Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Military families face much higher grocery bills

The latest Pentagon budget proposal slashes subsidies for commissaries.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 27, 2014 1:20PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyU.S. military families' grocery budgets could take a $3,000-a-year hit under a new defense budget proposal.

The proposal would cut commissary subsidies from $1.4 billion to $400 million. The 71 percent decrease would be phased in over three years, CNN Money says.

Full Shopping Cart in Grocery Store© Fuse/Getty ImagesA recent Defense Commissary Agency study found that military families save 30 percent on their grocery bills by shopping at a commissary, compared with a retail grocery store. The new budget proposal would knock those savings down to 10 percent.

"It's a huge hit for families," Kathleen Moakler, government relations director for the National Military Family Association, told CNN. "This helps our families supplement their pay."

This is just another hit for military families, many of whom are already struggling to make ends meet. We recently told you that a record number of food stamps were used by service members and their families, both active duty and retired, in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

And Congress recently cut funding for the food stamp program, which impacts both military and civilian families.

The Pentagon's 2015 budget "proposed the deepest and most far-reaching cuts to military compensation in the 40-year history of the all-volunteer force, explaining that such cuts are necessary in order to pay for more modern gear and high-tech weaponry," says the Army Times.

Some highlights of the Defense Department's budget proposal for fiscal 2015 include the first-ever rollback in Basic Allowance for Housing; a military pay raise that would match last year's 1 percent hike, the lowest in the volunteer era; massive cuts to commissary subsidies; and potentially increased health care fees for both active-duty families and retirees.

What do you think of the Pentagon's proposed budget?

More on Money Talks News:

Feb 27, 2014 1:49PM
Here is a solution. Restrict the subsidies to just fresh foods and other healthy food. No subsidies for junk foods and luxury items.

Below should apply to food stamps and military subsidies.

Food Stamps are one of the most abused and wasteful social program this country has ever developed. A family of four receives more money monthly then my family of five spends a month on food. The amount paid out each month should be cut by at least one third. Purchases by food stamps should be (if not already) restricted to the following: Fresh/frozen non prepared meats & fish, fresh/frozen non prepared vegetables, deli meats/cheeses, canned goods, breads, non sweetened dairy, and non sweetened juices. The following should always be banned, and processes need to be in place where not already, to restrict: Soda, bottled water, power and energy drinks, sweetened juices, coffee, tea, ice cream, candy, energy bars, any pre-prepared meals or sandwiches, snacks/junk food, or any food that is mail ordered or shipped anywhere. If these rules would be followed, and recipients would learn how to shop and properly eat, no one would be hungry and we the taxpayers would save billions.

            Tobacco and alcohol should be banned from purchase by welfare funds. No cash should be allowed to be pulled off of any assistance cards except at banks and should be limited to a very low percentage of funds.

Feb 27, 2014 3:11PM
Most of the military budget cuts affect the service men and women but leave in tact the military spending on armaments. Both republicans and democrats who have military bases or production plants in their districts fought hard to keep their military contracts in place to "save jobs". Instead of building million dollar planes that drop $100,000 bombs to drop on $100 huts why not spend that money training them to produce things that will actually help society (infrastructure, solar panels, and other durable goods)
Feb 27, 2014 2:48PM
" order to pay for more modern gear and high-tech weaponry." Ok! Who's going to operate same?? Who's going to repair same?? Who's going to hold the ground you have won??  What do I think of the proposed budget?? Not much, about the same as those who originated the abomination!!
Feb 27, 2014 4:18PM
all taking place under obamas watch  obama has a war on military families
Feb 27, 2014 3:30PM
So, have they cut any of the benefits for the retired Commanders? What is our cost for all the retired military echelon?  Seems the troops and their families always get the shaft.
Feb 27, 2014 4:45PM
Another gutting of a family that bears the brunt of defending freedom from the idiot and chief! Obama is the greatest threat to this country since Adolph Hitler! Period!~ What a **** and those that voted for him.
Feb 28, 2014 10:55AM
I think it's absolutely shameful to ask our service men and women to put their lives on the line as they do, to protect our freedom, and then steal money from them.  I'm sure the generals aren't getting money taken away from them. They're talking about closing our commissaries, too. This administration is a total embarrassment. Cut military spending by bringing our troops HOME and quit trying to police the world! Haven't we lost enough good soldiers already? Haven't we sacrificed enough?
Feb 28, 2014 3:49PM
As a taxpayer, I am so sick of paying for their cheap cigarettes and beer. They get money off of mortgage rates, cheap medical insurance co-pays ($10 co-pays for ALL meds and they STILL bitch about it!), cheaper car insurance, military discounts on hotels and rentals, it seems endless.
I know one family w/ five kids and the Mom wants more b/c well, her butt is covered, so why not? We have a family of three (1 child) and I buy on sale, use coupons and make much of our food myself. I still can't get close to her low bills b/c of all the help they get. I used to work over 50hrs a week and still not have health insurance b/c they wouldn't give me full time at just one place. They still complain about "sacrifices".  Meanwhile the people who really did suffer in wars aren't getting the help they need and have to wait so long for care. UNacceptible.They get all this help and still have money to start up a business, while he is raking in money from his military job and will get a pension soon. (He gets to retire quite young.) I am angry b/c we worked for years, have been saving since our twenties to try to get ahead and all we got was crap from people. The stock market crud eats most of what we save every ten friggin' years b/c no one wants to reign them in. I know I will probably be hated for this and that there are many military people who don't get what they deserve, but this is going on a lot, everywhere, and it has to be said. GET OFF the taxpayer teat! Unless you are wounded or have chronic legitimate condition, make your own way after duty.

Mar 3, 2014 1:10PM
What they are saying is that more money is available to fill defense contractor's pockets.    Cutting back on the BX only means more military on food stamps which will not save a dime and will cost more due to red tape.  Let's start by pulling our troops out of Afghanistan and over 100 countries in the world.   Let's do away with foreign aid.   How about getting rid of all the subsidies given to farmers and corporations.  
Feb 28, 2014 12:37PM
Obama and his Reich Staff have zeroed in on the military and its families. He is waging a campaign to destroy our capability to defend ourselves against foreign and especially the ever increasing domestic threats. He has purged the command structure of our military reminisent of Comrade Josef Stalin's purges of the 1920s and 30. Our Commander in Chief has had a plan of destroying our military since way before he ever was elected to the highest office in our land. He is now carrying it out with precision.
Feb 27, 2014 3:39PM
The budget appears to have military industrial complex priorities. In this sense, it is a very appropriate budget.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.