I’m not sure how the tradition of holiday cards got started, but I’ll tell you one thing, I like it! I love the variety of cards people send and it’s fun to see how families change and grow from year to year. This tradition, however, can get quite expensive. I used to look for the best deals on online publishing sites, but even the cheapest cards still cost $1.00 each, and that’s not including stamps. Sending to your 100 closest friends and family? You’re going to spend well over $100!
But have no fear; I’ve got a holiday card budget solution for you: make your own! Now this may seem intimidating, but I assure you, it’s simple! Here is my step-by-step tutorial for how I made our holiday cards for less than $.50 each this year (including postage!).
DIY Holiday Cards Tutorial
For creating our holiday cards, I used Microsoft Publisher. Most people have Microsoft Office on their computers which includes Publisher. I find it easy to use since I’m already familiar with other Office programs. It took me under 30 minutes to create these cards.
(If you don’t have Publisher, I suggest looking into free online graphic design programs like Canva.com.)
1. Page Size.
Make your page the size that you are going to print your picture. I set mine to 4×6. Where to change page size in Publisher 2013: Page Design Tab>Size>Create New Page Size
We had a friend take some pictures of us across the street from our apartment. Last year we used the self timer on our camera. But you don’t need anything fancy. You could simply use your favorite memories from the past year! How to add photos in Publisher 2013: Insert Tab>Pictures
Did you know you can download tons of free fonts? I love fontsquirrel.com and 1001freefonts.com. I use search terms like “feminine” and “handwritten” to find styles I like. Once you install them, they automatically show up on all your Office applications, including Publisher! I like using fonts that aren’t typical because I think it makes your holiday card look fancier aka like you didn’t make them yourself. If this seems too complicated, skip this step and use your favorite pre-loaded fonts!
Do you see that Christmas tree? I made it simply using lines with a heavy weight (which makes them thicker). The stars are a shape that’s already included under the shapes tab. I set them to have a clear fill and red outline. Easy as pie. To inspire my holiday card design, I did a quick Google search for “holiday cards” and made something similar to what I liked. How to add shapes in Publisher 2013: Insert Tab>Shapes
5. Save As.
This is the part that tripped me up the first time I tried making my own holiday cards. Be sure to save your photo in high resolution for the best quality! How to save high quality image in Publisher 2013: File Tab>Save As>Save As Type, Select JPEG or PNG>Change, Select High Quality 300 dpi>Save
Now this is the part that costs money. Look online for good photo printing deals. I got mine printed for $.12 each at Walgreens using a coupon code. I only needed 36 photos, but it was actually cheaper to buy 51 (1-50 had a different price point than 51-100). A quick online search should help you find printing specials and coupon codes, otherwise check out the websites of places like Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, or Target.
Did you know that postage stamps cost $.35 each while regular stamps are $.49? In order for something to qualify as a postcard, it must be:
- At least 3-1/2 inches high x 5 inches long x 0.007 inch thick
- No more than 4-1/4 inches high x 6 inches long x 0.016 inches thick
And guess what? My 4×6 pictures fit the bill (and kept mine low!). I’ve done this multiple times in the past. I print my pictures, address the back of them, throw on a postcard stamp, and away they go! Not only do you save on the price of stamps, but you also save by not paying for envelopes. It’s all a budget win!
Printing: $6.61/51 photos or $.13 each (with tax)
Postage: $14/40 stamps or $.35 each
Cost per Card, including postage: $.48
What’s your tip for getting holiday cards for cheap?
This post was originally published on December 15, 2015.
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