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Ask Joe: Can you get a discount if you're shipping packages to troops overseas?

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 17: Customers wait in line to deliver packages at United States Post Office at Rincon Center on December 17, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Customers line up at post offices across the country on what Postal Service officials believe will be their busiest day of the year. The Postal Service will handle an estimated 658 million pieces of mail today compared to an average day of 528 million pieces. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

From the Ask Joe file, we are looking into a question from a viewer about the cost to send care packages to our troops overseas.

Lujuana Bryan wrote in this week to say that several groups, including the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Blue Star moms, recently sent 200 care packages to our troops.

She said the cost really added up to ship all those packages overseas. She wants to know if the Postal Service offers a discount when it comes to shipping packages to the troops.

Here's what I found out:

That event was held last weekend at the Convention Center. There were lots of volunteers young and old getting into the act, sending messages and packing up boxes for our troops.

They did a wonderful job and it was a great turnout, which was wonderful to see.

As far as shipping costs, $17 is the cost to ship using a large, flat-rate box. But you can get a $1.50 discount if you're sending a package to someone in the military.

So with 200 boxes, if the group did pay the full amount (which we have not been able to confirm), that discount would have trimmed $300 off the shipping price.

I spoke with David Rupert with the U.S. Postal Service office out of Denver. He says it's important to keep in mind you need to ask for the discount when you are buying your stamps or paying for the shipping.

If you purchase stamps ahead of time and then show up to drop off your packages at the post office, you will not get the discount.

Rupert did reach out to the Blue Star Moms group about this situation, but again, since they purchased their postage ahead of time, a refund may not be feasible.

Rupert also says they do offer military care package kits that you can buy through the Postal Service. It's the same price to send them - $15.50 - but it comes with everything you need to pack and ship it.

The deadline to send packages overseas to our troops for Christmas is December 11.

The bottom line is, don't be afraid to ask about discounts when you're mailing things, especially to someone in the military. Those discounts can definitely pay off, especially if you're sending a lot of packages overseas.



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