at the PX/BX versus other commercial retail or discount stores.
A 20% savings is nice but here are eight ways you can save even more when shopping at the PX or BX:
Before you make a trip to the PX or BX, stop by the AAFES official Facebook page and browse through their lengthy list of coupons.
Local Exchange Buddy List
Want to be one of the first to know about sales, promotions, and exclusive offers at your local PX or BX? Just join their Buddy List and you'll get everything you need via e-mail. You can also add your name to more than one Buddy List if you'd like to receive notifications about offers from other Exchanges that aren't in your immediate area. Sign up instructions are located here.
Using Online Coupons
Maximize your savings by using online coupons. Besides standard hard-copy coupons such as the ones found in magazines, Sunday newspapers and on product packages, AAFES also accepts coupons printed from online sources such as Red Plum and Coupons.com.
If you don't live near an AAFES store, which is common among members of the Reserve and Guard, you can still take advantage of their low prices by shopping online at the AAFES Web site. Besides getting a great deal on name brand products, you won't pay sales tax, and standard shipping is free.
(Note, this doesn't apply to purchases made at the Online Mall, which is a collection of popular stores that offer military discounts.)
AAFES Online Savings Club
When you join the AAFES Online Savings Club, you'll get their newsletter, which features upcoming sales and promotions. You'll also receive exclusive coupons that are only available to club members.
BYOB – Bring Your Own Bag
Want to do something positive for the environment? Bring in your own reusable bags when you shop at the PX or BX and you'll save 5 cents off your bill for each bag you bring. Please note, to qualify for the discount, bags can't be plastic, such as the ones you generally receive from the PX, BX, commissary, or other grocery or discount stores.
Granted, a nickel per bag may not seem like much, but over time it does add up. Check with the exchange near you to see whether they participate in this program.
Don't Always Stick to Your List
Generally speaking, lists are great because they keep you focused on purchasing the items that you truly need/want, which in turn often cuts down on impulse spending. However, not sticking strictly to your list may end up saving you money in the long run, too.
For example, if you see an item on sale—a product that you frequently use or that would be a perfect gift for an upcoming birthday, anniversary or another occasion—go ahead and buy it if your budget allows.
Why pay more later if you don't have to?
Did you know that AAFES has a layaway program? Certain restrictions may apply, such as the price tag of the item you're buying and the size of the deposit. There may also be a service fee.There may also be restrictions on the type of merchandise that qualifies for the layaway program as well as how long particular items can be placed on layaway. Check with your local PX or BX for details.
Updated by Armin Brott, March 2016