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How I save money on greeting cards — and actually guarantee that I send them out!

greeting cards

Rachel from OrdinaryHomemaker emailed in the following tip:

I love sending greeting cards to people. It’s such a great way to encourage and stay in touch with family and friends. Unfortunately, it can also be very expensive and many simple birthday cards are around $5 each!

Also, it can be hard to keep track of all the birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions. I recently got married, so adding in my husband’s side of the family made things even more expensive and complex!

I want to share with you a simple two-step system that will save you money, keep you organized, and help you never forget to send another card.

STEP 1: Purchase all the cards you plan to send in a year at one time.

Buying all your cards at once saves you a lot of time and money in the long run. I usually purchase my cards in the 2/$1.00 section at Dollar Tree, so I end up paying just $0.50 per card!

Bring a list to the store of all the friends and family members you plan to send cards to throughout the year so you don’t forget anyone. I often buy a few extra “generic” cards so I have some spares on hand in case there’s anyone I forgot.

You could save even more money buying pre-packaged boxed cards, although they are often not as specific to the occasion.

STEP 2: Organize your cards by month in a hanging file system.

I have 12 hanging files in my file box – one for each month of the year. I use my monthly files to store anything specific to that month (for example, if we have tickets to a concert in March, the tickets would go in the “March” folder). You could also use an accordion file, or a binder with divider pockets for this purpose.

After my trip to stock up on all my cards, I put a sticky-note on each card with the name and date of the birthday (for example “Dad – July 21”), and drop it into the correct monthly folder.

At the beginning of each month, I pull out the stack of cards for that month and get them ready to go.

Using this method is so simple and easy. It cuts out all those last-minute trips to the store when I suddenly realize Grandma’s birthday is in two days!

You can easily purchase and file all your greeting cards for the year in just a few hours, and it makes the rest of the year so convenient.

Rachel is a stay-at-home wife who enjoys reading, playing the piano, and spending time with her husband. She blogs about finances, devotional ideas, organizing, recipes, and more at OrdinaryHomemaker.

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18 Comments

  • Denise G. says:

    Current, Inc. has nice, affordable cards that I buy for Thanksgiving, Halloween, Easter, thank you notes, and birthdays. I file them by category, then pull out as needed. I like the monthly idea also.

  • Cathy says:

    GVS has reasonable cards as well. I will have to check out Currant sometime (I just bought enough cards from GVS for the next two years) and compare prices. GVS has several boxes that come to .25 a card if you buy 12 boxes. This is what I did. The only down side was that the envelopes glue didn’t work so I have to use a glue stick each time. The phone number for GVS is 1-800-398-2494

  • Heather Schneider says:

    In a very similar fashion we give a year gift to my grandmother that helps her do this. I bought a plastic container with a tight lid that was big enough to fit even large cards in it. Then I made pretty cardboard dividers for each month which include the names and birthdays of everyone for that month. Every year in March when we have our big family get together all of her children bring the cards for all of their kids and grandkids (her grandkids and great-grandkids) for the entire year. The envelopes are addressed and stamped and the card is tucked in the flap. While we sit and gab we put them in the correct months and she has all the cards she needs to send them out to everyone for the year. We also add the new babies information on the monthly dividers.

    My grandmother is an amazing letter writer and loves to be in touch, but she is getting weaker, is close to 90 and the expense of buying and stamping cards for all of her family was not small. This way we can absorb the cost and make it easier. She can still write the letters and we all get the meaningful cards we want, even for the littlest of great grandkids! Total I think we have well over 100 cards to fill up her box each year and it is a gift she loves, but honestly, I think we love it more all year long!

    • pamela says:

      Love. Love. Love this idea!!!

    • Dawn says:

      This is the best comment I have ever read on any blog. It literally made me cry. My grandmother also was the greeting card queen!! When she passed away in 2009, my oldest son spoke at her funeral.
      The main thing that he used to talk about her was her wall calendar that hung beside “her chair”. It was a true sign and picture of the love she had for so many, whom she blessed throughout the year with cards.
      The days were filled in with names and birth years. She truly loved sending cards.
      What wonderful memories you are making with your precious grandmother. Thank you so so much for sharing this.

      • Heather Schneider says:

        You are so sweet! I have loved getting cards from my grandma and did not want the tradition to stop. I love knowing my small children will have these to treasure as well. It really is a gift to ourselves as much as it is to her. Sounds like our grandmas were kindred spirits!

    • Heather-Thanks so much for sharing this! My great aunt is great at sending everyone cards, but is getting older, this may be something I can do someday for her if she is unable to keep up with it on her own someday!

  • Ann says:

    I keep a drawer of greeting cards in a small desk. All occasions – birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, congrats, etc. Whenever I see a good deal on cards, I will find a few I like and add them to the stash. I find most of the cards at church rummage sales. Either in bags marked $1 or so, or sometimes loose cards I can sort through, usually 10 cents or less each. The best is to go the sale at the end for the ‘bag sale’ and include them in my bag with other things. They take up almost no room in the bag, so it’s like getting them for free.

  • Kristen says:

    The church I grew up in always mailed you a birthday card. One tip I learned from the secretary (to go along with the idea of buying them all at once) is that she always wrote the birthday on the envelope in the upper right corner where the stamp goes. Once you stick the stamp on it to mail it, no one ever knows.

  • Allison says:

    I usually make cards, but I keep a perpetual calendar on the wall with everyone’s birthday so I don’t forget.

  • Barb says:

    I get them from Hallmark (only the 99cents cards) using their coupons, or from Walgreens when there are free Hallmark deals. Then I register the cards for $5 giftcards through Hallmarks Card Rewards. Cute cards…money makers, can’t lose.

  • Jen says:

    I’m not a huge fan of Dollar Tree cards… they look a little cheap.
    I usually go for the Walmart or Hallmark 99 cent cards.
    My favorite place to go is Dollar General. Those cards are $1- $2 and really nice. I try to go early before they get picked over.

  • Sarah D. says:

    Or, you can buy a box or two of blank cards & envelopes from Michael’s (using one of their 40% coupons in the weekly flyer) and make your own cards. With some coordinating card stock, a calligraphy marker, scissors and a glue stick (and any other embellishments you might have on hand), you can whip out some pretty cards for cheap. I can make a whole stack while I’m watching a movie, or you could do it together with a friend.

  • Julie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this great idea! I have struggled with keeping up with birthday’s and last minute trips to the store. You have inspired me that there is a much easier way to get cards in the mail.

  • Pam says:

    Such a good idea – I used to do this and admit I got a little lazy one year and then it all went down hill from there! I need to get back on it – thanks for the reminder!!!

  • Rachel says:

    I just about could have written this post. I was laughing all the way thru going – yes, yes yes. I keep a large monthly calendar in a place I see it every day. At the beginning of each year, I write all the birthdays from the previous calendar in red for the new year (this way I can add new birthdays and anniversaries). This year, I also made the sticky notes as I did this and took the sticky notes with the name of each person TO the store with me and put them on the cards in the store. I used different colors for the months and since they were practically in date order already – it made it a snap to file when I got home.

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