FORT LEE, Va. (Feb. 18, 2016) -- When it comes to saving money, commissary shoppers know the deal: With its average overall savings of 30 percent, the commissary can play a crucial role in helping eligible shoppers stretch every dollar they spend on groceries, and stick to a budget.

It should not be a surprise then that the Defense Commissary Agency supports Military Saves Week, being held this year Feb. 22 -- 27.

Military Saves (militarysaves.org) is a component of the nonprofit America Saves and a partner in the Department of Defense's Financial Readiness Campaign. According to their website, the organization "seeks to motivate, support, and encourage military families to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth."

On the website, service members and their families and civilian employees are encouraged to take the Military Saves pledge; organizations are asked to promote savings year-round and during Military Saves Week. The website also offers financial planning tools and advice to active-duty, guard and reserve service members, their families, DOD civilians and contractors, retirees and veterans.

While commissaries play a central role in saving eligible patrons money, they can also help afford a healthier lifestyle, with a commitment to offering plentiful and economical fresh foods and organic alternatives. Commissaries also promote healthy cooking at home by hosting cooking demonstrations and promoting simple healthy meal recipes even the busiest family can accommodate, both in-store and on the website at www.commissaries.com.

Here are some of the benefits of shopping at the commissary that can help preserve your budget:

• Commissaries offer better-for-you food choices, including organics and a growing number of "specialty" items, such as gluten-free alternatives, low sodium, sugar-free and reduced-calorie products.

• Nearly 500 Commissary Value Brand items in 55 categories offer savings of about 23 percent when compared to the store brand and private label items found in commercial retail stores. In some instances, savings could reach as much as 50 percent.

• Commissaries strongly support use of coupons for additional savings, and the Commissary Rewards Card banks electronic coupons for automatic savings at checkout. Card users recently topped 964,000, with more than 8 million digital coupons redeemed, savings patrons over $8.8 million.

For more information, visit the Rewards Card page.

"Military Saves is a great source for financial planning tools, ideas and encouragement, not only during Military Saves Week, but year-round," said Tracie Russ, DeCA's director of sales. "Military members and their families can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, through their website and their newsletter. And be sure to include shopping at your commissary when planning your budget. With savings around 30 percent, it's worth the trip!"