Monday, March 8, 2010

Saving Another Way

This post was written by my sister, Sunshine (yes, her real name).  I thought it was great and hope you will enjoy it.

So your blog seems to be a good bit about coupons. What about other money saving ideas, do you post those? I ask because I have one!
Last year, I put together a birthday book with the dates of select birthdays. I started with my immediate family and my bestest friends, and then I added in the birthdays of my friends' children and the parents of those children. I sent every single one of those people a birthday card, and for anyone that turned one, I sent a little $5 gift (I love these soft plastic Hot Wheels vehicles, and I keep a stash of them so I always have them around).
After doing it for a full year, it got expensive. I started with picking out a special card for each person, which ranged from $2.99 to $5.99 per person. I hit the jackpot when I did my buying when they have those buy-3-get-the-4th-free deals, but still felt ripped off. Then I decided to just buy special cards for the most special people, and guiltily chose the $0.99 cards for the rest.
Let's assume I send 100 cards in one year, which is very easy to do. That means I could spend over $630 if I bought a fancy card for each, including a rough tax estimate. If I bought the $0.99 card for everyone, I'm still spending over $100 per year. All this BEFORE I add postage! I started thinking that this was silly. What could I do to convey my birthday wishes with the personal and old-fashioned sending of a birthday card (my favorite kind of birthday greeting, sorry email/Facebook), but lower the cost?
Simple. Head to Target and buy 2 sets of 50 cards for $4.99 each. Head to the local craft store and spend $30 on birthday stamps and brush markers. I then make my own birthday cards, write a short and very personal greeting inside, and accomplish the same thing for just over $42. Next year, it potentially gets even cheaper because I don't have to buy new stamps and markers unless I want to. Add in postage, and in 2010 I spend the same amount on cards and postage than I spent on my cheapest option in 2009!
Please note, I didn't go Martha Stewart on these, as tempting as it was. My goal was 1) convey birthday wishes, and 2) do it cheaper. Sure, I could have done paper layering and glitter stamps and stickering, but that violates goal #2. My birthday cards are a 4x6 card with a stamp directly on the card and some a matching envelope.
I bet I could have done it cheaper too, because I wasn't even looking for steals on the card sets or the markers...and I didn't bring my craft store coupon with me. I'll be ready in 2011, and I think I'll buy an address embosser with my savings! I may even start making my new baby, shower, wedding, congratulations, and so on cards too!
I don't have the patience for coupons really, but here's one of the ways I save without them.

Written by Sunshine, Mrs. Bubba's sister


  1. Great post! There's a lady at my church who is all into the scrapbooking and making cards and artsy stuff like that. It's really cool if you have the right tools and time to do it. I usually end up buying boxed card sets for birthdays and so forth. My local Christian book stores offers boxed cards buy 2 get the 3rd free all year round.


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