31 August 2010

A Better Use for Expired Coupons

It can be very disappointing to find a great coupon only to then realize its expired. Usually the first reaction is to cut our losses and toss it in the trash (or hopefully recycling).

At the end of each month I sit down to begin the lengthy task of cleaning out my coupon organizers of all of the expired coupons and given the amount of coupons I collect weekly, there are usually A LOT of expired ones come the 30th or 31st of each month.

I used to simply gather them all up and place them in the recycling along with all the other papers, but then I found an even greater use for them HERE at ocpnet.org. The Overseas Coupon Program (OCP) collects and distributes manufacturer coupons to military families stationed overseas. Did you know that on military bases overseas the commissary and PX will accept manufacturer coupons up to 6 months past their expiration date? It's true!

How to get involved? 
  • Visit http://www.ocpnet.org/ and adopt a base you wish to donate to.
  • Separate you clipped coupons into two categories: Food and Non-food.
    • This is because most bases have 2 stores,  the “Commissary” (grocery store) and the PX or BX (department store). By separating your coupons into “food” and “non-food” bundles the volunteers on the receiving end can more easily placed your donated coupons at the correct venue.
    • The general rule of thumb is a "food" item is something humans can eat (this includes products like Ensure and Slimfast). A "non-food" item would include pet food, soaps, cleaning supplies etc.
  • Clearly label your bundles - the easiest way to do this is to place them in zip lock baggies.
  • Talley an approximate total value for each bundle.
    • This helps the program keep track of which bases are receiving the most support and which bases need more coupons.
  • Stick your bundles in an envelope and send them off to your adopted base!

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