Friday, April 3, 2009

Frugal Friday: Saving on Greeting Cards

Do you think that greeting cards are over-priced? At $3-$5 each, that can really add up quickly! I started making my own greeting cards a few years ago at a fraction of the price. Mike would argue that I have not saved any money because of the all of the money that I have spent on the supplies that fill several large boxes in our spare bedroom, but I would argue that most of those supplies could be resold if I wanted to (especially the Stampin Up stamps which I would probably be able to sell on ebay for the same amount or more than what I paid for them). The internet and computer are great resources when you are making your own cards. I often go to to get ideas for my cards by looking at other people's card designs. I also just do a google search on the internet when I need some help with sentiments or poems. Mike has made cards for me, too, even though he is certainly not into crafts (He quotes Proverbs 12:2 to be funny when I want to shop at JoAnns or Pat Catans and try to get him to come in with me.) He has printed off cards for me that were made with just clipart on the computer and they are just as meaningful.
I enjoy making my cards, but it can take a good amount of time and right now that is not practical in the middle of our move. I confess that it is becoming a trend - I have been very bad about getting cards mailed out over the last several months. So, if you are not crafty or just don't have the time to put into homemade greeting cards, there are still a few alternatives to spending $3-$5 on a single card.
1) Right now, Hallmark is offering a free personallized greeting card and they will even mail it for you. (Go here for more details.)
2) There are occasionally other promotions where you can get cards very inexpensively or even free at stores like CVS. Watch for promotions on photo cards at these stores too.
3) Use your judgement on this one, but the receiver may appreciate a phone call for the special occasion just as well as a card.
4) Electronic e-mail cards are free and can be just as touching and personal (again, that wouldn't work for everyone).
5) Multi-packs of blank note cards (or all occasion cards) are an option for a lot less than what you would pay for single cards. Just be careful about the "All Occasion" boxes - you may end up with some useless cards that don't really fit what you are looking for and end up sitting around in the box therefore not really saving you any money.
6) Buy seasonal cards (Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, etc) after the holiday when they are discounted and save them for the following year.
7) There may be other ways to use your creativity and show thoughtfulness in place of a traditional greeting card - for example, a hand-written note or poem.
8) If you really want to spend the money on single cards at the Hallmark store, at least get a Hallmark Gold Crown card. (Hallmark stores are becoming an endangered species, though - maybe because people don't like paying the prices or prefer "one stop shopping".)
9) You may be able to find some at yard sales (ebay doesn't really work very well for this type of thing).
10) If you do have some time and enjoy crafts, another thing to try is to make some homemade stationary paper from paper scraps that you have around the house (directions here and here) and add your own sentiment (This is a great way to recycle paper and a good craft for kids to get involved with!). There may be some up-front cost involved in getting started with the paper-making kit, but after that, it could be essentially free, depending on how fancy you want to get with your paper. You would be surprised at how much scrap paper you can accumulate for this project from colored envelopes from the cards that you receive, and other things, even junk mail.
Finally, keep in mind, it's the thought that counts and it's more likely that the person recieving the card will appreciate whatever is written in your handwriting as much or more than what is pre-printed on the card itself!

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