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Coupons sent overseas help military families save

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Military families stationed overseas are saving extra dollars with the help of coupon-clipper Jamie Smith-Rhoton.

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Jamie Smith-Rhoton cuts coupons with her son, Braden.   Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jamie Smith-Rhoton cuts coupons with her son, Braden.

From piles of inserts and clipped coupons, Smith-Rhoton makes between 15 and 30 individualized coupon care packages each month to send to Guam, Germany and Japan.

"My hope is that as many families that need help overseas are getting it," she said.

Military commissaries in overseas locations accept coupons up to six months past the expiration date, Smith-Rhoton said. The six-month grace period helps families who cannot receive coupon mailings before they expire, she said.

Smith-Rhoton helps administer a Facebook page called Mommy Coupon Swappers. Military families send her messages or make a posting on the Web site requesting expired coupons, she said.

"The list is getting longer every day," Smith-Rhoton said.

"The more fans we are accommodating, the more people message me," she said.

Smith-Rhoton, whose husband is stationed at Fort Gordon, buys three copies of The Augusta Chronicle on Sunday to have multiple coupon copies for families. She also uses printable coupon Web sites and requests unneeded coupons from members of the Facebook site.

"I have 50 inserts coming in the mail this week," she said.

Some grocery stores on overseas military bases have bins of coupons for customers. Shoppers can waste time digging through the bin, trying to find exactly what they need, Smith-Rhoton said.

Labeled shelves in her home office organize the coupons, and folders help her categorize coupons, she said.

Clipping some coupons to use for her family helps Smith-Rhoton partially fund her coupon project. She buys only what she needs when she needs it, she said.

The money saved goes toward buying extra newspapers and paying postage for international care packages, she said.

"My husband thinks I have too big of a heart, but sometimes I wish I could do more," Smith-Rhoton said.

How to help

Begin by collecting expired or nearly expired coupons.

E-mail mommycouponswappers@gmail.com or visit the Mommy Coupon Swappers page on Facebook.

COMING SUNDAY

Check out the Smart Shopper page in Sunday's Your Life section for tips on couponing and shopping.


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