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How to track down deals and save cash

Aug. 18, 2011 - 12:24PM   |   Last Updated: Aug. 18, 2011 - 12:24PM  |  
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Depending on where you live, just shopping at your local exchange can mean an instant discount over the same product off base. Not only are prices typically lower, no state or local sales tax can mean more than a 10 percent discount right off the top. But the exchange also offers a host of coupon sources for even deeper discounts.

"The Toyland Book gave exchange patrons the most bang for their buck," according to Col. Colice Powell, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service's acting chief of staff. "Redemption of exchange coupons was more than $446,000 with an average savings of $13 per coupon redeemed."

Customers can increase their savings by combining exchange offers with vendor coupons. Here's where to find the deals:

In print: Occasionally, the exchange includes coupons in local sales fliers. While you can always get those at the store,">you can also sign up online to get them mailed to you. In recent months, the exchange began printing "Clip & Save" coupon booklets with 20 to 50 special deals once per quarter.

Social media: AAFES posts coupons to Facebook every Friday that can be used at stores worldwide beginning the next day. "We also send out information on special deals and unadvertised sales via Twitter," says Leah Miller, of AAFES marketing.">Check out this webpage.

Buddy Lists: Sign up for these regular email blasts that include a mashup of AAFES-wide deals and coupons, plus special offers good only in your local area.

Mobile marketing: Customers in the continental U.S. can opt to receive coupon codes and sales info via text message. AAFES sends out one to four messages per week to customers with special savings alerts. Text "Exchange" to 95613.

Interservice couponing: Find a great coupon from AAFES, but you're on a Navy or Marine Corps base? Don't be afraid to ask if they'll take it. The Navy Exchange, for example, accepts most coupons from AAFES and the Marine Corps and Coast Guard exchange systems.

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