Creative gift idea: spa in a jar

Are you in need of a great gift for an upcoming special occasion? If you have more time than money, or just prefer to give homemade gifts, here’s my best gift idea. It requires no particular artistic or crafty talent and will cost less than 10 bucks.


Give the stressed-out moms on your list the gift of relaxation. Make your own bath product and them assemble them in a nice basket.


–1 cup Epsom salts

–1 cup sea salt or rock salt

–20 drops fragrance oil

–Food coloring

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until fully combined and color is even.


–1/2 cup almond oil

–1/2 cup castor oil or aloe vera

–Oil from six to eight vitamin E capsules

–25 to 30 drops fragrance oil

Mix all ingredients in a bowl with wooden spoon until combined.


— 3 cups clear mild dishwashing detergent

–Oil from six to eight vitamin E capsules

–1/4 cup glycerin

–25to 30 drops fragrance oil

–Food coloring


Mix together Epsom salts and enough almond oil (better) or baby oil (cheaper) to resemble very wet snow. Add essential oil or aromatherapy oil for fragrance, and soap colorant, if you desire. Here is the kind of instruction you would print on a tag or label for the finished product:

After cleansing the skin, turn off the shower water. Scoop a small handful of salt rub, and rub in a circular motion all over your skin. Rinse with water. You can wash again if you desire, but you will enjoy the greatest benefit if you simply towel dry without soaping up again. If used every time you take a shower, dry skin will be a distant memory. Salt Rub helps to get rid of all those dead skin cells, and the oil seals in the moisture.

Place your spa products in individual bottles or small jars, and decorate with ribbons, labels or other embellishments. Add other items you can pick up at the drug store, such as a washcloth, pumice stone or loofah.

There you go — and just in the nick of time!

Mary invites questions, comments and tips at, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a personal finance member website and the author of “Debt-Proof Living,” released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, go to the Creators Syndicate webpage at