College Care Package Ideas for Every Budget – Even FREE Options!

Here are some college care packages for all!

College Survival Kit

Have a new college student in your life?

There’s no better feeling for a homesick college student than getting mail from home. It’s even more exciting when it comes in a box!

Between the cost of shipping and the items inside, sending care packages can get pretty expensive. Thankfully, you don’t need to break the bank to brighten a college student’s day! Send a little cheer with one of these care package ideas for every budget.

Fancy College Care Packages

If you want to indulge your college student with a little splurge (or if Grandma is buying), spoil your recipient with one of these more extravagant options.

1. Hangry Kit

Hangry kit
Ranging in price from $19.99 to $49.99, these Hangry Kits can get a little spendy. They are ready-made if you’re crunched for time though, and they ship for free with Amazon Prime! We LOVE that you don’t need to stand in line at the post office or pay for shipping with this option, and to be honest, they had us at “hangry.” 😂

2. Inspirational Socks

women wearing 'strong' socks
At around $15 a pair, the cost of filling a care package with multiples of these Notes to Self Socks isn’t as cheap as sending a budget-buy 6-pack of plain ol’ white socks, but their cheerful affirmations would be such a fun morale-booster for a homesick college student!

3. BattlBox

open Battlbox subscription box

If your college student is the outdoorsy type, consider surprising them with a Battlbox. They’ll get a box full of useful items curated for all their outdoor adventures away from home, whether they’re into hiking, camping, hunting, or fishing. Subscription boxes start at $29.99 plus shipping or choose one of the ready-made gift boxes to send.

4. SprezzaBox

men's accessories

Sprezzabox is one of our favorite splurges for guys. It’s a monthly service that delivers men’s accessories, so it’s a great care package for a college student who is just starting to build his professional wardrobe!

If you want to send a Sprezzabox as a one-time gift, you’ll pay $28 for the monthly subscription (which can be canceled immediately after your first box). To save even more, the best deal is a 12-month membership, which shakes out to be just $20/month when you pay up-front!

We love that you can choose from several different boxes before your shipment, so you know that your college guy will love his new accessories! Boxes include 5-6 items, usually valued at $70 – $130, so you’re getting a great deal even if you pay $28 for a single delivery.

Frugal College Care Packages

Send your college student a little pick-me-up with one of these more affordable options.

1. BirchBox

Birchbox beauty box

BirchBox offers a beauty subscription box filled with beauty products specifically curated for you! Simply take a quiz filling out questions about your hair, skin, and style preferences. You’ll then choose if you want samples or full-sized products and how frequently you want deliveries to your college student’s dorm. From there, they will enjoy this gift, starting at $15/month!

2. Walmart Beauty Box

contents of Walmart Beauty Box

Walmart also sells a fun subscription box full of beauty and personal care items. When you register your college student for a membership, they’ll get a new box every season (four per year) for just $6.98 shipped.

3. Box of Dougnut Socks

donut socks

These adorable socks look sweet enough to eat, and a pack of 3 is under $16! You can also splurge and switch up the sock box theme to foods your college student loves, like sushi or pizza.

4. Gift Cards

Rite Aid Discounted Gift Cards

It’s easy to control the budget with this option, too, because you get to choose the amount of the gift card. Plus, you can ship a gift card for much less than it costs to send a big box of goodies! Try searching to see if you can get the gift card you want to send at a discounted rate!

Note that some colleges don’t allow for gift cards to be used if the restaurant is on campus. Be sure to check the gift card details or contact the school before purchasing to be safe!

5. Dollar Shave Club

shaving kit in shipping box on table

Imagine your college student’s surprise when they have to buy razors for the first time and they realize how expensive they are. Now imagine their gratitude when free razors just show up in the mail! For $5, you can send the Ultimate Shave Starter Kit from Dollar Shave Club. Keep the subscription going with shipments every 2 months, or cancel at any time!

6. Cheryl’s Cookies

cookies in Cheryl's Cookie box

Cheryl’s Cookies runs frequent promotions allowing you to snag a 6-cookie sampler, PLUS a $10 reward card for just $9.99 shipped! When you take advantage of this promo, your college student’s cookie care package will arrive with a $10 reward card to use towards a future Cheryl’s purchase, so they can enjoy treats both now and later!

7. Seasonal decorations

Dollar Tree Halloween decorations

Consider filling a box with some fun & frugal decorations for their dorm room. Cruise the aisles at Dollar Tree or check out Bullseye’s Playground at Target for affordable seasonal decor, and use it to put together a themed box for the next holiday on the calendar!

8. Dollar Tree College Survival Kit

College survival kit

Make an affordable College Survival Kit! Fill a basket with Dollar Tree items the recipient will both love and need. Get some ideas for what to put in your kit and download our FREE printable card.

9. Box of Sunshine

box of sunshine

Brighten someone’s day with a cheery box full of yellow items and our free downloadable card! You can completely customize the Box of Sunshine to fit your budget and the preferences of your recipient.

Consider sending a different color-themed box every month! Get reddy for midterms, orange you glad we love you so much, a little something out of the blue, we’re pinking of you… you get the idea! 😉

Free College Care Packages

No budget at all? We’ve got you. Let your favorite college student know you’re thinking about them by scoring some freebies and sending them their way!

1. Magazine Subscription

people magazines on table

Head on over to to earn a FREE magazine subscription for your college student! Simply complete a survey and redeem the reward points earned for a FREE subscription! Choose from 20 titles such as People, Sports Illustrated, and Travel & Leisure.

2. Make your own sample box

beauty samples

Start setting aside all of those freebies you’ve been scoring from couponing and following our freebie posts. If you’ve been following Hip2Save for a while now, you may already have a stash of freebies in your stockpile! Use them to make your college student a hand-selected beauty or snack box, and pay only the cost of shipping it out to them.

3. Handwritten encouragement

woman opening letter

College students love getting mail of any kind – and it doesn’t have to come in a box! For the cost of a postage stamp, you can send your love in a handwritten letter, homemade card, or even a postcard to brighten your college student’s day. Get younger siblings and other family members in on the act, and stuff their mailbox full of good cheer with multiple messages on the same day!

Don’t send your college student off without checking this list first!