I’m going to let y’all in on a little secret: for the first few years of my relationship with my now-husband, I way over spent on care packages. Between paying too much for shipping and decorations and buying too many contents, I was spending way too much money during deployment. About mid-way through our second deployment, everything changed for me when I started keeping track of just how much each care package cost. I quickly realized that it was time to get serious about saving money on care packages and one way to do that was to decorate off the sale rack.
Shopping sales is something that most of us do without even realizing it: how often have you opted for a different brand at the grocery store because it was on sale and your usual brand wasn’t? You’ve probably even done it with contents for your loved one’s care package, so shopping a sale for care package decor isn’t that big of a stretch! You just need to follow a few tips to get the most bang for your buck.
How to decorate a care package from the sale rack
Come with a plan for the entire deployment.
When my husband is deployed, I like to plan out each of my monthly care package themes at the start of the deployment. Not only does it make the time apart seem much shorter (6 care packages sounds better than 6 months), but it also helps me take advantage of sales. I usually make a list of the types of paper I’m looking for and how many pieces of each I need right in my phone so that I have it any time I’m in the store. Then I check things off as sales or great coupons come up.
By knowing what you need for a few different care packages, you’re better able to take advantage of a sale. If all paper is one sale, you want to be able to stock up then, instead of buying it at full price later on in the deployment. Plus where is the downside to one shopping trip instead of 7?!
Be flexible in what you’re looking for.
This one may seem a bit odd right after the tip about making a plan, but if the military has taught me anything, it’s that plans are never set in stone! The same thing goes for care package plans! Think about it: if you’re dead set on only purchasing blue sticker letters and they aren’t on sale, but red ones are the ones on sale, is buying the blue ones necessary? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for executing a vision, but keep in mind that you may be able to create the same vision with slightly different materials. Having that flexibility helps you save as much as possible.
Do your research beforehand.
Most stores have members-only coupons if you sign up for their rewards program. Before you head out for a shopping trip, check to see if any exist that you can apply to your purchase. Always ask if the store matches competitors’ prices and offers a military discount on top of any sales or coupons.
Keep an eye on promotional emails and the store’s website to see when certain things are going on sale. More often than not, all paper will go on sale at once which is a key shopping trip you don’t want to miss.
Take the time to shop around.
If you’re lucky enough to have multiple craft stores around, take advantage of them! One store may have an entirely different set of products for sale than their competitor and you may save more money by visiting both. I even suggest visiting non-traditional craft stores (think Target or Wal-Mart) as they sometimes have sales on products you can use to decorate your care package.
In addition to shopping at different stores, make sure you shop the WHOLE store. While the majority of the care package supplies are likely in the scrapbook aisle, most stores put sale items in displays at the ends of aisles or even in the middle of wide aisles. You may find exactly what you’re looking for in a random spot in the store so spend the time needed to look around!
Care package decor can get pricey, but if you do a little planning and shop around, you may be able to score some great supplies on sale. Decorating a care package from the sale section may require a bit of extra work, but it will be worth it in the end!
Do you have any tips for shopping the sale rack for care package supplies?
Want even more care package ideas? I’m giving away 165+ ideas (plus what to put in them) here.