If you follow any coupon blog you will find there’s plenty of excitement about getting travel sizes for free.  I know what you're thinking: It's a travel size. One “travel” shampoo on my long, thick hair is one use! But wait–there is sanity in this madness.  Sure–you already know you can get a lot of the travel sizes for free (most coupons are for $1 off, and most travel sizes are $0.97), but these little products come in super handy! (Not to mention the minis are just so cute!!) Certainly, there is the obvious use for travel size products–carry ons at the airport–but there are other uses, as well.  You can take them camping! Put them in your gym bag! Stash them in your purse! Keep some at the office! So on and so forth. I keep a beauty bag full of travel sizes next to my first aid kit in my car. My daughter keeps travel sizes in her locker at school. So what else can you do with these mini products and those samples you get in the mail? I’m so glad you asked.

Charity

My local church collects these every year during Lent to pass out to those in need. But we also donate them year round to various community shelters. We have a donation box at home; when I get samples in the mail, I grab the coupon out of them and toss the sample size into the box. When the box is full, I bring it to my local shelter. Don't forget your furry friends! We also have a pet donation box, and we do the same as with the other. The humane society will be thankful for your pet samples.

Gifts

How about Teacher Appreciation Week? Teacher holiday gifts? (If you scored the free ink pens at Target, Staples or Wal-Mart, add this to teacher gifts.) Did you think of stocking stuffers? What about a welcome gift for new neighbors or new babies? You could even use them as party favors. If you have ever been in the $1 section at Target,  you’ve seen they have all sorts of buckets, baskets, bowls, cooking mitts, cups and so on, and they’re only $1. These are perfect for housing the mini products; add some filler to the bottom, place the products in, add a ribbon, and voila! You have a great gift without breaking the bank.

Make a welcome guest basket in your bathroom

Anytime I travel I find that someone forgets something. Thankfully, my hotel has thought of this and has the items I need waiting for me when I arrive at my room. You can do the same thing! Get a basket and put your travel/sample products into it; set it out on the bathroom counter, and if your guests needs anything, they can help themselves.

Halloween

Okay, so this one came from a friend: you could pass out the oral care items for Halloween! Not so sure how it will go over with the kids, but the neighborhood parents will love you. Nonetheless, it is yet another use for travel sizes.

Add it in with the larger size

I’m sure you have seen that you can get the Cascade travel size for free; it's a package of 3 tabs. This is what I do. When there is no deal on the larger size, and the coupon I have is about to expire, I head in and pick up these little sizes. When I get home, I open them up and dump them into a plastic tote. The idea is, if you have the larger version at home,  just empty your travel size into it. (Okay, I admit–dealing with shampoos and lotions is going to be a little more time consuming than dishwasher tabs.) But those free, 3-count dishwashing tabs will add up! I personally haven't bought the full size Cascade in three months just because of those little freebies.

Where to find the little versions? My Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Rite-Aid, CVS, Walgreens, and Safeway all have them. Chances are, so does your store! For sample sizes, you can normally sign up online. They’ll be mailed to you, and most will have a coupon in them!

So the next time you have a coupon about to expire, and there is no size restriction, and there are no deals for the larger ones, head to your travel section and pick up the mini version for pennies or free!

This has been a guest post by Jessie from Burke, Virginia
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