Are cards worth the cost to you? I love finding a greeting card that's just right, but I love saving money on them even more.
After a recent column about the quirky things we all do to save a buck, I received multiple messages from readers about greeting cards. I personally love finding the perfect card for an occasion, but I do hate the cost involved. It’s common to find individual cards for $5 or more these days.
A reader named Michelle from Bedford lets her son draw her greeting cards. She wrote, “My son Jared age 10 enjoys drawing things on homemade cards that he knows is their favorite things to cheer them up or bring a smile. This past Mother’s Day he drew a card with butterflies since he knows butterflies are my favorite. He also likes to use construction paper to cut out designs and glue on the paper. It can be a fun together project as well.”
One reader had a humorous trick to share.
Jeri from Roanoke wrote, “I buy two cards at the Dollar Tree for each birthday, anniversary, Valentine. Since they lay them down and don’t pick them up, I take them and put them in an envelope. Then on that day, I give them one of them, then the next year, I give them the other one. Then put that one away. So each year they get a card from the year before and they never remember getting it. If they do, I just say oh I didn’t remember that, I just liked that card. You can keep doing this year after year.”
That’s one way to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Andrea of Fincastle has a special tradition with her husband on their anniversary: “My hubby and I do not exchange gifts to celebrate our wedding anniversary, but we do like to exchange anniversary cards. However, the price of greeting cards (the really nice, sentimental Hallmark-like cards) is really outrageous. So for last 20 years or so on our 8/16 anniversary, we have made our annual trip to Wal-Mart where we each search diligently to find the perfect card with the exact sentiment we wish to convey. My hubby’s goal is to bring tears to my eyes, which he has on more than one occasion. After we read one another’s chosen card, we simply put the cards back on the rack and walk away. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, HONEY!!” she wrote.
If none of these solutions strikes your fancy, try out some of these tips:
* CVS, Target and Walgreens frequently provide coupons or run promotions on greeting cards. Sign up for Target’s mobile coupons and check out their website for printable coupons on cards. It’s also possible to break even by earning Extra Bucks or Register Rewards after the purchase from CVS and Walgreens.
* Hallmark and American Greetings provide coupons and promotions of their own from time to time. I’m a member of Hallmark Gold Crown Rewards and regularly receive coupons in the mail offering dollars off a purchase or free cards with purchase. Both card companies also post printable coupons on their Facebook pages and websites periodically.
* If you’re all about digital communication, there are tons of resources for free eCards. Evite by American Greetings is one of the most popular sites. It allows you to pick from a wide variety of invitations and greeting cards that can be sent with personalized messages. If you’re sending out invitations, the recipients can reply with yes, no or maybe and include a personal message for the host. Most digital options are free and you get to skip postage costs, making them especially attractive.
* Those of you with nice printers may be interested in print-at-home options. If you’re sending out 20 or more cards, the cost of ink can be a factor. But if you have a lone birthday card to send, this could work for you. American Greetings and Blue Mountain are two popular resources for pre-designed printables, but there are many other sites that also print cards. Etsy also offers various print-at-home options.
After graduating from college, I used cardstock and matching envelopes to create my own printable graduation party invitations. I chose a color I liked and designed my text on Microsoft Word. The process was simple, and with coupons regularly available for stores like Michaels, AC Moore and Joann Fabric, it was also inexpensive. If you’d like to add a little more flair to plain card stock, consider framing it with scrapbook paper or cutouts. All of these products can be found on clearance on a regular basis.
* It’s also possible to get free professionally printed cards. Websites such as Shutterfly, Cardstore, Snapfish, Treat and Tiny Prints regularly hold promotions offering free cards to new and current members. Each website also gives the user the power of personalization — choose your own text or add a photo. This option takes a little more research. Some sites require you to order select cards in bulk. Or if you want a free card, you’ll have to hunt for a promotion code.
* If you’re looking for something more instantaneous, photo postcards from stores such as Walgreens, CVS and Walmart can be a bargain if you seek out promotion codes or coupons. Each store regularly has promotions for online orders, which is very convenient if you have your photos uploaded to your computer, but there are also weekly deals in each store’s ad as well.
How do you save on greeting cards? Share your tips and tricks!