Donate your expired coupons…

Posted: June 2, 2014 in Household
Tags: , , ,

The absolute BEST use for your expired coupons is to donate them to participating U.S. military posts overseas, since most international commissaries will take them. The official coupon policy for military commissaries states:

“Commissaries located in foreign overseas areas accept coupons up to six months after the expiration date stated on a coupon.” (

We adopted an installation in Italy to send our coupons to. There is a list of available installations that are currently accepting coupons at the Overseas Coupon Project (OCP) site. The coupons do not have to be arranged by type, or all of the like ones grouped together, etc. The only organizing you MUST do is to separate them into two categories—food and non-food (there are detailed explanation on the OCP site delineating what qualifies as “food” and “non-food”).  After all of my coupons are in those two piles, I then follow these simple steps:

  1. Sort and Add

The quickest way to total these mounds of coupons is to sort them by amount, count how many you have of the same value, and multiply! For example, if there are 50 coupons that are all $.75 off then simply take 50 x $.75 to get a total of $37.50 worth of coupons.  This method saves a lot of time. I couldn’t imagine the time it would take to calculate every single coupon individually!

Overseas Coupon Project


  1. Write down your totals

This step should probably go without saying, but PLEASE do not attempt to keep a running total of all these coupons in your head.  You MUST write it down.  Primarily because the ACS, Soldier Support Center, or volunteer who will be receiving these loads of coupons will need to know the precise value of the coupon hauls they’re getting.  They do not want just rough estimates.

Atlas Concepts OCP


  1. Keep ‘em separated

After totaling the value of your two categories of coupons, place them into separate envelopes (or Ziploc bags).  Mark one “food” and the other “non-food” so that it’s easy for the recipient to begin their sort and distribution process as soon as they open the box.

Atlas Concepts OCP

Note: the coupons do not have to be stapled, rubber banded, or otherwise clipped together, simply place them in the envelopes.

Atlas Concepts OCP 2


  1. Pack ‘em up

After you’ve placed all of your coupons in their respectively labeled envelope or Ziploc bag, close the bag/envelope to prevent any coupons spilling out and becoming damaged or mixed up during transit, and place the enveloped in whatever shipping container you’d like to us.

I personally find it easiest, and most economical, to use a USPS Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box—you get them yourself from the stand in most post office lobbies, and you pay for the shipping ($12.35 as listed on when you take it back to drop it off.

Atlas Concepts OCP 2

Note: Be sure to jot down your “food” and “non-food” total onto a slip of paper and place it inside the box with the envelopes of coupons.

  1. Ship ‘em out

Atlas Concepts PostageYou’ll need a Priority Mail shipping label sticker, as well as a US Postal Service Customs Declaration form (these are both available in the lobby of the post office).  I typically grab several at a time so that I can save time with future shipments by filling them out at home—my 2-year-old doesn’t always enjoy standing there waiting for me to fill out a bunch of forms 🙂

The customs form can be a little confusing at first, mainly because your shipments will go to an APO, not a simple street, city, state address, and there are no designated spaces for APO formatting on these notes.  So the image below explains the way to do it.

Atlas Concepts Customs Form

  1. This top area should be simple…it’s YOUR information 🙂
  2. This section is for who the package is being shipped to. The lines are as follows:
    • Addressee’s Last Name: simply write in the ACS, or name of the volunteer your shipment is going to at the installation (you may cross over the line separating last and first name), just treat it as one line.
    • Business: this will be the Base name, or the individual whose ATTN: the shipment goes to
    • Address: this will usually be where you specify the unit where your shipment is going
    • Postcode/City: this is where you place the APO information (treat these two spaces as one also).
  3. In this section you are asked to specify the contents of your package, and what the value of the contents is. In the space you write “Manufacturer’s Coupons” and the value is $0.00.
  4. Don’t forget to sign and date this document. Your parcel cannot be shipped without this, and do not rely on the postal worker to catch it if you omit your signature.


You’re almost done!  The way that OCP keeps record of how much each base is receiving is solely by the information you place in their donation tracker.  After each shipment, you’ll go to the Donation Form on the OCP website and enter the required information.  I also recommend creating a simple tracker for your personal records as well.

That’s it! You have just helped out countless military families who may not have access to many of the coupons that we do…and subsequently just toss out with the garbage.  Our “trash” can truly be another individual’s treasure.

Feel free to ask any questions regarding this post, or any additional couponing questions you may have.

Simply Savvy Blog_Jessica

Jessica D. Williams of Rock Hill, SC has experience in banking, the mortgage industry and tax consultation.  She is the Owner of Jessica DeVinney Photography and enjoys serving the Greater Charlotte, NC area—with specializations in Senior, Family, and Wedding Photography.



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