If you’d like to save money on greeting cards, this week’s post gives you ten ideas to avoid paying full price.
1. Watch for coupons and sales. While charging several dollars for a few graphics and a clever punch line may contribute to the bottom line of greeting-card companies, the practice definitely puts a ding in the consumer’s budget. But even if you’re addicted to certain trademarked imprints such as Shoebox or Maxine, you don’t have to quit cold turkey. Watch for special offers, such as buy-2-get-1-free or online coupons.
2. Shop at discount stores. Outlet or liquidation stores often carry brand-name greeting cards at a discount of 20% or 30% off the preprinted price.
3. Don’t forget dollar stores. In my area, I can purchase two cards for $1.00, and I always find appropriate seasonal selections.
4. Consider boxed assortments. Buying a box of greeting cards is generally cheaper than purchasing the same cards individually. The boxes usually come in various categories such as birthday, anniversary, get-well, or sympathy, and they also come in assortments. In fact, the cards don’t even have to be marked for specific occasions because blank cards give you more room to handwrite a message — the part that people actually read. Having a supply on hand saves time and the gasoline expense it would take to go to the store whenever you need a card.
5. Order paper cards online. Companies such as Send Out Cards offer the convenience of ordering traditional cards online. You make a selection, compose a message, and instruct the company to deliver a printed greeting card to your addressee. They print, stuff, stamp, and send it in the mail. You can also choose a realistic handwriting font for a personalized look. Even when you consider postage, the price is often better than purchasing a traditional card at a brick-and-mortar store and putting your own stamp on it. Send Out Cards is a multi-level marketing company, so if you enjoy that type of thing, you can also turn it into a business opportunity.
6. Make your own cards. Draw cartoon characters, use stickers or magazine cut-outs, or go whole hog into rubber-stamping when creating your own cards. My daughter, Aimee, takes close-up photos of flowers, has them printed at Snapfish.com for just pennies, and glues them onto folded card stock for beautiful, personalized results.
Over the years I’ve used words as the graphic elements on handmade cards by forming an acrostic verse out of the person’s name. Sometimes the lines rhyme, but the sample I’m brave enough to post on this blog has one-word descriptions of my friend Lucille. Lucille is as frugal as we Savage Sisters are — although she’s much better at actually sending cards in the mail — so she was able to appreciate the value of the handmade card along with its sincere sentiment.
7. Try electronic cards. You probably have a favorite Internet site for sending greetings to people who have e-mail addresses. Over the years I’ve changed companies when they began requiring payment or something else I objected to. When I use Hallmark’s e-cards, I’ve learned to watch carefully for any changes they’ve made since the last time I logged in. Some of my favorite free cards now cost $1.99 to send. An advantage to e-card sites is that if you’re sending the card at the last minute and you need to include a gift, you can purchase a gift certificate to send with the electronic greeting. Although there is a handling fee, you won’t need to pay the postage that sending a traditional gift would cost you.
8. Make your own electronic cards. Many e-mail programs now allow you to insert graphics into the body of the e-mail, so I sometimes insert a clip-art birthday graphic at the top of my congratulatory message. You can also create a card in a word-processing or page-layout document and attach it to the e-mail. If the recipient isn’t likely to have the program you used to create the card, turn it into a PDF file to increase the chances that he/she can open and read it.
9. Save on Christmas cards. If you send Christmas cards, you can save a bundle by thinking ahead and purchasing the coming year’s supply at after-Christmas sales. You’ll find deals from 50% to 75% off on boxes that just a few days prior carried full-price stickers.
Or make your own holiday cards by clipping pictures or graphics from last year’s cards and pasting them onto folded card stock. If the picture you like is large enough and also blank on one side, you can recycle it into a Christmas postcard and save on postage too.
10. Use gift tags. When you give wrapped or bagged presents, gift tags often replace the traditional greeting cards. It’s easy to make your own gift tag out of a scrap of wrapping paper, a bit of color-coordinated card stock, or a snippet from a colored envelope. The possibilities are endless.
Our family has developed the fun tradition of reusing gift tags by crossing out the “To” and “From” designations when the names remain the same. So during the next gift-giving round “to Mom, from Aimee” becomes “from Mom, to Aimee” and then back to “to Mom, from Aimee” on subsequent occasions. Or we just cover the bags’ matching tags with blank address labels and start over. I currently have gift bags whose tags sport several layers of such labels. It seems that the gift-tag’s “inside joke” has developed a life of its own.
Fans and Friends
Refine your views, and
Use this thrifty notion.
And tags can give your budget
Written by Fiercely Frugal Savage Sister Diana
© 2009, The Savage Sisters