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It's still fall, but holiday displays are already popping up in stores. As you start planning your shopping blitz, take note of a few things going on in the military exchanges that could save you bucks.
Get a heads-up on specials at the online exchange store by signing up for the new Exchange Online Savings Club, http://www.shopmyexchange.com/savingsclub">www.shopmyexchange.com/savingsclub. This will bring e-newsletters to your inbox with prizes, details on upcoming sales and coupons for club members only. Shopmyexchange.com is operated by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, but all branches can shop there. It's beefed up to include more items available in brick-and-mortar stores.
MyNavyExchange.com also allows you to sign up for occasional emails about sales, unadvertised specials and events. The form asks you to identify your local brick-and-mortar store, but any email that goes out has information about products available on the website as well as at the store, said Kristine Sturkie, Navy Exchange Service Command spokeswoman. As with AAFES, authorized customers from all branches can shop at the website. MyNavyExchange.com mirrors the products and prices at Navy Exchange brick-and-mortar stores and has been gradually expanding its selection. In mid-October, the store will add USS Enterprise apparel and gifts; in November, a full toy category will be added; and another luxury handbag and accessory designer will appear in December.
Navy Exchange holiday sales and specials begin earlier this year, in early November, under a new approach. We're eagerly awaiting more details.
The day after Thanksgiving — dubbed "Black Friday" — instead will be "Navy Blue Friday" for Navy Exchange customers. Some specials will be available all day Friday, and others throughout the three-day weekend.
NEXCOM will run a special sale for afloat sailors at MyNavyExchange.com three days before Thanksgiving, with sales tailored to their needs. Deployed customers will start getting electronic or paper copies of the sales flyer onboard ship in mid-November through their supply officer or sales officer.
Guests at some Navy Lodges can get a 20 percent discount on rooms booked now through Jan. 2 for stays from Dec. 3 to Jan. 7. To get the savings, authorized customers from any branch must make a reservation online at www.navy-lodge.com; you can't book through the Reservation Center or your local Navy Lodge for this promotion. All rooms must be booked in advance.
The discount is good for the Navy Lodges at: New London, Conn.; Mayport, Fla.; Kings Bay, Ga.; Great Lakes, Ill.; Patuxent River, Annapolis and Bethesda, Md.; Moffett Field and Staten Island, N.Y.; Memphis, Tenn.; Fort Worth and Corpus Christi, Texas; Washington, D.C.; and Everett, Wash.
This discount is over and above normal savings. Navy Lodges generally offer prices 45 percent below comparable commercial lodging in the local community, NEXCOM officials say.