A couple of weeks I posted about donating your expired coupons to be used by military families overseas. Some of you expressed concern that the process seems very time consuming because they request that you total up the value of the coupons you are donating and separate the coupons between food and non-food. It does take a little more work than just gathering the coupons and putting them in the mailing envelope but it doesn’t have to take you a lot of time.
In addition to your expired coupons you can also send coupons that you don’t use and would normally throw away. This is a good way to get your kids involved. Clip the coupons you want from the circular and then hand them over to your kids to clip the rest. You’ll be surprised how many coupons you throw in the trash each week. Here’s what I had clipped for the military families last week that I would have normally thrown away.
Here’s the process I use for preparing the coupons for shipment.
First, I figured it would be easiest if I could keep all the coupons of the same denomination together so I took the empty envelope from junk mail and bills I received and cut the top flap off so I didn’t have to mess with it all time. I wrote the coupon denomination on both sides of the envelope, 25 cents, $1, etc.
This is what all the envelopes look like
Then, when I clip my coupons for the week or sort through my coupon binder and remove all of the expired coupons I sort them by denomination on the table. Again, this is another great opportunity to get your children involved and you could even make a game out of it.
I then place them in the appropriately labeled envelope and keep them in a drawer and add coupons to the envelopes until I am ready send a batch overseas. To get the coupons ready for shipment I first get a total of the value of the coupons I am sending. To do this, I take each envelope and count the number of coupons then multiply them by the denomination of each envelope. When I’m done, I total them all up and voila! you have the value of the coupons you’re sending. You can keep track of the totals of each in excel or on a piece of paper, whatever works best for you. Here’s a look at one I did in Excel.
It generally takes me 5 minutes or less to do this portion. As I do the coupon count I sort them into 2 piles – food and non-food which is how they need to be grouped when you mail them.
As you can see, it does take a little work, but this is a great way to help others at very little cost to yourself. Once you get a system down that works for you, you’ll find that it takes less time than it seems like it would.
If you have other suggestions on how to make the process faster and easier, please share them in the comments.