I love coffee and I love saving money.
In the early fall of 2009, I realized our monthly commissary spending was out of control.
With three children under four, two still in diapers, I realized I needed to be wiser with our money.
So I started reading and learning skills from frugal blogs all over the internet.
Weekly meal planning- why it’s good for my marriage
Cooking in bulk – with the intent to freeze
Writing a grocery list
Shopping in my pantry and freezer before going to the store.
Organizing my list according to the Commissary aisles.
And I learned how to use Coupons.
To keep only the coupons I knew I would use.
To keep them organized in a binder.
And to buy only the items I needed instead of over stockpiling.
By the way, did you know military families stationed overseas can use your expired coupons in the commissary (military grocery store) up to 6 months after their expiration date?
Each week I would save my receipts to keep track of my savings.
I was saving fifteen or eighteen dollars a week, sometimes even twenty.
At then end of that first month, I remember my total savings was 48 dollars.
So I told my husband “We’re going out to Chilli’s for dinner – and my coupon receipts are buying!”
After a few months, I wanted to share what I had learned with other military families.
So I contacted the Financial Readiness Team at my local Army Community Service with my story.
And the Overseas Coupons and Coffee Program was born.
I wrote a free Coupons and Coffee ebook (click the link download) filled with simple suggestions that can used to save money on your grocery bill and be more efficient with your time. Included are instructions for organizing and creating my Coupon Binder.
An article about the program, “Clipping Coupons, Sipping Coffee” was published in the Stars and Stripes newspaper, which led to a series of emails from spouses around the world wanting to start a Coupons and Coffee group at their installations. It was then that I realized this idea had the potential to help other families – even those outside the military community.
I am currently working on another more complete ebook with updated information, online resources, and detailed instructions for how to create and coordinate a Coupons and Coffee group in your community. I am also planning to start a monthly newsletter in 2011 with relevant frugal topics to share and discuss.
Please take a moment to look over this link list and share your additions/suggestions in the comments!
Overseas Coupon Programs
One program I would like to highlight is “Coupons for Troops” hosted by the Happy Housewife. Toni has created a wonderful buddy system that connects Frugal Families (that’s you!) with Overseas Military Families (like me!) to share coupons! (Our family has been so blessed by my wonderful coupon buddies Andrea and Kim from Mom Tried It! Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!)
Another program called the “Overseas Coupon Program” is an all volunteer charity where you can adopt a military base overseas to send your coupons to. Contact your Military Community Service (ACS, NCSP, FFSC) office and ask if they are already receiving coupons from this program and/or to suggest it to them if you don’t see your base listed on the adoption page. Anyone can be part of this program!
Also – If you are a military family living overseas, I encourage you to reach out via social media. About 6 months ago, I shared this statement via facebook and twitter as a personal public service announcement: “Did you know Overseas Military Families can use coupons 6 months after the expiration date?“. And ya know what? I had several generous friends and followers offered to send me their coupons
Couponing for the Military
Coupons for kids
Coupons for Military Overseas
Coupons to Troops
Coups for Troops
The Deal Searching Mama
Expired Coupons for Military Families
The Frugal Army Wife
Operation Expired Coupons
Military Frugal Resources
Resources for all Military Families
Commissaries.com – Check out their new website design
Commissary Facebook page – I am very impressed with their interaction on this!
Kay’s Kitchen – Frugal Resources and Recipes.
Resources for Baumholder
Commissary Aisle signs – This is how I organize my Coupon Binder
Coupons and Coffee ebook - Resources and Instructions for creating a Coupon Binder
Baumholder Army Community Service (ACS) Facebook page
- Check the community calendar for meeting times
Baumholder Family Morale Welfare and Recreation (FMWR) Facebook page
- Another good source of community information
If you are interested in starting an “Overseas Coupons and Coffee” at your overseas military installation – send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll gladly share what we did to get started! Feel free to blog about this program, link to this post, and use the button on your sidebar!