Where to Find Holiday Cards for Less

By Raechel Conover, Cheapism.com

As holiday decorations go up indoors and out and Christmas songs begin looping through stores and on the radio, folks are pulling out address books and sending holiday cards to friends and family. If you're still hunting for that perfect card and don't want to spend a bundle, check out the information below. We compared prices for cheap holiday cards at several online and offline sources.

Related: Which carrier has the cheapest holiday shipping?

Opt for making your own holiday cards this year to save money.

Holiday E-cards. As expected, holiday e-cards are the cheapest cards around. You can even get inexpensive designs with personal messages from egreetings.com for free. More complex e-cards will cost you, however. Paperless Post lets you design electronic cards, add your own photos, and pick a liner for the electronic envelope. E-cards from Paperless Post cost anywhere from 20 to 80 cents apiece and can be sent by uploading your address book. Venerable card maker Hallmark offers an interesting twist on holiday e-cards: Send as many premium cards as you wish for a flat $12-a-year rate.

Paper Christmas Cards. If you're sending traditional holiday cards, you may luck out and find unique picks at a local stationary store. Or, you can opt for a box of festive greeting cards and envelopes from a big-box retailer. Walmart, for example, stocks a variety of paper Christmas cards in boxes of 12 for just under $10. You can also check dollar stores for boxes of cheap holiday cards.

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Online Printing Services. Online holiday card printing services are generally cheaper than paper cards. With an online service you design a card and have it printed. Many people create cheap holiday cards featuring beautiful pictures of the family or from their travels. Simply upload the photo to one of many card-printing websites and personalize one of the design templates. These photo greetings cards are easy to create and are surprisingly affordable.

At Shutterfly, for example, cheap holiday cards can be had for as little as 40 cents each, depending on the style and options you choose. Simply to Impress, where the average price for individual cards starts at 69 cents, earns top marks in a review at Top Ten Reviews. Some printers require a minimum order, so the review site compared prices for 40 5x7 cards in different configurations; Simply to Impress prices came in below average. The online card-printing service specializes in photo cards, offers a large list of available products, and provides user-friendly holiday-card customization tools. Tiny Prints, another popular printer, produces photo cards that cost between 89 cents and $4.47. Holiday cards from this online printer may be on the high end when it comes to price, but it provides services such as card delivery to recipients in your address book, which isn't widely available.

Large orders, in the realm of 300 to 500 cards, often net a large discount. If you're only buying a few cards for close friends and family, expect to pay up. Extras such as envelopes with return addresses or printed lining inside the envelope also add to the bottom line.

Related: Walmart's Made in the USA vs. imports

Extra Discounts. Special discounts and coupons are prevalent at this time of year. Shutterfly is offering 40 percent off an order of cheap holiday cards when you apply the special offer code CARD40 to your account, plus free shipping on orders greater than $30 with the code SHIP30; the deal is for a limited time though, so jump on it. If you choose to print a card from an online service be sure to search for the name of the service plus the word "coupons" (e.g., "TinyPrints coupons") before making your purchase.

For creative types the holidays offer an opportunity to add a personal touch to your message by making your own cards from scratch. This is a frugal and fun way to pass along a cheery greeting. The holiday cards may not look professional, but that's kind of the point, isn't it?

More from Cheapism:
Thanksgiving Dinner: Comparing the Cost of Cooking, Takeout, and Dining Out
6 Tips for Making and Sticking to a Black Friday Budget

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