How to save on holiday cards without looking cheap

Woman holds holiday card over decorated table

If you look forward to opening the mailbox and getting holiday cards, you are not alone. Even in this digital age, people love receiving cards in the mail.

But they can get expensive, with a box of photo cards costing $150 or more. The good news is you can save money and still be creative.

Consider Local Card Shops

Carolyn Deininger owns a card shop called Paper Wings, featuring creative holiday cards. She hears from customers every day who are tired of the same mass produced family photo cards year after year.

“We’re seeing a movement back to the tradition,” she said. “You have this kind of magical item that has this beautiful design in the front, then you open it up and it’s a handwritten message.”

If you still want to send a photo, most of her cards are large enough to hold a 3-by-5 family photo inside, but with artwork on the outside.

The Postal Service estimates over 2.65 billion holiday cards are sold every year. That’s enough to fill a football field ten stories high with Christmas cheer.

Trae Bodge, a nationally known smart shopping expert, says if you’re ordering cards from a mail order house, make sure to plan for all the costs, including tax and shipping.

“If you’re sending 100 plus cards, you’re really going to pay for that,” she said.

After you set your budget, she says, Look for deals, as there are various coupon codes for most sites. has a lot of offers that can be applied,” she said.

If you have leftover cards, Bodge says use the extras to make gift tags.

Consider Digital Cards

If sending a physical card will stretch your budget too thin, then consider the digital option.

“Digital is typically the least expensive,” Bodge said.

For around $30 a year, she says, you can get unlimited digital cards from several card sites.

“The better cards require a membership base, though,” she said.

Now is also a great time to get creative, using your child’s artwork as a holiday card to make it extra personal and save at the same time.

Back at her shop, Carolyn Deininger says people will appreciate getting something unique in the mail.

“They’re not going to get that same card from anywhere else,” she said.

That way, you send creative cards and at the same time you don’t waste your money.

By John Matarese, WCPO

About the Author

John Matarese

John's goal is to help as many TV viewers as possible save money, avoid bad deals, know a rip-off when one comes their way, and be educated consumers. His informative weekly consumer segment "Don't Waste Your Money" now airs on 45 TV stations from San Diego to Tampa to Houston and Cincinnati. More.

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