Couponing Military Style
Holiday time is stressful for everyone, but for military families the added cost of travel, holiday shopping and shipping gifts can be overwhelming. Stop the holiday season’s extra debt stress with a few easy steps.
We all know Black Friday deals are amazing. Making lists and sticking to them can also reign in cost. But one of the simplest and most overlooked methods, that costs nothing but can add up to large returns, is to save with coupons.
Let’s start with facts about couponing on base:
• Stores want you to use coupons because they make money. Most manufacturers pay $0.08 per coupon for shipping the coupon back to manufacturers. American manufacturers’ coupons are valid six months past expiration dates at all OCONUS military stores, like DECA commissaries and AAFES Exchanges.
• Military coupons and manufacturers’ coupons are the same and CANNOT be stacked.
• At AAFES, an AAFES coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon can be stacked if coupon verbiage allows it. AAFES coupons are not good six months past the expiration, and an AAFES coupon is not the same as a military store coupon.
• Both stores take coupons printed at home. Printed coupons must state manufacturer, have a barcode and address. Printed coupons from your printer cannot be for free items only.
• Printed coupons from your printer cannot be copies. Note numbers on the bar code to ensure they are different.
Now that you understand some facts about couponing, here are some great ways to get more out of your coupons:
• Make a list and check it twice, matching coupons to the items on your list.
• Combine a coupon with sales, as long as the coupon verbiage allows it. Remember to always read the fine print.
• Do not buy something just because you have a coupon. If you’re not going to use it, don’t buy it.
So where do you find coupons? You can find coupons on the items you are buying (“peelies”), online, company websites, etc. Check product boxes and labels, magazines and newspapers. Don’t forget to let family and friends know that you can use coupons six months past expiration; boxes of coupons make for a great and easy gift. The Rewards card with DECA commissaries is another great way to get coupons. Also join Facebook groups such as Coupon Crazy in Germany, where military families share and trade coupons for free to help save even more.
Couponing is fun, but there are rules. Do not get caught up in coupon fraud. Per manufacturers’ terms and conditions, coupons are not to be transferred. Printed coupons cannot be copied. Do not use fake coupons; a good resource for determining if a coupon is counterfeit is Coupon Information Center.
Couponing off base is also possible with German language coupons. Use Google Chrome to interpret coupons, or ask the store customer service staff for assistance. In Germany, coupons are available in sales papers, on item peels, and on websites and phone apps.
You do not have to be a coupon expert to save money. During the holiday season there are extra sales and coupons on everything, not just food items. In fact, there are so many coupons that it becomes overwhelming! This is why I made videos from my very popular Extreme Coupon Military Style program. Remember, even a $10 a month savings adds up to $120 a year, a great start to ease the holiday budget.