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Carman: Coupons have life after expiration

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By Donna Carman

When I was gathering information for the story about couponing that ran in last week’s issue, it was eye-opening to realize how dedicated some people are to clipping and using coupons.
One person I spoke with called herself a “coupon procrastinator,” meaning that she would clip the coupons and then forget to use them.
If I clipped coupons, that would be me, too.
It’s really aggravating to realize you’ve let the expiration date go by on a coupon that would’ve given you $2 off a box of laundry detergent, especially if the store was doubling the amount.
Anyway, did you know that coupons can still be used even after they’ve expired? I didn’t know that either, but apparently — in certain situations — they can, thanks to a friend who dropped me off some information.
According to the web site, thekrazycouponlady.com/coupons-for-military, overseas military members can use expired coupons up to six months past their expiration date.
If you’ve got some expired coupons, consider donating them to our servicemen and women rather than contributing them to your trash can.
According to the web site, eligible coupons include:
n Any manufacturer’s coupons (do not send store coupons, such as those specific only to Rite Aid, Walgreen’s, Dollar General, etc.)
n Do not send coupons that are over 30 days old. (Even though they can be used up to six months past the expiration date, you’ve got to allow time for the coupons to get overseas to their destination.)
n Coupons must be clipped and sorted into food and non-food.
What is food and non-food? As a rule, if it can be eaten by humans and normally eaten to provide calories, then it’s food. As an example, dog food and cat food are considered non-food, while items such as Ensure or Slim Fast would be considered food. Vitamins are non-food; chewing gum and mints are food.
When sorting the coupons, the web site advises to separate the food and non-food coupons into separate categories. Why? Because most military bases have two stores — the commissary, which is the grocery store, and the PX (or BX), which is more like a department store. By sorting the coupons into food and non-food bundles, they’re more likely to be placed at the correct location for use.
The website also advises to label the bundles and place the coupons in baggies rather than banding together with rubber bands or paper clips.
If you can’t bear to throw away a bargain and would like to share your outdated coupons with military personnel, send them to the Krazy Coupon Lady’s volunteer, Carly Romano. There is no minimum donation. They’ll take as few or as many as you have, but ask that you send only once a month to make things easier.
Send coupons to: KCL Overseas Coupon Program, Carly Romano, 11357 Visby Ave., Port Charlotte, Fla. 33981.
Romano will package them in boxes for shipment overseas and will take care of the customs forms.
However, if you know of someone in particular who is stationed overseas, and would like to send expired coupons directly to that military base, check out the details at OCPnet.org.
And you thought expired coupons were no good? Apparently, they live on.