Christmas cards have long been a holiday tradition for many families. However, with the postage rates going up (seemingly) every year, you can almost buy a gift at the dollar store for the cost of mailing a single card. Keep the tradition alive and trim costs as well as you trim your tree by considering any of these options.
You’ve heard of re-gifting, and you’ve heard of recycling. Combine the two and re-card. As you receive cards this year, save the ones that don’t have any writing on the inside of the front image. Cut off that part of the card and mail it to someone next year. (Pro tip: put a sticky note on the cut off piece reminding you who sent that card so you don’t send it back to them.)
In 2015 there was a difference of 14 cents in the cost to mail a standard sized card and the cost to mail a postcard. If it’s the thought that counts and if you can fit your holiday greeting on a flat card that’s no more than 4 ¼ inches high and 6 inches long, you can save more than 25% on postage. It’s a savings of seven dollars if you have 50 people on your recipient list. You can stuff a stocking with seven dollars! (Pro tip: combine this idea with the re-card method for even greater savings. Just trim the card down to the proper postcard size.)
If you don’t mind paying the postage, but you don’t like buying cards, put the little elves you birthed to work making cards for you. Kids enjoy being crafty and people appreciate handmade cards, especially those designed by kids. You’ll spend money on craft supplies, but that money comes out of two budget items: entertainment and holiday cards. (Pro tip: don’t forget the envelopes and allow plenty of production time.)
DIY Postcards: the cheapest option
Design your own Christmas postcard using a favorite picture and some basic photo editing tools. It’s easier than you think. Companies like Shutterfly, who create beautiful cards, don’t offer flat cards that meet the measurement requirements to be postcards. By designing your own card, you can either print them on your home printer or have them printed at a copy shop. The more you do yourself, the more you save.
For example, you can have the copy shop cut the prints to size for a fee or you can do it yourself for free. Depending on the type of paper you use, you can save almost 50% per card by cutting an 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper into four postcards. If you only print one side of the card and leave the other side blank for an address and short note, you save even more.
Due to the cost of printer ink on home printers, you may need to do some calculations on when it’s cheaper to have somebody else print it than it is to print at home. A good rule of thumb would be 10 pages. Ten pages of printing yields 40 postcards once they’re cut. Your home printer can probably handle that. If you’re mailing more than 40 cards, check print shop prices before you make your decision.