Reader Tip: Put Your Expired Coupons to Use!

Devon from Mama Cheaps sent in this great tip for putting your expired coupons to use:

Just when I think that I cannot possibly cram another coupon insert into my large file box, a new round of those precious coupons expire and must be harvested from the collection. What do you do with your expired coupons? Throw them out? Recycle them? Make pretty mosaic collages with them?

Well, did you know that you can send your expired coupons to U.S. military bases around the world? The coupons are placed in various common areas throughout each base and families can use them for up to 6 months after they expire! We have family friends currently stationed in England who have confirmed to us that the coupons really do make it into the hands of the military families and are valued and appreciated.

For over 17 years, the Overseas Coupon Program has facilitated the transfer of coupons to U.S. military bases. To sign up to send coupons, just visit the website, and click on Base Adoptions to browse the list of bases that you can mail your coupons to. After you choose a base, send an email to adoptions@ocpnet.org to let them know you will be participating. You can find more details and information here.

It only takes me about 20 minutes once a month to go through my coupons and get them packaged to send to my adopted base in Sicily. And since the packages ship to APO/AFO addresses, the cost to mail the coupons is the same as sending a card to Grandma in Texas. You can drop your coupons in the mail for the cost of a stamp or two and you will help our wonderful service men and women (and their families) at the same time!

photo credit: MissMessie

FOR MORE COUPONS, search our comprehensive Coupon Database for manufacturer coupons, printable coupons, eCoupons, and more!

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Comments

  1. says

    I love this idea. My website adopted a base in Japan and we also send coupons. We also have a basket at my kids school, for parents and faculty to drop of their coupons. Last month we sent over $450 worth. My kids also love sorting them. Great way to pay it forward. I would have never know about this had it not been for the Frugal blogging community. :)

  2. says

    There is a military commissary section of A Full Cup. Several people in the forums have asked for expired coupons. I connected with a few women and sent mine directly to them. No extra postage needed for FPO/AE addresses.

  3. Heather says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for spreading the word about this program! My husband and I have just put in for an overseas transfer (fingers crossed!) and I’m looking forward to being on the receiving end of this goodwill! :)

  4. says

    This is a wonderful organization and I have been sending coupons to them for a while. Try to keep a regular weeding out process as sometimes I let it go and it is overwhelming! I agree with Karen – it is wonderful to get the kids involved sorting and cutting if they are old enough.

  5. Stefanie says

    That’s a great idea, and I previously had no idea a program like this existed! Thanks!

  6. says

    I already do this for my fellow military wives who are overseas. If I know they coupon, I just send them cards every couple of months with the previous months coupons that are now expired for me.
    We say we “support our troops” and this is a small, yet great way, to actually show support, not just words! :)
    *Just make sure you don’t accidently put in any Target or Walmart coupons in the bunch…they don’t like being reminded they can’t go there….or STARBUCKS for that matter! ;)

  7. Tonia says

    WOW! I did not know this. I’m glad I read this because I was about to throw away expired and unused coupons today! Thanks so much for sharing. I will spread the word.

  8. Tina Dalasinski says

    I like this will definitely be doing this when my coupons expire on my next round which will be soon.

  9. Maggie Lake says

    Just as a note from an “Army wife”, you can’t use them at the commissaries in the states! :)

  10. Chelsea says

    I’m so glad you posted this again!

    I started sending our coupons to a family stationed in Italy last fall when you last mentioned this program. The mom there is so sweet, and I love having a good outlet for all my expired coupons!

  11. Nicole Z. says

    Can someone please confirm the question about the internet printables?
    I have a ton of coupons that I was going to purge from my coupon file this week. I am most definitely signing up to adopt a base. Thank you so much for posting this!

    I would also like to send some of my extra toiletries oversees as well. Does anyone know of a great organization that I can work with? I know that there are many, but I want to make sure it definitely gets to the men and women that need it. Thanks!

  12. Felicia says

    My sister has been on the receiving end of these coupons and I know they were very much appreciated.

  13. Jessica says

    Their website explains everything about the IPs. They have access to the internet, so it’s not necessary.

  14. Kari R. says

    I send my expired coupons to these folks because they do the sorting and math (adding up the value of donated coupons) that I have understood is requested when coupons are donated:
    http://operationcouponkarma.blogspot.com/
    This group also told me the following:
    They can only accept regular manufacturer’s coupons like from the newspaper inserts–no special “in store” coupons or internet printed coupons.

  15. Ellen says

    I’ve heard about this type of thing for quite awhile, but never knew how to go about sending them or where. Thank you. It’s nice to know that my expired coupons aren’t visiting the circular file!

    • fran says

      @Ellen, Hi Ellen, I have been sending coupons to our troops overseas for over 6 months now and I have reached over 13 bases. I have received 3 personal thank you notes from the troops. They love to get the coupons and they really really appreciate them. This is the easiest way to send a big, “Thank You” to our troops.

  16. says

    Toni from Happy Housewife will actually connect you one-on-one with a military family stationed overseas. I send my coupons directly to a military family, and I’ve heard back from them saying that they appreciate and share the coupons. It’s reassuring to know that the coupons are getting into the hands of someone who can use them. I usually save a couple of month’s worth and put them in a small flat rate Priority Mail box. That seems to be the cheapest route, as it’s just under $5 to ship. It’s a great way to support our troops!

  17. Becky S. says

    What a wonderful idea!!!! I will for sure start sending my expired coupons overseas now. I usually give all my expired coupons to my 4 year old so she can have a coupon file like mommy.

  18. says

    I was going to go and do this but the postage is not cheap! I put together one months worth of expired coupons and it was going to cost me $10 to ship it! Needless to say, I didn’t end up shipping it :-(.

    • jennifer says

      @Riannon Mendoza,

      if a package is going to an APO/FPO address, it is going to be the same rate as if you were mailing it to your friend in another state. How were you trying to ship? A Flat rate priority box? I would think you could send them in a bubble mailer for <$2.

  19. says

    I collect expired coupons and send them to families overseas. I have been collecting from internet friends for a while and then sending the coupons over. I hope that everyone will start doing this! It’s a great way to help others and to recycle expired coupons!

  20. Willow says

    I also wish that shipping was cheaper. I just can’t afford the extra $10 each months since my hubby is out of a job.

  21. Jessica says

    hey, thank you so much for raising awareness about all of us that live overseas with the military. i volunteered with soldier’s angels here in germany, and i can confirm that they always accept donations of toiletry items for the wounded and injured soldiers who come here from downrange. we put all the toiletry items out in the laundry rooms at the outpatient barracks and soldiers (both male and female, so you can even send female sanitation items) can take whatever they need, free of charge, any hour of the day or night. if you need more information about specific items to donate, check out Soldiers Angels Germany: http://soldiersangelsgermany.blogspot.com/2005/07/donations-needed-for-landstuhl.html

    also, a note about coupons. i’ve tried to do some coupon shopping while i lived here, but it was frustrating because many brands simply aren’t carried in our commissary. many times coupons are for discounts off new items, which never make it into our hands, because the commissary doesn’t contract out to that manufacturer and because they are buying in bulk for all of europe, so they just pick a few items from each brand. for example, the only brand of sugar they carry is dominos…. that’s all. i guess i would just recommend that if you want to send coupons, send them for tried-and-true items, ones that are better known, as opposed to brand-new items and many candies that the commissary won’t be carrying. but we do appreciate your support and i’ve often seen people looking through the box of free coupons that were generously donated from the states!

  22. me says

    I used expired sent from well meaning friends while we were overseas. I would send my friends self addressed, double stamped envelopes as a thank you for helping me. I reaped so much savings from spending less than $1 on postage.

    It also depends on the commissary in regards to internet coupons. And no store only coupons – just manufacturers coupons. However the commissaries will also expect EXPIRED commissary coupons (less than 6 mo. old.)

  23. Ashley says

    I lived in England and really appreciated the coupons!!!! You can use Internet coupons! Now, that I am living back in the U.S.A, I mail my expired coupons. It is a great way to help those overseas!!!! Thank you for all those who take the time to mail their expired coupons! It truly was a blessing to me and my grocery bill! :)

  24. Jena C says

    I live on a military base in Okinawa, Japan, and YES! We can use all kinds of expired coupons…internet or regular…for up to 6 months expired! They are either handed out through the personal services center on base or go straight to the store, where they have organized drawers of available coupons. Sometimes they even tape the coupons right on the products on the shelves!

    Over here, we don’t have any options other than the commissary, so we can’t shop sales or triple coupons, but this little bit helps!! Thanks!

    • maranda o says

      @Jena C,
      im so excited –i just adopted your base and am trying to figure out how to send them! glad that you guys really do need them and will get them to okinawa ASAP!!:)
      i am also glad that we can do even a small thing to help out all our military familes, when my family itself doesnt have much to give!:)

  25. Krystal says

    Thank you so much for posting this! I always feel so guilty about literally “throwing money away”, but now I can feel that I am helping others save $$.

  26. Wendy says

    This is a great program. My husband and I were overseas for 10 yrs and this was such a great find! It was such a blessing to myself and my family…and helped keep our costs down. When you only have the commissary to shop at you don’t get the deals!

  27. Kimberly R says

    As a military wife, I thought this was a fabulous idea and started sending all my expired coupons to the ACS reps at different bases around the world. I spent a lot of money on shipping large boxes. Unfortunately, the responses I got (from 3 of the reps) was that if I was going to send my expired coupons, I should sort them and then send them. Needless to say, I felt like they weren’t appreciated and since I have a hard enough time keeping MINE organized :), the $10 – $15 I paid to ship them is being put to good use elsewhere.

  28. Sarah B says

    If you know someone in the National Guard, they often shop at the closest commissary (like my family!). When we make the trip to the base nearest to us, I take all my expired coupons. I use the ones I can, then I leave the rest there.

  29. sara says

    we live overseas with the military and it is soooo nice to get coupons! Everything at our commissary is so much more than in the states and in the community a lot more expensive as well. We really appreciate coupons that are ssent by family and friends and at the commissary! Keep up the good work promoting ;-)

  30. Paige says

    This is a great thing to do! I’m part of a military board and from time to time I send my coupons directly to the ladies there but I’m going to start doing this!

  31. Sandy Burns says

    My church has taken on this project as a mission project. We collect coupons from church members, friends, anybody. We send current as well as expired coupons. Another church heard about this and their Women’s Group is joining us. This month we are sendin out over $7,000 worth of coupons. So nice to hear from those who benefited that it is worth it. We send no religious info, just coupons.

  32. says

    I’m so glad u posted about this. I really need to go through my Qs and send out the (many) expireds. It’s getting a bit out of hand. :)

  33. Denise says

    If you send coupons, I’d suggest you get an individual’s name and address. I was in Turkey for two years. The commissary received boxes and boxes full of coupons from well meaning people in the States but they did NOTHING with them. They didn’t even open the boxes. They finally started sending them over to the Thrift Store on base and the people there would open some of the boxes and let people take what they wanted but many went to waste. I took several boxes and wrote thank you notes to the people then they started sending them directly to me. I truly appreciated all the time and effort that went into cutting and mailing the coupons. I would send them an email whenever I received another package. It was heartbreaking to me to see all the boxes that were never opened or used.

  34. Becky says

    Thanks for posting this! I didn’t know about this at all… what a great way to help out our families serving us!

  35. Chris says

    Another way to show our servicemen and their familys our appreciation. Thanks for the tip.

  36. Jenn says

    I am a military wife and mom stationed overseas. I would love to receive
    expired coupons. How do I get on a list?

    • Bonnie says

      @Jenn, Hi Jenn, Tell me a little about yourself and where you’re located, etc. Have some coupons (expired) I was getting ready to send somewhere.
      Bonnie