Sunday, March 14, 2010

Clippin Coupons

 They have found a new use for the commissary receipts. To pretend they are reading Santa’s “naughty and nice” list. I suppose you’d have to have a decent imagination to consider $3.76 half-gallon of milk means that Martha makes the “nice” list. More power to ‘em.

Another sister to the rescue. This time it was Aunt Julie. When I was caught, back in December, searching for coupons by unraveling newspapers and magazines that family and friends used for packing Christmas gifts mailed to us, I think my parents were slightly surprised. They promptly assisted, sifted through the packaging as well though, to help find savings. I explained that although the commissary will take coupons, we don’t usually see much of them here. Obviously the Brussels Sunday paper doesn’t boast a flyer for Smuckers jam, or Downy soft fabric softener.
The commissary can offer a decent savings over economy grocery stores, but there is no generic or 'store brand' offered at the commissary. Coupons help a lot. Our grocery bill is usually significant. Although there are no offers for produce, which consumes a large chunk of our bill, there are lots of coupons for other things on the list. It’s just difficult for us to get our hands on those coupons.

Before I ramble on, I must, upon my toadstool, say that coupons annoy me. Why do we have to clip a little paper for 60 cents of savings. It’s such an inefficient process. If the manufacturer really wanted the consumer to have the savings, why not just make the price 60 cents lower and save the printing cost? ...Perhaps this is why I am not a corporate CEO. What I do know, is that coupons are time consuming. From the clipping to utilization in the store, the process is a time sucker. So, I decided to keep the kids occupied on the run with homemade ‘Grocery Store B-I-N-G-O ‘cards. It seemed to work well, and prevent a meltdown at aisle 12. I’d recommend it, and would be glad to send you a copy of the ones I made.

Anyway, I digress,...Aunt Julie’s rescue. She just sent us a huge envelope full of coupons after I explained to her that overseas commissaries will accept coupons up to 6 months after the expiration date. Most people don’t know this. Those who do, often make a sincere effort to help out. There are organizations, church groups, and just plain ol’ nice folks out there, who clip and mail coupons to the overseas commissaries.

I often think of those people. Complete strangers, gathered around a table with scissors in hand, chatting away, or individuals cramming an envelope with treasure of potential savings. I’d like to thank them all. If I could trace savings backwards, I’d send them a note to let them know how much we appreciate it.

The economy is tight everywhere. The euro is up and the dollar is down. Savings here and there can make a considerable impact for people who are trying to make ends meet. If you have expired coupons, please don’t throw them away! Coupons are accepted up to 6 months after their expiration at overseas commissaries.You can send them to overseas military families to use. Click here for more info on the program, or google "expired coupons for military" for info.

Fortunately, there is yet another group here, who, when available, visit’s the commissary once a month to attach those very coupons right to the product. It must be a time consuming and tedious job for those volunteers, but it saves military members thousands of dollars a month. We have been lucky enough, on occasion, to make a trip to the commissary when the volunteer group had just been there, so coupons were on everything you could think of. It’s like a slice of savings heaven effortlessly placed right into the shopping cart.

We weren’t so lucky this trip to have the advantage of coupons already attached to the products, but we were lucky to have a stock pile from Aunt Julie. Don’t think you can save money with coupons? Check this out! Almost $80.00 for this trip. For us, that would accumulate to a savings just shy of  $1,000 a year.

So, next time you pass by a meaningless coupon in the paper, or chuck the magazine that had a few dollars worth of savings, but you weren’t interested, please consider stuffing the coupons in an envelope and mailing them off to help the next guy. I can guarantee they’ll appreciate it.

P.S. Thanks Aunt Jul. That was like getting a free check for 78 buckaroos in the mail  :)
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erin said...

That's amazing! I just started going to, I found out the commissary accepts them. I'll have to remember to send my expired coupons to Katie over in Guam.

Mandy said...

Yeah! send them out! Someone will put them to use, and save a bundle :)

Bethany said...

Mandy, I'm going to try to remember to send them to Gwen! I love reading your blog! Your stories about the kids are charming and the photographs are fabulous! I just published my blog and I'd love to add yours to my page, but I haven't figured out how! Please let me know if that's alright... I posted my blog address on my facebook info page! Thanks! Bethany