How to Use Grocery Coupons That Expired

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Help military families save money by sending them your expired coupons.
Help military families save money by sending them your expired coupons. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Every year millions of dollars in grocery coupons go unused. That's because most people don't realize they can donate expired grocery coupons to military families through the Overseas Coupon Program. Participating U.S. military bases received $10.5 million worth of grocery coupons in 2008. Military families living overseas can uses all manufacturer's coupons, including printable coupons, up to six months after their expiration dates.

Collect expired manufacturer's coupons by looking through your coupon folder, clipping and saving coupons you don't use from the Sunday newspaper, and finding printable coupons online.

Sort the coupons by food and non-food items. Non-food items include everything from diapers and medication to pet supplies and personal products.

Total the value of both piles and add them together to get one large coupon savings value. If you have a buy one/get one free coupon estimate the value of the free item. Write the value on a piece of paper to include with your bundles.

Place each pile of grocery coupons into a separate plastic zipper bag or envelope and label it accordingly: "food" or "non-food."

Find a participating military base to adopt. You'll find a list of locations that accept expired coupons at Ocpnet.org. Be sure to contact the volunteer coordinator to let them know you are adopting a base and will be sending grocery coupons. You'll also need to provide basic contact information before sending your first shipment.

In order to send the coupons directly to a U.S. base fill out U.S. Postal Service customs form 2976-A and attach it to the package. Do not list the value as the coupon value; instead write $0.

Put the grocery coupons in the mail and send them directly to the base where military families can use them to save money on groceries and non-perishable items.

Tips & Warnings

  • While coupons up to six months old are accepted on bases, coupons that are less than two months old are best.
  • Trim grocery and printable coupons so there's no extra paper around the coupon. This will save time for the volunteers and space and money in your shipment.
  • Collect coupons as a group and ship one large bundle of coupons.

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