Care packages can be expensive. Really expensive. Shipping, even with Priority Boxes is pricey… and then you still need to fill them.
I will be very honest: I was pretty bad at staying in a budget while shopping for John’s care packages, although I know I didn’t spend as much as other people do. Depending on the box and what I sent, I spent between $20-40 on large boxes (not including postage). That adds up quickly!
It’s not that I began the deployment wanting to blow the bank; in fact, I tried very hard to be thrifty (and generally speaking, I really watch my spending). Those darn emotions got in the way, quite a bit. Every time I saw something that I knew John would like– ooh, organic coffee from the gently shaded side of a mystical mountain in Uganda!– I wanted to buy it. After all, we weren’t able to spend time together and he was in a dangerous, monotonous place far from home– I was guilty for being at safe and comfy, homesick for John, and worried about him.
The more I tried, the better got at being cost effective as the months wore on. I was able to buy and ship more for less and I reigned in the exceptionally emotional spending of the first two or three months. I hope you can use these to help maximize your budget (and the goodies for your lucky recipient)!
1. Learn how to play Tetris
2. Shop after-holiday sales
3. Buy in bulk and then split it up
4. Buy only what you’ve planned
5. Send smaller boxes to supplement the big ones
At the beginning of the deployment, I sent a lot of the large Priority Boxes. John didn’t need the stuff I was sending– it was cutesy and adorable, but it didn’t really do anything. A lot of it wasn’t food or practical entertainment or staples that he needed (see: basically everything in the Olympics care package). Instead, I was filling the need to make sure that he was taken care of and receiving mail on a regular basis. Looking back, I should have used more of the small Priority Boxes to supplement the weeks when I wasn’t sending a giant package. The small boxes still can hold a lot if you pack them well. (I used small Priority Boxes for the Sushi Care Package, and Halfway There Care Package.)
Jo is engaged to the man of her dreams, a sailor who’s currently deployed. Although time away is no picnic, Jo has taken that time to get creative with her care packages ideas, crafts, recipes and all sorts of helpful advice and information which she shares on her Jo, My Gosh! blog.
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