Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sending expired coupons directly to overseas military families

Guest post by Lesley Parkinson for CouponsToTroops

Expired coupons. We all have them! Coupons that we had every intention of using, but for one reason or another we still have the day after their expiration date. 

But did you know that even when the expiration dates are past, those coupons still have a valuable purpose? Expired coupons can be used by US military families who are stationed overseas. Since the availability of coupons is so limited there, the Commissaries and Exchanges on base allow the use of coupons up to 6 months past their expiration. 

Since 2009, CouponsToTroops has made it to their mission to make it well known about a simple way that anyone can show their support for our overseas military families, simply by mailing expired coupons to them. We have a constantly growing list of families who are stationed on various bases around the world who are interested in receiving coupons from families here in the US and we are happy to put you in touch with a family to mail your coupons to.

CouponsToTroops makes it very easy to mail your coupons. All you have to do is clip the coupons out, put them into an envelope or box, write the address that the military family provides to you and put them in the mail. Since you’re mailing to a US military address, the postage is the same as if you were mailing across town. If you do mail a package that weighs more than 13 ounces, you may need to fill out a customs form, but there’s no added cost for that and your local post office will be able to assist you with that. Shipments to Guam and Puerto Rico do not require a customs form, since they are both US territories. 

You do not have to count the coupons or add up the value and report to us. Sorting into categories, such as (Food and Non-Food or Food, Non-Food, Health & Beauty, Pets and Baby) is recommended IF you are sending a large selection of coupons, but it is not required. And of course the coupons do not need to be expired – if you send current coupons, that just allows the military families a longer timeframe to use them.

There are several websites out there that have programs to get the coupons overseas, but we are one of the few that recommend sending your coupons directly to an individual family. Some sites require you to ‘adopt’ a base and provide you with an address to mail to, often the Family Support Center on base. The advantage to our program is that you know without a doubt that your coupons are getting right into the hands of a family that will use them (or share their extras with others on base) and you’re more likely to receive an acknowledgement that they have been received. We often hear from military families who say that the support centers do not have enough volunteers to get the coupons distributed quickly so the backrooms are filled with stacks of boxes and envelopes of coupons, that will ultimately end up in the trash because they are so past expiration by the time they reach a military family. 

Other websites direct you to mail to a collection point in the US and they will repackage them and mail them overseas for you. The reason that we do not recommend this is that since it costs the same exact postage to mail them directly overseas yourself, by going through a collection point, it will take the coupons longer to reach the military families. As it is sending directly overseas from the US can take up to a few weeks, but when you add in the time it takes to send to a collection point, and then wait for the coupons to be rebundled and remailed from there, it could be well over a month or longer before they are received overseas. There’s just no way of telling how quick of a turnaround time the collection point has to get them mailed out again. There very well could be a stack of boxes and envelopes sitting there, waiting to be repackaged and remailed. Coupons cannot help the military families to save money until they have the coupons in their hands.

If you are interested in mailing your expired and extra coupons to a military family who is stationed overseas, please send an email to to request to be matched up with a family. At this time we have families stationed in Belgium, Cuba, Germany, Guam, Italy, Japan, Korea, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom, who are patiently waiting for coupons to be sent their way.

Please see our Facebook page at or email us for more information.

On behalf of all of the military families on our contact list – ‘Thank you for your support!’

(Would you like to be a guest blogger at Frugal Follies?  Click here for more information.)

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Anonymous,  July 31, 2011 at 7:13 PM  

Last week at Walmart I had a few that were one day past the date and when the cashier and I discovered they were one day past the date , the cashier told me she had to take them and destroy them. She got very angry when I told her I wanted my coupons back for the very purpose of sending them on to military families(I use to use them myself when I was overseas so I know that they can use expired coupons) The manager started to shred them and stated it was fraud. It is not fraud expired coupons are allowed for miltary personal in all commisaaries overseas for up to at least 6mo past the experiation dates and the families do use them!

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