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.
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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.