What do you do with expired coupons? Are your outdated coupon inserts lining the bottom of a birdcage or filling up the recycle bin? There is a more productive way of using those expired little slips of paper.

Many of us take coupons for granted. The newspaper arrives every week with a new supply of coupons for us to use, match up to sales and save some money with.

But it's a different story for our military families stationed overseas on U.S. bases. It's difficult for these families to obtain manufacturer coupons via the paper, yet they are able to use coupons to shop at military commissaries.

We all want to save money. The current economy is difficult no matter where you happen to live. Luckily, there's a great, easy way to help military families save money by sharing our unused coupons with them.

Did you know that overseas military commissaries accept coupons up to six months past the expiration date?

Would you like to start sending your expired coupons to a military base? Here are a couple of websites to help get you started:

--The Overseas Coupon Program: www.ocpnet.org.

One of the largest and longest-running websites spearheading the coupons-to-military effort, the OCP has excellent, step by step information on how to sort and package coupons and how to choose a base to send them to.

--Coupons to Troops: www.couponstotroops.com.

Coupons to Troops has great information on how to sort and mail both expired and unexpired coupons to troops, with lists of both overseas bases and organizations within the United States that collect and ship coupons.

To send coupons overseas, you have the option of choosing Parcel Post, which is slow but less expensive, or Priority Mail. Donating coupons this way means you pay for postage, but it's a wonderful way to help those serving our country save money.

To prepare coupons for shipping, both sites advise sorting them. Separate coupons into two bags, labeling them "food" and "nonfood." (Food is defined as anything that goes in your mouth, so coupons for medicine, candy and gum also would go there.)

Remember that it takes time for shipped coupons to reach their destination, so don't send coupons that are on the verge of hitting that six-months-past-expiration window.

It's better to send coupons that have been expired for two to three months so the coupons have time to arrive and to be used.

Email your own couponing victories and questions to jill@ctwfeatures.com.