Frugal Holiday Greeting Cards: Custom Etsy Design + Costco Printing

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If you like to send out holiday greeting cards, I thought I’d throw out a quick tip that Mrs. MMB uses each year to save a bit of money.

First, you can buy a custom digital design off of Etsy. Search for some combination of “photo Christmas card” or “holiday card template” and look for a design that you like. The prices and inclusions can vary, so click around. Ideally, you’ll find a template where you can customize both sides to your liking. For example, a Minted or Shutterfly template might force you to put exactly 3 pictures on the back. On Etsy, you can put 4, 5, or 6 if you want. If you have Photoshop skills, those are usually the cheapest, sometimes less than $5. You can usually opt to pay a few bucks more and they will edit it for you and provide a ready-to-go file. All-in cost: under $20.

Second, upload the digital file to Costco Premium printing at $0.69 each. Costco used to only do the cheaper “Photo Greeting Cards” that are basically just one-sided photos with nothing on the back, but now they do “Premium Stationery Greeting Cards” on heavyweight 5×7″ stock. (Some of their other stuff looks identical to Snapfish, so maybe these are outsourced to Snapfish as well?) However, their template options are still relatively limited. Note that the following is included in the $34.50 for 50 cards price ($0.69 each).

  • Free rounded corners
  • Free envelopes pre-printed with return address

If you compare to a site like, their basic 5×7 card costs $167 for 100 cards ($1.67 each). On top of that, you would get charged additional for the following:

  • Rounded corners +$35
  • Envelopes pre-printed with return address +$45

That makes the total cost $247 for 100 cards ($2.47 each). There are usually some coupons, for example the Cyber Monday deal was 25% off, which would bring the price down to $185 for $100 ($1.85 each). Compared to Etsy + Costco, that’s still roughly a $100 price difference for every 100 cards.

Obviously there are even cheaper options (like not sending out cards or handwritten cards) but these types of cards are rather popular. I like this option because it’s actually more customized at less cost.

* Remember that you can save a bit extra on your Etsy purchases (or Minted, or many other sites) with cashback shopping sites like TopCashBack, eBates ($10 new user bonus after any $25+ purchase, $5 mininum cash-out), Mr. Rebates ($5 new user bonus, $10 minimum cash-out), and ($5 new user bonus).

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  1. I never understood this. This kind of card just screams to me “Here’s something I think you’ll like at Christmas…a picture of ME!!”

    • To me, it’s like a once-a-year Facebook update, since I am rarely on Facebook and many of my family and friends are not Facebook on at all. I like getting the one with pictures, it’s better than a card that just says Happy Holidays on the front with a signature inside.

  2. The best deal I’ve seen on the Photo Greeting Cards is Sam’s Club. Usually during Thanksgiving and that weekend you can get 100 cards for $15. If you miss that time frame, they usually do a different photo deal everyday leading up to Christmas and the 100 cards for $15 is usually one of them. With the price of postage I always opt for these cards over the cardstock type cards even though I like the quality of those better.

    For digital designs, I like using I spent $5 to get a super hero (with my daughters photo) birthday invitation designed. Got the photos printed at @10 cents a photo. Quick, easy, personalized and adorable with no need to write on paper invitation cards. The same seller can do a similarly themed thank you card. I buy the envelopes from Amazon.

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