by Michelle Jones
Since our bases overseas are US territory, the postage will cost the same as if you were mailing to an address here in the US. Clipping the coupons before mailing will also help you keep the costs down.
The post office may request a specific contact name when you go to mail your coupons. If necessary, explain to them that we cannot maintain a list of personal contact names because they CHANGE constantly and that we are a volunteer group donating grocery coupons to help our military families stationed overseas. The postal worker can also open and inspect the package if that will help and verify that the contents are grocery coupons being sent to our U.S. commissaries overseas. You may wish to leave your package unsealed until you get to the post office. However, we have not experienced this problem and have never had a package of coupons returned.
Addressing the package directly to the Commissary or "Family Services" should also help. Also, do not include the country or city, as it might be routed through the country's regular mail system instead of the military. We have include this extra information (City and Country) in our address list so you will know where they are located, but when you mail your envelopes you will address them like this...
Family Services (or Information We Have Listed)
Unit Number, Box Number
APO AE 00000
Note: The APO/FPO is used for the "City" and AA/AE/AP is the "State"
Ask your post office for the best way to mail your coupons so they will get there quickly. (Remember, they can only use them for up to 6 months after the expiration date.) You may also need to fill out a simple customs form which the post office will give you and attach to your letter or package. It will only take a minute to fill out the form and you can list the value of the coupons as $0. The coupons have no monetary value unless they are used, as we all know very well! ;o)
"Before I retired, I worked outside the U.S. in a Family Support Center for the military and we were always glad to receive coupons at our installation. You can send them to the military installation to the attention of the Commissary. You could also send them to support organizations such as the Air Force Family Support Center, Navy Family Services or Army Community Services, etc. Be sure to write "Coupons" on the outside of the envelope. If you send them overseas, you will need the name of the installation plus the APO or FPO. - Yvonne"
"I'm new at sending my coupons to our overseas troops and it would be helpful if in the directions of "Label Addressing" to remark that APO/FPO is used for the "city" and AA/AE/AP is the "State." This would be very helpful, especially for those who like to do their labels online. Also, when I went online to fill out the customs form it required a phone # for the Addressee. Do you have a list of phone #'s or is this really a requirement? - Sherri"
Editor's Reply - Thank you for the suggestions, Sherri! I'm adding your info and have clarified our shipping instructions. On the phone numbers, we ship international all the time and I never provide our customer phone numbers. Many times, even when mailing within the States, when asked for a phone number I just give them our own office number so they can contact me if there is a problem. I do the same thing when I send flowers or other gifts. - Michelle
"Dear Michelle, the Sisterhood at my synagogue here in Northridge, California, has begun clipping and sending coupons on a monthly basis. The post office worker suggested that we use the flat rate envelopes and boxes, as APO are considered USA addresses. This has been quite a savings. You can stuff a lot of envelopes of sorted coupons into those flat rate large envelopes!!!!! Thanks for all you do." - Mrs. Birken
Mailing Coupons to Military Families at GrocerySavingTips.com
Note: The tape on the flat rate envelope pictured above was not used to seal the envelope, it was only added for extra strength. This was the first flat rate envelope we used to ship coupons overseas. Since then, we have not added the extra tape as it is not needed.
Editor's Reply - As you can see from the photos above, I'm also now sending our own coupons this way and will continue to keep you all updated as always! I divide our coupons into two stacks, one for food items and one for non-food. I have a huge package of inexpensive rubber bands for my office so I use these instead of plastic bags. Whatever method you decide to use, it is very helpful to separate the coupons for the coordinators. Hopefully you won't need to reinforce the mailing envelope with packing tape because it's so full like this one! :o)