If you take your cue from the retail stores, it's officially the holiday season. By now you're probably thinking about making lists, shopping, and all that good stuff. What are you doing for your holiday cards this year? Here are some ideas to help you save money:
1) Send a postcard instead of a regular card. If you have a huge mailing list, consider sending a postcard so that you can use .27 stamps instead of the standard .42 stamps. If you typically send 100 cards, you'll save $15 in postage. You can cut your own cardstock to 4″x6″ (standard postcard size) and decorate one side while writing on the other. Here's a great tutorial on using 4×6 photo prints. As long as you don't go larger than 4 1/4″ x 6″, you can still use the .27 stamp.
2) Send photo prints with a regular card. Instead of purchasing expensive photo holiday cards, you can get 4×6 photo prints for free or almost-free, then slip them into a regular card. If you purchased your greeting cards at the after-holiday sales last year, you probably paid pennies on the dollar (if you didn't, keep this tip in mind for the end of December!). I've even seen boxes of cards offered on Freecycle and at thrift stores. If you don't have any cards yet for this year…
3) Make your own cards. What supplies do you have around your house? I have years' worth of craft supplies just sitting in boxes for “someday.” For years, I designed and hand-stamped my own cards, but then the kiddos came along and…you know how it is. If you have kids, let them make this year's card. Each one will be unique! Some ideas:
- Nicole shares this idea for children's cards on the computer at Planning With Kids
- Amber has a whole tutorial with homemade cards for kids at Kids Craft Weekly
- There are tons of ideas for holiday cards over at Family Fun
4) Look for deals on photo cards. If you have your heart set on sending photo cards, shop around for the best deal. Most people I know swear by Costco for their quality and low price. You can also keep an eye out for deals like this Snapfish promo, where you get 20 cards for a penny apiece, then pay shipping (it comes out to .30-33/card). Shutterfly will likely have a similar deal soon, but you'll have to be ready with a photo of the kids! Right now, you can sign up with Shutterfly for the same 50 free prints/free shipping offer. They also have free shipping when you order $25 or more through Nov. 24th with code SHIP25.
5) Send cards to less people. First off, you can skip some of the people to whom you're already giving gifts. Make a cute gift tag instead. Then, take a good look at your mailing list; if you're having stress over a three-digit mailing list, it's time to cut back. Sometimes, we get stuck in a habit and keep doing the same thing each year without any actual thought or meaning (I wrote about this in regards to gifts). Save your cards/photos/sentiments/energy for the people who matter most to you.
Hopefully one or more of these ideas have inspired you! For more strategies to save money this holiday season, check out the rest of my Holiday Shopping Series:
- Making a Shopping List
- Saving Big on Big-Ticket Items
- Online Deals
- Free-Gifting and The Drugstore Game