Monday, April 4, 2011

Giving Back: Overseas Coupon Program

Each month this year, I plan to give myself some sort of challenge, to try to improve how I'm doing in that particular area.  In January, I did the Clean Out the Cupboards Challenge to use up the excess food in my pantry and spend as little as possible at the stores.  Last month, I did the Drugstore Bootstrap Challenge to build up my Extra Care Bucks from CVS and my Register Rewards from Walgreens.  In March, I planned to Give Back...One Coupon at a Time.

But I got a little lax on this challenge, so I'm continuing it for the month of April as well!

This week, I decided to send expired coupons to an overseas military base via the Overseas Coupon Program. When coupons expire, they're just trash for us - but not for members of the U.S. military stationed in other countries!  There, they can use coupons past their expiration date - up to 2 months past the date.  So sending your unused coupons overseas is an easy way to help our troops purchase the items they need.

To participate, go to the website and choose a base to send to.  You can "adopt" a base, or just send each month to any bases that need coupons.   Then separate your coupons into food and nonfood piles.

I decided to send the coupons from the 2/27 Procter & Gamble inserts to the troops.  One thing that is great about the P&G inserts is that all of the coupons have the same expiration date - in this case, they all expired on 3/31.  So I pulled out all of my inserts (I get them from a free weekly newspaper in my area) from my coupon file (I don't cut them up, but file by date), separated the individual pages out, and put each type of page into a pile.  And then I started cutting.

It took a while, longer than I expected.  But when I was done, I had hundreds of coupons to send out tomorrow.  I'm glad I'm able to help in this small way!

How have you helped others with coupons or other frugal practices recently?  Leave a comment below!

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Lesley April 5, 2011 at 11:42 AM  

I send all of my expired coupons overseas!! The heartfelt thank you emails that I get from the families I send to are a huge motivator in keeping it going.

There's another great website with information on how to get started sending coupons overseas, where they can actually be used up to 6 months past their expiration -

The main difference between that site and the OCP site is that CouponsToTroops encourages you to mail coupons directly to a family rather than to a generic address on base. With that personal contact you know that your coupons are getting to someone who will actually use them or share them with other families.

I personally maintain a list of families who are stationed overseas who are interested in receiving coupons from us back home - if anyone would like me to put them in touch with a military family overseas, just send me an email at hcwsbp at gmail dot com and I'll be happy to help! (or check out my blog for more information

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