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What To Do With Expired Coupons

by Tara Kuczykowski on February 11, 2010 · 32 comments

I frequently receive emails from readers wondering what they can do with their expired coupons. Some stores will accept them for a short period beyond the expiration, but short of recycling them, is there a way to extend their usefulness?

Today, Renae from Madame Deals is sharing a way you can help others by sharing your expired coupons:

Coupons are like money and it seems like such a waste to throw away unused coupons. Many stores in the United States do not accept expired coupons because retailers will not be reimbursed for coupons that are past their expiration dates. So what should you do with expired coupons?

Did you know overseas military families can use expired manufacturer coupons in their commissaries for up to six months past their expiration dates? Many military families are living on a tight budget, but while living in another country they do not have access to the Sunday coupon inserts.

Instead of throwing out your unused and expired coupons, consider mailing them to an overseas military family.

A few things to keep in mind:

:: Only manufacturer coupons can be used by overseas military personnel. Store-specific coupons, like those for Target, cannot be redeemed.

:: Food and baby coupons are in much higher demand than pet and medication coupons.

:: Overseas Coupon Program has a list of mailing addresses for military bases accepting coupon donations. Also, ask people in your community if they know of someone stationed overseas since sending coupons directly to a family rather to the family center on base may benefit the family more.

:: For a list of other organizations that have coupon projects in place refer to Coupons To Troops.

Follow these steps to send coupons overseas:

:: Cut the coupons out to reduce weight for shipping and to make the coupons easy to sort.

:: Only send coupons that are expired by two months or less. This allows for mail time and sorting once the coupons arrive on base.

:: Sort coupons into two categories: food and non-food items. Pet coupons are considered non-food.

:: Place sorted coupons into zipper plastic bags and label them with food or non-food.

:: The Post Office will require you to fill out a customs form. Just ask and they will help you with it!

:: Shipping the coupons does not require extra postage for overseas shipping since it will be to an APO or FPO address.

To take this project to the next level, consider setting up drop boxes in your community. The library is a good place to start. For example, Madame Deals currently has four drop box locations at various businesses in our area.

Sending coupons to overseas military families is a great chance to be charitable without having to spend a lot of money.

What do you do with your expired coupons? Do you have any other tips for sending your coupons to overseas military families?

Renae and Amee blog together at Madame Deals, where they teach others to make dollars out of change. As moms themselves, they also provides store deals, recipes, money saving tips, ideas on stockpiling and family activities.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 hillary February 11, 2010 at 9:18 am

that is really cool....I hate throwing away coupons. =)

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2 Angel February 11, 2010 at 9:27 am

: ) appreciate the support.

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3 jody February 11, 2010 at 9:40 am

Thanks for adding this to the site.

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4 Alison February 11, 2010 at 9:49 am

What a GREAT post! I have never heard of this and love this idea! Thanks so much!

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5 Jennifer February 11, 2010 at 10:31 am

Just a question...do military commissaries accept internet coupons, or just the "traditional" type of coupon?

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6 Amy March 29, 2013 at 9:27 pm

They accept printed internet coupons

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7 Aprille February 11, 2010 at 10:34 am

thanks for mentioning this! I'm stationed here, but I send all my expired ones overseas!!!

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8 Julie February 11, 2010 at 10:41 am

Thank you for sharing this information! I can't wait to send my first envelope to these deserving families!

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9 Mister Tightwad February 11, 2010 at 10:54 am

The SouthtownStar newspaper in the south suburbs of Chicago is collecting coupons, current and expired and shipping them overseas. So far, we've collected more than $40,000 and sent them to the military base in Schweinfurt, Germany.

Send us your coupons and we'll do the dirty work.

Here's all of the info:
http://blogs.southtownstar.com/money/coupon_recycling/

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10 Jennifer February 11, 2010 at 11:33 am

We send our expired coupons to a specific military family overseas. We got connected with them through The Happy Housewife: http://thehappyhousewife.com/thank-you/ I like doing it this way, because I know that the coupons are wanted (the family registered with The Happy Housewife). The family also shares with others the coupons they aren't going to use.

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11 Kerry February 11, 2010 at 12:29 pm

What a great idea. I am going to look into this further to see what i can do. What about the printed coupon from the internet?

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12 lois February 11, 2010 at 12:43 pm

EXPIRED COUPONS WILL WORK 90% of the time. I've noticed at least in my area, the machines only reads the BARCODE, it DOESN'T RECOGNIZE the expiration date. It is the humans (check out persons) who sometime read it and care enough to catch it!

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13 Renae @ Madame Deals February 11, 2010 at 12:57 pm

They should be able to use an internet printed coupon as long as it is a manufacturers coupon- not Target etc.

As far as using expired coupons at local stores, please only do this if it is the stores coupon policy. Stores will not be reimbursed for expired coupons from the manufacturer. That is why there are only a few stores (non in my area) that take expired coupons.

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14 Donna February 11, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Just a little FYI my local Post Office has a collection box for these coupons. So, please check with your local post office to see if they are a local drop off for expired coupons. Hope this helps.

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15 Ashley February 11, 2010 at 1:42 pm

I think I am going to set up a box at the post office and Library here in town. Love this idea.

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16 Swap Savers February 11, 2010 at 1:53 pm

You should ask the store you shop in--some stores accept expired coupons. Also Bed, Bath & Beyond always accepts their expired store coupons.

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17 Crystal February 11, 2010 at 2:26 pm

I was stationed in Germany last year. These coupons really do help. If you could find a family to send to it makes it easier. The coupon box at the ACS is always a mess and almost impossible to go through with kids in tow!

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18 molly February 11, 2010 at 2:28 pm

It's a great idea.

My sister lives on a base in Japan and they do not accept internet printed coupons. Maybe other bases do?

To be safe, we gather everything but printed coupons and mail them overseas.

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19 molly February 11, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Also, I noticed that someone was talking about self scanning expired coupons. Retailers have 90 days from the expiration date on the coupon to submit for reimbursement. The big chains send to a clearing house....and that is some of the clearing houses policies...90 days. So, just keep that in mind if you go to Wal-mart and do the self check out. You want them to get there money because you want to keep on using coupons!!!

The reason military can use expired is because oversees commissaries have longer to submit coupons.

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20 momforhim February 11, 2010 at 4:21 pm

I have friends who are moving to Germany to work on a base as missionaries, so I will start sending my coupons over to them. It's great that someone can use them after I no longer can!

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21 Jamie W February 11, 2010 at 6:57 pm

I have a list of different oversea families that I rotate through. I try to separate them out into categories for them, but sometimes there's just not enough time to do that. Also make sure that you send a pack full in enough time. They have 6 months to use them after the expired date. And it takes a while to get them there.

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22 Jessica February 11, 2010 at 7:59 pm

I just sent $3100 in coupons to a base in Japan today! Thanks for your post. One question, my shipping was quite expensive - could you give more info about the shipping costs? I know it varies by weight, but any info would be helpful. Thanks!

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23 Mommy Kennedy February 11, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Here is a post that I wrote up about donating expired coupons to overseas families too. I send mine to Operation: Coupons with is based in Houston, Tx.

http://thefrugalkennedys.blogspot.com/2009/12/operation-coupons.html

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24 Robyn February 12, 2010 at 12:49 am

I have been sending over expired coupons to family and friends for years. Recently though, I have also been partnering up with Coupons to troops and I have a family based in Italy that I have been supplying with coupons. I just sent 4lbs of coupons overseas. The coupons can be used for up to 6months after the expiration date at least for my family, friends and family I have been supplying too. They do APPRECIATE it!

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25 Katie February 13, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Thanks so much for sharing this, I'll have to look into it.

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26 Joy February 25, 2010 at 8:56 am

Thanks for addressing this! Great info here ... I've linked it to my "This 'n That Thursday" post.
http://myreasonstoblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/this-n-that-thursday_25.html
Hope you have a great day!!!
~ Joy :)

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27 Jeanne52 September 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I live in a military town. Is thre a local dropoff in Pensacola Fl for coupons for the Military.

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28 NLiff October 27, 2011 at 11:05 pm

I just came across a group called CouponsToTroops via a friend on facebook. This group is unique in that it will connect you directly to a military family that you will be helping. There's no mailing, just to have your items REmailed to another distribution site. What does that mean exactly? Well, when you mail the coupons they will reach the family much faster. I just joined up, and I am excited to be matched with a family :)

Here is the facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/CouponsToTroops

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29 Coupons here March 21, 2013 at 10:59 am

Hi! I'm at work surfing around your blog from my new apple iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the great work!

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30 frances May 3, 2013 at 8:36 am

I do agree with all the ideas you have offered on your post.
They are really convincing and can definitely
work. Still, the posts are very short for beginners. Could you please lengthen
them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

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31 george foreman discount coupons July 3, 2013 at 10:09 am

Spot on with this write-up, I actually feel this amazing site needs far more attention.
I'll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the information!

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32 Alyssa November 27, 2013 at 10:58 am

Hi,

Does Walmart except expired coupons?
Thank you.

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