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Five (Practically) Free Things to Put in Care Packages

I talk about care packages a lot on this blog. I offer ideas for themes, create them for my husband when he’s still in the country, share great care packages for military spouses and even talk about ways to save money on care packages.  I just can’t help it. There are some pretty sucky parts about being a military spouse, but making care packages just isn’t one of them. To be honest, it’s one of my favorite parts for sure.

But I don’t like spending tons of money on care packages. I do try and save costs wherever I can, but I often overlook the many practically free things to add to care packages.  Most of them are homemade, but I think that only adds to how much they’d be enjoyed overseas.

Five (Practically) Free Things to Put in Care Packages


It sounds a bit cheesy, but there’s nothing like a handwritten letter, especially when someone is away from home.  Writing long letters is a great way to add some extra love to your box without adding extra cost.  Spray the paper with your perfume for an extra touch.


While photos likely won’t be entirely free, they can be pretty darn cheap with companies like Shutterfly. They always have great deals, sometimes even offering free prints.  You could print a bunch out all at once and then send them in a few different boxes to really get your (small amount of) money’s worth. A has often said that his favorite thing to get in a care package is lots of photos.

Home movies

This one doesn’t necessarily sound possible, but it really is! Most phones take pretty good quality video these days so you don’t any fancy equipment.  You could send the video electronically or even save it to a CD or thumb drive if you wanted to add it to a box. Send holiday or birthday wishes this way would be super cute.

Homemade baked goods

The big chunk of my care package budget goes to shelf-stable food, but I could save quite a bit of money if I sent homemade baked goods. There are lots of tips and tricks (as well as recipes) for sending baked goods overseas and I am excited to try it out during this upcoming deployment.

Handmade art

Let’s be real here, deployment housing ain’t so pretty, especially when your loved one is in a less developed country.  Having little ones draw and/or paint pictures would be the perfect way to save money and send some room decor.  No kids? Have your four-legged family members get in on the act! Or pick up a paintbrush and give it a shot yourself!

What free or practically free things have you sent in a care package?

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