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Stop Buying Greeting Cards and Save Money

{ Posted on May 10 2010 by Marcus Alston }

I recently celebrated Mother’s Day 2010 and had a fantastic time.  I took the kids to Philadelphia, we went sightseeing there, and they were able to visit their grandmother, one aunt, one uncle and their 4 month old cousin.

As a part of Mother’s Day, I purchased 4 greeting cards that ranged from $2.99 to $4.99.  Given the weak selection of really good cards, I did not focus on the cost, but instead, focused on the message.  By the time I was done, I had spent about half an hour looking and about $17!  This charge was on top of the gifts that I bought along with the cost of gas, tolls, wear and tear, and a 5 hour commute to my hometown of Philadelphia.  I could have bought another gift (or at least part of a gift) with the amount I spent on cards.

After we gave the mothers gifts and cards, I vowed, “No more giving of cards at any time of the year any more!” and I asked for everyone to join this pact.  My mother and the rest of the family agreed.  My mother added that if you want to give a card, make a homemade card.  Even my brother, a reluctant holdout (and great finder and giver of cards–sometimes 2 cards for 1 person), thought it was a good idea after seeing all the cards that we had collectively purchased—roughly 12 cards.  My family had already previously vowed not to purchase greeting cards at Christmas time for each other, but we had not extended it to any other holiday or special occasion.  With the card industry encouraging consumers to give cards on days such as Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa (not to mention birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries), I will save over $250 on cards a year by not giving greeting cards during these times.  That’s almost $21 a month in savings!

This is yet another way to cut expenses, spend less, and save more.  It’s frugal and demonstrates a miser mentality.  With a new son, my brother and his wife are appropriately focused on making sure that he is loved, raised with good values, and taken care of financially. If my brother and my sister-in-law experience a similar savings, and collectively saved only $42 per month starting today for their 4 month old son, they would have $1 million for my nephew by the time he was 65 years old (assumes the money earns 8% interest annually for 65 years).

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7 Responses to “Stop Buying Greeting Cards and Save Money”

  1. I share the Consumer Miser’s desire to save money by boycotting Hallmark and the other pre-packaged well wish creating card companies. I curse and grumble each time I’m trapped in a store with my wife during one of her Card Selection Expeditions (she buys cards for all of the holidays and celebrations for friends and relatives…and some times buys cards just for the sake of buying one!). I came from a handmade-cars-are-best family of all boys. We cut and glued and rhymed and drew the best cards for Mom and Dad and the grandparents as kids. We knew about Hallmark but rarely ventured into those cash sucking card aisles in the supermarket or drug store. But I married into the card-giving clan of romanticizing women (my wife is one of 3 daughters..all of them mushy gushy types). I fought the Card Machine. I wrote letters and poems for holidays. I tried e-cards. I even hand made a book one year with pictures and prose. But my wife things greeting cards = love. I can’t win. This Mothers Day I shelled out $12 for 3 cards (one from me, one from my 4 month old son, and one from the two of us) and I was a hero. She bragged about me at the family dinner to her sisters and aunts. Unfortunately, I have to find another way of being a Consumer Mizer because this boycott doesn’t stand a chance of working in my house.

  2. Peter, I see that you have married into a card giving family and that cards are very important to your wife. I agree with your assessment that while you want to be a Consumer Miser on this one, that you are better off giving in on this one. We have to pick our battles and this one is better left alone. Little things add up, but you can probably… See More find savings in other areas. Great comments and quite thought provoking. Since I started my blog I have stepped up my miser mentality quite a bit and while my wife supports the blog, she has asked me on more than one occasion, whether I am going to continue being a Consumer Miser 24/7. I have to pick my battles too. I understand your position.

  3. I have tried over the years, to remember to buy cards, just after the holiday celebrated. That’s how I buy my Christmas cards(bulk). You really have to plan. Of course, many people do the same thing and you can end up with a pretty lame selection. I don’t like the online cards, they always seem to be promoting some agenda that I might like, but I dislike receiving weekly or semi-weekly promptings about supporting them. The free stuff may be free, but not from all the other sites that they forward, or sell, your email address to. I’ll settle for an email or a phone call. What I do love is the friends that send me cards with family pictures. I keep the photos on my fridge and they become part of my extended family. Better than a present.

  4. Bruce, nice comments. I agree that pictures of family and friends are always good and pretty original by nature. It really is the thought that counts and not the card. An e-mail or phone call can serve the same purpose as a card and it does not create clutter. Of course, many folks really love cards, so for them, maybe cutting their expenses in another area makes sense/cents.

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