The average military family's food budget is a significant monthly expense. We've mentioned here before how important it is to use the commissary to reduce your expenses. According to DeCA's website, the average family saves more than $3,300 a year by shopping at the commissary. If you link commissary shopping to careful menu planning, you can really save a lot of money. A recent AP Story challenged two professional chefs and a food editor to create a shopping list for a family on food stamps. The budget, about $70 for a week, was difficult for the three panelist, but that money would have gone a lot further at a commissary. The DeCA website has tools to help you with your shopping trip. They have recipe sections, links to coupons, and weekly specials that save even more money.
Is it worth the effort? Well, if you could save the average $3,300 and invested that over a 20 year career in your Roth IRA, you'd bank more than $175,000!
(You can check my math by using the Yahoo! Personal Finance savings calculator. I used an 8% annual rate of return in a 0% tax rate.)