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  • The best gift I received: The World’s Smallest Postal Service

    The best gift I received last month came from Marc, of course: It’s a letter from The World’s Smallest Postal Service. As you can see, it’s literally a tiny letter, with addresses on the envelope and a letter inside. The text of the letter is customized. Marc chose the chorus of a song that’s special to us (say it with me: Awww!).

    The letter comes with a small magnifying glass in a glassine envelope that’s sent out in a larger cardboard envelope. The outer cardboard envelope sat on Marc’s desk for a couple of weeks and I never had a clue what was in it.

    Valentine’s Day isn’t that far off, and I highly recommend The World’s Smallest Postal Office as a sweet romantic gift. In fact, in addition to the Letter option, there are Valentine/Anniversary, Birthday, and Tooth Fairy card options. All are just $8.

    And, if you’re in the Bay Area, you can actually visit the World’s Smallest Post Office in person.

    Make a free "Economy Survival Kit"

    If you play The Drugstore Game, you probably have enough of a stockpile of everyday items that you wouldn’t have to shop for years for certain things, like toothpaste and shampoo. And if you’re like me, you’ve wanted to share the items with friends and family, but the items often seem too random.

    VacationLover at Hot Coupon World has the answer: the Economy Survival Kit. She’s assembled a beautiful basket with a card that ties everything together. It starts:

    In this basket you’ll find everything
    you need to beat the economy blues!

    Toothbrush/Toothpaste . . . Because the economy has left a bad taste in your mouth.
    Household Cleaners . . . because SOMEONE has to clean up this mess!
    Pain Relievers . . . to dull the pain in your wallet.

    You’ll have to click through to her post to read the rest of her clever phrases.

    If you accumulate extras through The Drugstore Game, how do you share them?

    Image credit: VacationLover at Hot Coupon World.

    Easy and Inexpensive Homemade Gift: Scented Bath Salts

    On the rare occasion when I have time to make a homemade gift, I like making scented bath salts. They make thoughtful thank-you gifts and great baby or bridal shower favors. They also make a great addition to a spa or pedicure-themed gift basket. (Check out Mommy Making Money for ideas on how to make such baskets for free via The Drugstore Game.)

    The best part about scented bath salts is that they’re inexpensive and super easy to make. I use a recipe that I think came from Martha Stewart, although I can’t find it online:

    Just combine nine parts of epsom salt with one part baking soda, then add several drops of the essential oil of your choice until you achieve the desired fragrance. You can add a couple of drops of food coloring if you want to color the bath salts (a little goes a very long way). I’ve found that the easiest way to combine everything is in a large zip top bag – just moosh everything together until thoroughly combined. Then pour the bath salts into a pretty jar and affix a label and maybe a ribbon.

    That’s it!

    Image credit: Amazon.com.

    Inexpensive Valentine’s Day gift: hidden hearts

    If you need a last-minute gift idea today, this is for you. I picked this idea up years ago over at The Dollar Stretcher. It’s inexpensive, easy, and keeps on giving:

    Cut out as many hearts as you feel like making out of red construction paper or any paper that you have on hand. (Don’t remember how? Fold a piece of paper and cut the shape of a half heart on the folded edge. Unfold and you have a heart-shaped piece of paper.) On each heart, write down something you love about your sweetie. Here are some examples:

    • I love your laugh
    • I love waking up next to you
    • I love the way you change all the poopy diapers

    Then hide the hearts in all the places your sweetie will find them – in a coat pocket, a shoe, a drawer, the computer keyboard, etc. He or she probably won’t find them all at once, so the gift will keep on giving for a while.

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    The Fine Art of Re-Gifting

    My parents always re-gifted, so it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that some people look down upon the practice. Of course, it helps that my mother taught me the proper etiquette of re-gifting. I’ve seen various guidelines, and I think this list at About.com is a particularly good one. I do think the first tip is badly written, though – I don’t think the author is talking about a “gift card” in the sense of a gift certificate but rather in the sense of a card from the giver, like a birthday card.

    One thing I do to make re-gifted gifts extra special is combine them into a set or basket to create a theme. Another thing I do is put a lot of thought into wrapping the items. Both of these techniques make the gift extra special.

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