Expired Coupons: What Can You Do With Them?

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“Coupon is money,” says Victoria, my almost-three-year old, when you ask her “what is a coupon?” If coupons are money, since they help us keep money in our pockets, they are incredibly valuable. Did you know that manufacturer-issued coupons are valuable even beyond their expiration date?

What can you do with manufacturer-issued coupons after they have expired?

Use Them at Your Local Store

Some stores accept manufacturer-issued coupons after their expirations date. The easiest way for you to find out if any stores near you accept expired coupons is to call and ask. Take a few minutes to check with the Customer Service staff at the grocery stores and big box retailers near you to see if they’ll take them. It’s important to check with your local store because even though a store chain’s corporate office may not have a formal policy allowing expired coupons to be used, often store managers have latitude to broaden their policy if the local competition demands it.

For instance, Target does not have a formal policy that says all stores will accept expired coupons, but I am aware of many Target stores near me that have a store-specific policy permitting this. Why? Because these Targets are competing with a local chain that accepts expired coupons and not taking them was a significant disadvantage for them.

As of this writing, I have heard of some Target stores that take expired coupons, but am not familiar with any Walmart, CVS or Walgreens store that does. Please leave notes in the comments about any stores you know of that accept them.

Send Them to the Military

Military commissaries accept coupons well beyond their expiration date. That’s great news for military families, because many are living on a tight budget and face high food prices. Two organizations that will put your expired coupons into the hands of military families are:

Overseas Coupon Program. Expired coupons less than two months past their expiration date are a fit for this program. Coupons need to be clipped, sorted and counted, but they do make a huge difference in the lives of our military personnel. Visit Overseas Coupon Program’s FAQ page for more info.

Grocery Savings Tips. You can send your inserts and/or manufacturer-issued coupons directly to a military base of your choice from the list of they provide on their website. The list is updated monthly with new bases being added and bases that have enough coupons being removed for now. Find a military base in need of expired coupons here.

I cannot provide a personal review of their service and organizations, as I am just getting started with this myself, but I’m excited about this. I believe this is a small way I can show my appreciation for those that put themselves in harm’s way so I can live a life of freedom and democracy.

Learning Tools and Crafts

Yes, I think sending your coupons to the military is the way to go, but I’m also a realist and know that not everyone can or will do that. If you’re going to pitch the coupons into the recycling box, consider using them with your kids for learning and craft projects. They can cut them out, which helps learn how-to use scissors, play grocery store using coupons so your kids understand that they don’t spend as much when they use them. Younger kids can match like coupons, practice numbers, practice cutting them out and make a collage of their favorite products. Older kids can group and categorize coupons, do math and practice making change when coupons are used. Really, there are a million ways you can entertain and educate your kids with your old coupons if you get creative.

Your turn: What else? Are you aware of other programs and options for giving expired coupons a second life?

About Carrie Rocha

I am passionate about helping people live within their means so they can get out and stay out of debt. I live in Minneapolis, MN with my husband and two little girls.

Comments

  1. Just wanted to comment on your passing along how a coupon can be a great teaching tool for your child. Truth be told before reading your site and becoming a "coupon clipper" myself that was what I did with coupons… My son and I would clip the coupons and "match" them to some of the products we would have in the house. Then we would play store and I would have him tell me how much he was saving by using them… he loves math and numbers but was never very interested in pretend play…this was a perfect way to expand his imagination but still focus on his love of facts and numbers… such simple fun for a child but very valuable for their growth and development I think !

  2. I know Cub Foods in Elk River takes 3 months expired coupons. I do most of my shopping there because of that.

  3. The cub in savage takes them 3 mo. expired also.

  4. I am STILL curious to know which Target stores accept expired coupons. I know my store in Blaine does not, but I'd travel a few extra miles to go to a Super Target that did.

  5. My Target does not take them…handed one to cashier by mistake and nope!

  6. Cashier at Woodbury Cub told me they get in trouble if they take coupons more than 3 months expired. I used some expired coupons to buy Cinnabon snack bars last week, and she told me I was very lucky (as they were expiring that day).

  7. I thought Cubs took all expired coupons–regardless of how old. I used one last week that was from 1996!! ($1 off lunchables).

  8. Lisa Cunningham says:

    SuperTarget in Savage takes expired manufacturer coupons. They won't accept expired Target store coupons, however.

  9. I know cvs will take expired coupons. depending on your store, but most will up to 1 week some more expired for sure. it all depends on the months and the cut off date for the store to send the coupons back to the manufacors. after a certin point the manufactor will no longer give the stores the credit and then the store ids out money and then your prices go up.

  10. The Cub Foods in Maple Grove as well as the Target in Maple Grove both accept expired coupons. Competition is great!

  11. Thank you so much for the suggestion about sending them to military families. I hate throwing expired coupons away – it is such a waste. Not only of the time spent cutting and sorting them, but also the money that could have been saved. I will feel so much better sending them off to others that can use them! God Bless!

  12. Has anybody ever sent coupons to the military bases? I have hundreds-maybe thousands that I could send. But I don't want to have to sort them…it will take me hours. Not that I should be complaining, they are putting themselves in harms way. Can I send them without sorting them?

    • Kristine says:

      Hi Jennifer. If anyone wants, I can give you my address and you ship them to me and I can take them there directly. I live near Fort Hood and Shop at the Commissary on West Fort Hood every week. There is an area at the entrance where people leave coupons they don't want and I could put the stack up there if you don't want to sort them and people can sort through them when they get there.

      • does the commissary on fort hood let you use expired coupons?

      • @ KRISTINE FROM FT. HOOD
        Blessings Kristine, I believe what you are doing is a wonderful idea. I live in Tomball, Tx (NW Harris Co Houston), and would be very willing to send you all my expired coupons. I am really just getting back into using them heavily once again and am looking for exceptional ways, to save money but also give back to local communities. I’m thinking of upstarting something within my church where we could work together learning to save $ and be able to give our extras to local food pantries. It’d be a win win if you ask me. I help take care of a local disabled Vietnam Vet, and I take him to pantries regularly. I have actually got him excited by taking him w/me shopping on those days where the store pays me to take the products home. Its got him searching ads regularly now for me, and its great therapy for his stroke to help sorting them, & helping me shop as well. We must be creative and think outside of the box. It may be an idea to seek help from hospitalized soldiers HINT HINT. And maybe this could be done on a more organized level all around the world for soldiers and their families stationed anywhere. I love great ideas, and have always had a spirit of giving back and helping the needy (as I once was). Hit me up @ dawn.runyon722@gmail.com so we can throw out ideas at each other, and so I can send you my expired coupons.
        With many prayers and blessings for you & your family,Dawn Runyon

  13. The Cub Foods in St. Cloud are privately owned so they do not take expired coupons. As of February 1st, our Cub stores will be owned by Coborn's. Cub West will be a Coborn's and Cub East will be a Cash Wise.

    Carrie – do you ever have match ups for Coborn's/Cash Wise?

  14. Regarding SuperTarget in Savage taking expireds….how did you learn of this? Did a cashier tell you or a manager? Because that's my preferred Target and I've had coupons that I accidentally handed over that were expired rejected. And, how expired can they be?

    I'm not saying you weren't told this, but I'm just wondering if it was an inattentive cashier who let them slide versus a policy that allows it.

  15. Hi Jessica Cub foods takes expired coupons up to at least 2 months past the date. This coupon site you have is really great!! Thankyou Cathy

  16. You could send coupons overseas without sorting them, but then someone over there would have to do it. If you could just sort them into 2 groups "Food" and "Nonfood" that alone would be a great help because the food coupons go to one store on base and the nonfood coupons go to an entirely different store on base. If they are clipped and sorted into these two groups you would probably be good to go.

  17. Heather says:

    Regarding the military bases, I found a personal contact on an overseas base and send them directly to her. The ones she and her friends don't use, she brings into the stores. She has the opportunity to go through the coupons in her home first and then shares, which I think would be most convenient. I posted a status on Facebook asking if anyone had a contact interested in expired coupons and found a SIL of a friend. Just an idea.

    • Mary Keil says:

      Do you have the address of that friend so I could send my expired coupons to her. I don’t use many coupons and have loads.

  18. Riverdale Cub will take expired coupons up to 3 months later. I was told this by an employee there. And I believe it is privately owned. I wish Rainbow did for the double coupon days. Does anyone know if they will double expired coupons at the Coon Rapids Rainbow?

  19. The Target in Apple Valley on Pilot Knob takes expired coupons. Not sure exactly how expired. They also take Target coupon (from their website) and manufactures coupon for 1 item. I will also tell you many items i get there are much less than Rainbow or Cub items that are on sale. for Example: 32 oz coffee mate liquid creamer-$2.49, at Rainbow-$4. plus. Dannon yougart 32oz- $2.04 at Rainbow $2.50 if lucky.

    CVS on Galaxie takes expired ones as well. Many times I have been able to use my expired CVS $5.00 off 25.00 coupon 3 months later. They also have let me use 2-3 coupons on one item. Cub off 42/ Cedar takes them up to 3 months later. Rainbow nothing!! thanks for all the savings Kathy

  20. Cub in Brooklyn Park North as well as Cub in Fridley and Cub in Blaine, near Northtown all take manufactures coupons up to 3 mo. past exp. date. I do have one question about Rainchecks ~ I was at Cub in BP North tonight and they were out of the Post Honey Nut Oat cereal. They had a note on the shelf saying they were subbing a different size box for what was on sale but there were none of those on the shelf either. So I asked the cashier for a raincheck, I've gotten rainchecks there before, & told her about the product not being on the shelf. First she wanted to see the coupon for the product and said to me, "What day is it?" I said "Thursday" and she said "Well, since it's Thursday I can give you a raincheck." So my question is, what difference does it make what day it is? If they are out of a product, that's on sale in their ad, then why wouldn't they give me a raincheck? Is this a new policy? I wondering if it was Monday, instead of Thursday, would they refuse to give me and raincheck and just tell me to come back later in the week? Anyone have any ideas?

  21. Cub foods in Hastings takes expired coupons up to 90 days (exactly) with no problems. Also, their evening cashiers are friendly and helpful — not had any problems there … yet.

  22. Cub Foods everyone changed their policy recently and will take it if expired but no more than 30 days old.

  23. You can also adopt a military family that you want to send your expired coupons to.

  24. Cub will also take expired Walgreens Register Rewards because they are manufacture coupons. I try to watch so closely to use those RR from Walgreens and to spend the next week….but I have to say I have found a few and then someone told me about this and I have tried it and they take them. I have never asked a Cub Manager about it.

  25. As of Today, the Cub in Woodbury on Tamarack takes expired coupons up to 30 days past expiration.

  26. Donna Oland says:

    Jennifer, the 2nd site listed allows you to send the fliers.

    This is the web site she gives
    http://www.grocerysavingtips.com/expiredgroceryco

    it lists several bases asking for coupons. Upon review it looks like it these are updated/changed on a regular basis, though I have not reviewed enough to know the frequency.

    I have 2 son/SIL, Dgtr/dils in the military though neither or overseas at this time. I too like to give back, but felt the cutting & sorting would be too much. I am going to give this site a try.

  27. Does anyone one know what store close to Maple grove take expired coupons. as the 2010 list above was awesome, but Im sure things have changed since then. is this Listed in the stores coupon policies?

    • Sandra – The only store that takes expired coupons in the Twin Cities (that I know of) is Cub Foods – 30 days past expiration date. Some CVS stores have been known to take expired coupons the same week that they expire, but that’s on a store to store basis so you’d have to ask a manager.

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