Friday, June 10, 2011

What do you do with your expired coupons?

It always seems like such a waste to throw away your expired coupons, so why not send them to a military base? Us Military can use coupons up to 6 months after expiration. So, gather your coupons that expired in the last month or 2 and send them to:

Volunteer Coordinator
Navy FSC
PSC 811
FPO AE 09609

Family Service Center
PSC 472, Box 8
FPO AP 96348-1150

Family Service Center
PSC 474, Box 700
FPO AP 96351-0007

Navy Family Service Center
U.S. Fleet Activities
ATTN: Coupon Distribution
PSC 476, Box 62
FPO AP 96322-1114

Unit 28614
APO AE 09177

CMR 431
APO AE 09175

Family Services Center
Box 45
FPO AE 09728

Camp Darby - Livorino
CDR, AST, LIVORINO Unit 31301, Box 55
APO 09613

PSC 810, Box 53
NAS Naples
FPO AE 09619

Defense Commissary Agency
Okinawa Central Distribution Center
DECA/WP/CD/OKI, Unit 5156, Bldg 301
APO AP 96368-5156

Customs Form Needed

The U.S.P.S. also requires Customs Form 2976-A be attached to the outside of the mailer when sending directly to a base overseas. Use the description “Manufacturer’s Coupons” and record the value as “–$0.00–”. Be sure to check the “Gift” box on the form and for them to return the coupons if there are problems if using Priority Mail. This will allow time to resend them to another base. It would a good idea to contact any location first before sending out the coupons you collect. The list below is just some of the locations participating in the program.

I would recommend NOT adopting a base because they may become overwhelmed by coupons and quit accepting them. Try rotating addresses instead.

Most manufacturer's coupons can be used. There are of course exceptions, such as products that are sold only in certain geographical locations in the U.S. For instance, milk coupons for your local dairy brand are not sold on an overseas base, and so would not be used.

* Coupons for products such as vitamins, joint supplements, hair colorings and cosmetics are not in high demand.
* Coupons for baby products, including diapers, baby wipes, formula, and skincare items are in very high demand.
* Coupons that are to used at a specific store (such as those found in a weekly sales flyer) cannot be used overseas.

Coupons should be cut and sorted into a few categories, especially when you are sending more than a small envelope full of coupons. If coupons are sorted into the following categories, it will help the military families find what they need more quickly.

* Food products (including beverages)
* Health and Beauty Items (soaps, lotions, medications, hygiene items, etc.)
* Baby items (including diapers, wipes, baby foods and formulas)
* Pet items
* Non-Food (including household cleaning products, and anything else that doesn't fall into any of the other categories)

Zippered plastic sandwich bags are a great way to separate the coupons and are lightweight enough that it won't greatly affect the postage costs.

There are several coupons that should not be included as they will not be able to be used.

* Coupons that are past the 6 month expiration point (When mailing, be sure to allow adequate mailing time. For instance a coupon that is currently 5 months past the expiration date may not be received before the 6 month window is over.)
* Coupons that are ripped or that have the expiration date cut off partially or completely.
* Coupons that are store specific. For instance, a store coupon found in the weekly Walgreens sales flyer will not be able to be used overseas.
* Coupons for regional products. For instance, Garelick milk products are frequently distributed throughout New England, but these products are not found on overseas bases, so there's no need to include them in your mailings.

Postal rates for envelopes and packages being mailed to a military APO/FPO address are the same rates as envelopes and packages mailed within the United States. The United States Postal Service offers several sizes of flat rate mailers which can help keep your postage cost down, if you are sending a lot of coupons. For more information, please see the USPS website here.

(Thanks, Coupons to Troops!)

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