During deployment, there’s a lot on your plate. Taking care of everything at home can be exhausting and sometimes extras seem like more trouble than they’re worth. Unfortunately, care packages sometimes fall squarely in this “extra” category, but they don’t need to take a lot of time.
Luckily, I’ve gotten care package shopping down almost to a science and, by following a few tips, you can too!
Care Package Shopping Tips
Make a list
I am notorious for browsing the aisles at large stores (Target, Costco, etc.) and coming across a whole bunch of must-haves that I didn’t know I needed to have. I mean when you can get 4 pounds of chocolate chips for like $10, how can you say no to that?
Spoiler: if you’re me, you can’t.
This impulse purchasing is exactly why I have to make a list when I go shopping for my husband’s care packages. As soon as I enter a store without one, who the heck knows what I’ll come home with. A list keeps me organized; it forces me to think through what will fit in the box and what he actually needs or wants.
If you need help starting your shopping list, grab this free PDF. It has a few care package content suggestions plus room for you to add your own items. Print as many as you need for deployment!
Have a budget in mind
You know what else a list helps you do? It helps you stick to a budget! Care packages can get expensive and one of the best ways to save money on them is to plan how much you want to spend and stick to it.
When you’re setting a care package budget, keep in mind that you’ll also need to pay to ship and decorate the box. It also helps to think through how many care packages you plan to send: 1 a month? 1 every 3 months? Doing that math (and seeing how much the entire deployment’s care packages adds up to) may cause you to rethink how much you’d like to spend on each box.
Shop those sales!
You can definitely decorate your care package off the sale rack and fill it from there too! Keep an eye on your local grocery store ads for favorite items to go on sale. Sales are also a great time to try new products: different brands or flavors help mix up the box’s contents and keeps things from getting boring.
Don’t forget to make use of coupons or rewards programs when shopping – the savings for each trip may be small, but they will add up over time!
Buy in bulk when appropriate
Occasionally, sales work best when you buy in bulk (buy one, get one sales for example). If that’s the case, it’s a great time to stock up on a certain product for use in more than one care package. Make sure to follow these tips when shopping bulk to maximize the benefits.
Keep your loved one in mind
Ultimately, the most important thing for you to remember when shopping for your care package is the person who you’re sending the box to! If your loved one has specific likes or dislikes, incorporate those requests into your shopping list. Don’t send an entire box filled with beef jerky if your loved one has decided to go vegan during deployment. You know them best!
Want even more care package ideas? I’m giving away 165+ ideas (plus what to put in them) here.