The gift of thrift: How to save money on greeting cards

adunn@newsobserver.comMay 5, 2014 

This time of year, greeting card purchases can require a separate line in the budget.

At $2.99 and $3.99 per card, the money starts adding up when you’re buying in multiples for Mother’s Day, assorted graduation celebrations and Father’s Day.

On a recent shopping trip, I found Mother’s Day cards just shy of eight dollars -- for something that will end up in the trash can, possibly as soon as the next day.

Love you, Mom, but not going to happen.

Thankfully, I also found cards for as little as 47 cents.

Here are a few tips and tricks on how to show those moms, dads and grads your love and admiration, along with your financial smarts:

*Search high and low -- but mostly low -- in the racks of greeting cards on store display racks. The lower-priced cards are typically placed at the very bottom of the display at the eye level of preschoolers.

*Shop early. The least expensive cards go quickly.

*Afraid of looking cheap? Those 47-cent cards I mentioned are Hallmark cards sold at WalMart. A similar line of 97-cent Hallmark cards is also sold at WalMart. The price is tactfully omitted from the back of the card.

*Check the dollar stores. Cards for all occasions are two for $1 at the Dollar Tree, for example.

*Looking for something a little bit special? Try Trader Joe’s, which carries a line of cards akin to those you find at boutiques and bookstores. The price is a bargain at 99 cents.

*Check the drugstore deals. This time of year, the major drugstore chains often have rewards deals to entice you to buy cards. This week at CVS, for instance, you’ll receive $3 in drugstore rewards when you spend $10 on American Greetings cards.

*Look for coupons. Print a $1 off 3 American Greetings cards coupon HERE, which can be used at any retailer. Additionally, CVS is offering a $2 coupon off three American Greetings cards. Print it at CVSSavingsCentral.com.

*Make your own. Get crafty with leftover scrap-booking supplies or raid your kids’ craft stash. Better yet, get your kids to make the cards this year.

*Skip the card entirely. Write a heart-felt note on a nice piece of stationery or simply tell them how much you love and admire them.

Bonus: Without the card, you can afford a nicer gift.

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