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5 Ways to Find the Cheapest Holiday Cards

Posted on 11/17/2014 9:27 EST

As holiday decorations go up indoors and out and Christmas songs begin looping through stores and on the radio, folks are pulling out address books and sending holiday cards to friends and family. If you're still hunting for that perfect card and don't want to spend a bundle, check out the information below. We compared prices for cheap holiday cards at several online and offline sources.

cheap holiday cards
Photo by flickr.com/pacmikey

Holiday E-cards.

As expected, holiday e-cards are the cheapest cards around. You can even get inexpensive designs with personal messages from Blue Mountain for free. More complex e-cards will cost you, however. Paperless Post lets you design electronic cards, add your own photos, and pick a liner for the electronic envelope. E-cards from Paperless Post cost anywhere from 30 to 80 cents apiece and can be sent by uploading your address book. Venerable card maker Hallmark offers an interesting twist on holiday e-cards: Send as many premium cards as you wish for a flat $12-a-year rate.

Paper Christmas Cards.

If you're sending traditional holiday cards, you may luck out and find unique picks at a local stationary store. Alternatively, you can opt for a box of festive greeting cards and envelopes from a big-box retailer. Walmart, for example, stocks a variety of paper Christmas cards in boxes of 12 for just under $10. You can also check dollar stores for boxes of cheap holiday cards.

Online Printing Services.

Online holiday card printing services are generally cheaper than paper cards but require some creative effort. You design the card and then have it printed. Many people create inexpensive holiday cards featuring beautiful pictures of the family or from their travels. Upload the photo to one of many card-printing websites and personalize one of the design templates. These photo greeting cards are easy to create and surprisingly affordable.

At Shutterfly, for example, cheap holiday cards start at around 83 cents each, but depending on the style and options you choose, a 30 to 40 percent discount plus free shipping may apply. Simply to Impress, where the average price for individual cards starts at 69 cents, earns top marks at Top Ten Reviews. The review site compared online printers' prices for 40 cards measuring 5x7 inches, in different configurations, and found that Simply To Impress prices came in below average. The online card-printing service specializes in photo cards and provides user-friendly holiday-card customization tools. Tiny Prints, another popular printer, produces photo cards that cost between 99 cents and $4.47. Holiday cards from this online printer may seem pricey, but it offers services such as card delivery to recipients in your address book, which isn't widely available.

Large orders, in the realm of 300 to 500 cards, often net a large discount. If you're only buying a few cards for close friends and family, expect to pay up. Extras such as envelopes with return addresses or printed lining inside the envelope also add to the bottom line.

diy christmas cards
Photo by flickr.com/churl

Printable PDF.

Another path to follow is to find someone through a site like Etsy who can custom design a PDF holiday card, even with photographs. We spotted this option at a starting price of $8 per PDF. The next step is to print the PDF yourself. At Walgreens, for example, per copy prices start at 12 cents. If you plan to send out 200 holiday cards, that's $8 for the PDF and $24 for the prints, plus the cost of envelopes (nothing fancy required).

Extra Discounts.

Special discounts and coupons are prevalent at this time of year. Shutterfly is offering 40 percent off select cards, plus free shipping on orders greater than $39 with the code SHIP39; the deal is time limited, so jump on it. If you miss out, not to worry -- more deals from card retailers will pop up shortly. If you choose to print a card from an online service, first search for the name of the service plus the word "coupons" (e.g., "Tiny Prints coupons") before making your purchase.

For creative types, the holidays offer an opportunity to add a personal touch by making your own cards from scratch. This is a frugal and fun way to pass along a cheery greeting. The holiday cards may not look professional, especially if you have youngsters helping out, but that's kind of the point, isn't it?

by Raechel Conover (Google+ Profile)

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