What do you do with your expired coupons? Toss them in the trash? I mean, they’re no good, right? Well, that’s what I used to think too until I starting chatting with Catherine of Cat’s Muse. Catherine taught me all about expired coupons and the benefit for our overseas military.
When I had a reader request on this topic a while back, I immediately knew Catherine should be the one to explain this for everyone considering she is currently a military wife and mother stationed overseas! Catherine shares AAFES coupon matches, and other great goodies for those of us state-side at Cat’s Muse!
These questions will give you an understanding of the value in sending your expired coupons away, and also how to go about doing it! So, Catherine…
Why is it important to send expired coupons overseas?
We do not have access to a Sunday paper to get coupon inserts. As of right now, these are the most readily available type of coupons out there.
Can all military personnel use expired coupons? Or, is it just for military personnel overseas?
Expired coupons can only be used by members of the military who are stationed overseas, and even then only those who have access to a commissary or PX/BX or other military facility that accepts expired coupons. If unaware whether your store accepts expired coupons, be sure to ask a store manager.
What types of expired coupons can be used?
Any manufacturer coupons coming from Sunday inserts, home mailers, grocery store mailers (although no store coupons), internet printables. I have also found that some bases will allow the use of expired catalinas as well, but others will not. So, don’t send these unless you know the person you are sending them to can use them.
How long are the expired coupons valid to be used and redeemed?
Coupons are valid for up to 6 months past the expiration date.
So, if you can use the coupons for up to 6 months, how “expired” should our coupons be to consider sending them overseas?
If you are sending them to an individual you know will use them right away, then they are probably OK for 3 months past the expiration. But, if you are sending them to a sorting point on a military facility then try to keep those coupons at 1-2 months at most past the expiration date. Those facilities often need times to sort and distribute the coupons. And, depending on the shipping method, it can take even longer to receive at the military facility (Priority mail can take 1 to 3 weeks, parcel post up to 8 weeks or more).
What is the best way to prepare coupons for sending? Should I clip them all or send whole inserts?
You can send a whole lot more coupons for your postage money if you clip them first. They are also a lot easier to sort this way. If you are sending them to an individual, check with them first to see if they are ok with inserts. If you are sending coupons to a military facility they prefer that you clip them first. Many of them have sorting and distributions in place that makes it much easier to pass along clipped coupons.
Should they be organized sorted in any specific way, i.e., organize by product, separate in envelopes, etc.?
I find it helpful when people sort the coupons into food & non food categories. This seems to make them faster to sort as well. Some also staple multiple coupons together which also makes them easier to find as well. As far as how to sort them, I’ve had people use everything from construction paper to plastic bags to envelopes they all seem to work. I think that people use
what’s handy for them.
What is the best way to mail (US Post office, FedEx, etc).
I don’t know if it’s the best way, but it’s the only way right now unless people want to pay international air mail rates. Use the US Post Office. We have what are called military zip codes that allow the postage to be the same and many times less for people who are stateside to ship to us here. Be prepared to fill out a customs label if you are sending a large amount of coupons in a large envelop or box.
Do you know of any other resources (other than your site) we can visit to find out more on expired coupons for our military?
Hot Coupon World has a thread that lists people who are looking for expired coupons here. I have participated in this & the response has been wonderful to the point where I have asked to be removed until I can get caught up.
Finally, and probably the most important would be to check with your local USO to see if they have a coupon program in place. The USO really does a lot for those of us who are stationed overseas. Many of the USO locations also take donated items to send to the troops as well. Their website with loads of resources can be found here.
Cat, thanks so much for all this great information! This reminds me that I need to mail you a pack of expireds this week too!
Were you familiar with this program? Do you send your expired coupons to overseas military?