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Coralie Seright
Get your kids involved by cutting out the Box Tops so they can turn them in.

With school in full swing, most parents have been to their child's school and met the teacher, been given a list of supplies that the teacher needs that can be donated, and has learned a little about the school's programs. One of those programs is called Box Tops for Education.

Box Tops are little coupons that are found on hundreds of different packages (from food to paper goods and more) that you can clip and donate to your local school. Why are these so important? They are worth $0.10 each. This doesn't sound like a huge amount, but when you are collecting them, it adds up quickly.

The best way to remember to clip your Box Tops is to get a jar or bag and put it by your trash area. That way when you go to throw out a package, you will be reminded to check for a Box Top that you can put in the jar. You can even print off collection sheets and hang them on your fridge or wall where you will see them and remember to check the packaging for Box Tops. If you don't want to take the time to tear or cut them out, have your child or children do it. Print out the collection sheets and have your kids trim the Box Tops and tape them on. This makes it fun for them to turn it in.

Sonja Dial, PTA president at Elk Run Elementary in Magna, Utah, says that in her school, the PTA has contests to see which class can collect the most Box Tops each month. They get rewarded with a prize or snack if they win. Also, as an incentive to get all the kids to want to bring their Box Tops, they will have an end-of-the-year party if they can meet their goal for the year. At this school, the goal is $2,000 in Box Tops — one that should easily be met if everyone is working together. Last school year, the goal was $1,500 and they ended up raising $2,200 with Box Tops.

What does Elk Run do with that money? The PTA leaves that up to the teachers. The money they raised last year will go toward this school year, giving the school an extra $2,200 to work with. The money can be used for just about anything: school supplies, computers, library books, art supplies, instruments, playground equipment, white boards, science supplies and more. The teachers at Elk Run have expressed interest in having after-school programs and/or extra field trips for the students so they can have a more hands-on learning experience.

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So before you throw away the box or package you are holding, be sure to check and see if there is a Box Tops coupon on it. Get your kids involved and get them excited to take the tops to school to donate. If your school doesn't have a program, talk to the PTA president or the principal.

"Keep bringing them in and keep adding them up for our school," Dial said.

To learn more about what products have Box Tops, to track your schools earnings and even get coupons, visit the official Box Tops website at www.boxtops4education.com.

Coralie Seright is a stay-at-home mother of four and owner of www.UtahCouponDeals.com. She is a Utah native with a passion for savings. Contact her at utahcoupondeals@gmail.com.