If you are a novice coupon shopper you may think that as soon as your coupons expire they should be thrown straight in the trash. But that is not always the case!
If you can’t find a place to use the coupons yourself or would just like to help out our country’s military families, you should know that commissaries on military bases overseas will honor expired coupons. Usually they will accept coupons up to six months past their expiration date. This can be a great way for military families to really stretch every dollar. There are several groups who gather and mail expired coupons overseas to families there who can use them.
If you are interested in doing this, make sure you sort the coupons into two categories: food and non-food. Clip the coupons out of the inserts. This will not only make it much easier for those receiving the coupons on the other end but also will make shipping less expensive for you. Consider putting the coupons into plastic baggies or rubber-banding them so they stay organized. Flat-rate shipping is a great way to get a lot of coupons to the military families without paying a lot for shipping. Your local post office may want to examine the contents of the package you are mailing overseas, so take the box or envelope to the post office open and then do the final taping there after it has been viewed by a post office employee. You will also be asked to fill out a customs form. This is common for anything that is going to a military base. This can be a great thing to help out the military families, so if your store doesn’t accept expired coupons, consider sending them overseas.
There are also opportunities stateside to use expired coupons. Some stores will accept expired coupons. Finding out if your local stores will accept them is generally as simple as asking at the customer service desk or calling the store and speaking to the manager. It is best to not just try to pass them off to the cashier and hope you don’t get caught. If it is not your store’s policy to accept these, you can get a bad reputation as an unscrupulous coupon shopper.
Frequently companies that issue store coupons (coupons that are only good in their stores) will be more lenient with the expiration date on these types of coupons. Again, it’s good to ask, but the closer to the expiration date, generally the better luck you will have with being able to redeem them.
Stores that accept expired coupons are often proud of this fact and will prominently display a sign in their window or information on their website letting you know. But if your store doesn’t do this, don’t hesitate to ask and find out what their policy is.