Good morning everyone and Happy Friday once again! And for those of you reading this at the day job, I’m sure you’re all staring at the clock waiting to begin your three-day weekend. I know I am! I purposely saved some work for me to do today, just to make sure I have plenty to do and the day doesn’t drag on.
Now yes, we will most definitely be getting our grill on both at home and at the South Side Pagan Picnic, and the weather looks like it’s going to be perfect for doing so. Thank the Gods for that one, because it’s been way too wet lately. I did a bunch of grocery shopping yesterday to take advantage of all the big sales (13 Gatorades for a total of $4.90 ain’t bad!), and I’ll be making things like potato salad ahead of time so I too can enjoy the outdoors instead of being trapped in the kitchen. It will probably be on the humid side, but hey – that’s what hair ties, tanks and cargo shorts are for. And air conditioning to run to when it gets too bad!
We will be doing a little bit more than the unofficial welcome to summer this weekend, as we keep in mind what Memorial Day is intended for: To remember those who gave everything for us so we can live free. I don’t feel it’s necessary to write up again how we personally will be reflecting while noshing on barbecue-laden deliciousness, so I’ll simply link to last year’s article instead. Rather, I would like to focus on introducing a charity I am getting involved in: The Overseas Coupon Program.
As I posted last week, I’ve been thinking about how to help out our military families overseas with all the unused/unwanted coupons I have been coming across. Sure enough, there is already a group doing this, and I’m happy to be jumping in on it. I admit, it makes me sick to see savings go to waste, and with everything else, I would much rather repurpose these expired coupons than merely recycle. So I’m on board!
If you would also like to get involved, here’s all you need to do:
- Let’s choose a base or post to adopt! We need to know where our combined coupons will be going before we can mail them anywhere. Next week, I will let you all know which base or post has been chosen by majority rule. Please pass this around so we can get as many people interested as possible. The following are currently accepting adoptions:
- US Air Force: Alconbury, UK
- US Navy: Atsugi, Japan
- US Navy: Gaeta, Italy
- US Army: Grafenwoehr, Germany
- US Navy: Ikego, Japan
- US Army: Illesheim, Germany
- US Air Force: Incirlik, Turkey
- US Marines: Iwakuni, Japan
- US Air Force: Lakenheath, UK
- US Army: Okinawa, Japan
- US Air Force: Okinawa, Japan
- US Navy: Sasebo, Japan
- US Army: Schweinfurt, Germany
- US Air Force: Spangdahlem, Germany
- US Army: Vicenza, Italy
- US Army: Vilseck, Germany
- US Navy: Yokohama, Japan
- US Navy: Yokosuka, Japan
- US Navy: Yokota, Japan
- Collect coupons! There are a million places to find them, even when you’re not trying. There’s always the Sunday paper, and many websites like Coupons.com have a bunch to print at home as well. (And yes, there are indeed lots of coupons for healthy foods and green supplies.) Keep what you want for yourself, and mail the rest to me. They discourage, but not outright say no to, active printables, so really, just send any expired you have lying around. (Also, you don’t have to use virgin paper or print the coupons in color. Use the backs of scrap print and save yourself some ink.)
I’ve been saving our family on average 50-75% per shopping trip since I started, and it only takes a few hours out of my week with one newspaper and some printables. (I could order more newspapers, but I would then need to figure out what to do with the extras.) I’m no “Extreme Couponer“, nor would I really want to be. Most of my coupon clipping and circular browsing time is done while watching the news or something, so it’s not hard at all and is in fact a nice way to pass the time. (Game of Thrones gets my undivided attention however, as will True Blood starting next month!) And hey, if you’re not seeing crazy savings right away, don’t get discouraged – just keep doing what you’re doing, because every penny counts.
- Cut the coupons. They need to be cut, so please don’t print out and merely mail a sheet. The folks who sort these for the troops already take on an extraordinary amount of work, so that would leave me to do it. Any type of coupon can be sent that the commissary or PX/BX accepts, especially manufacturer coupons, up to two months past the expiration date. Please do not send in-store coupons like the ones on Target’s website, except the couple that read “Manufacturer Coupon” on top. Those can be used at any store than accepts coupons.
- Mail the coupons to me. I will do the totals they’re requiring and mailing the coupons to the base or post adopted. It should only cost you a stamp or two to get them to me, and I’ll be batching them into the least expensive pack possible. So for everyone involved, it’s a very low-cost and easy way to help. Please send your coupons to:
Attn: PNC Coupons
PO Box 306
Chicago, IL 60690-0306
I’ll be mailing all the combined coupons once a month to our adopted base. The first mailing will be going out at the end of June, and I will post our totals the following Friday here on W&K. Again, please send these pre-cut and sorted, because if we start really getting a lot, I’m going to be crazy-slammed with little slips of paper!
Please remember to only send active and expired (up to two months old) manufacturer coupons. For the most part, they need to say “Manufacturer Coupon” at the top. I can’t stress that enough. The commissaries and PX/BXs can’t take most of the other kinds, like ones for Wally World or whatever. Read their FAQ if you need more details.
- Why clip for the troops? Saving up coupons is such a simple thing to do, and by participating in this program, it will be one more way our community becomes recognized by folks who may not even realize we exist or cling to stereotypes and/or misconceptions. And hey, it will help you and yours at the same time, since you’ll be coming across some deals you will surely want to keep for yourself.
Since these families almost entirely live on one paycheck, it’s nearly impossible for the spouse to hold down any kind of meaningful job due to constant moving. Those checks aren’t all that big either – just enough to make ends meet – if that. Also, they may well be looking at pay freezes like they were threatened with last month due to the debt ceiling being hit, so those little savings here and there will really add up. Like I said, since we started couponing a little over a month ago, we’ve seen some significant savings. Today is payday, but it’s the rent checks, so we usually are pretty tight right about now. But because of the coupons, we actually have about $400 to spare. (That money’s going right toward paying down lingering debts, but hey, it’s nice we can do that.)
As we all know, the price of everything has gone up considerably. Gas is high, which we are reliant on trucks fueling up to deliver to the stores. And, with all the storms resulting in ruined crops, there’s simply less food to go around. That’s a double whammy right there. I would rather try to be proactive and prepare for the worst by helping these folks stretch their checks further… and for you, too! Let’s work together!