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Friday, March 13, 2009

Reader Suggestion Friday: Cheap Birth Announcements and Christmas Cards

My Follower, Dani', recently had a baby (Congratulations!) and wanted to find a cheap alternative for baby announcements. For my own baby announcements 2.5 yrs ago, I made my own card on the computer and included a 4x6 photo hand cut to fit in the envelope - I got 50 free 4x6 photos from shutterfly I believe - and slipped it in the card. I don't have my cost breakdown from way back then, but Dani' looked at Shutterfly and looked around for a cheaper alternative. She found a Vistaprint sale.

I had not heard of Vistaprint, but these kind of online photo product people have some pretty fierce competition. I know of many: Shutterfly, Snapfish, Winkflash, Walmart and MPix (MPix caters to professional photographers so they are not as cheap as the others, but if you want quality on an important photo, I included this in my list; I got a big 14x16 from them once.) I am sure there are others. Besides MPix, these companies often run lots of sales, certain # free, % off, etc. Sign up on their email lists and monthly you'll get sale flyers in your inbox from them.

When I chose to physically scrapbook my child's first year, I collected all the different offers from the groups and took advantage of them. I used winkflash, snapfish, walmart and shutterfly to get as many as I could for as little as possible. Just for grins, I bought one of the same photo from each place to compare them. None of them looked bad separately, but from the line up, I remember winkflash's colors were pretty bad, so I took myself off their list although they had some of the cheapest prices (guess that's why). The other three were comparable, there were color differences, but I couldn't decided if any were better or truer than another.

The Christmas before last, I used the postcard feature of one of these companies to make Christmas announcements and like Dani' created my own background. Well actually, what I did was chose the layout of one picture next to the wording and in Photoshop Elements created the the "picture" by laying out several photos. I made my own layout because I didn't like any of the options for my photos. Here's my 4x6 "photo" that I made in Photoshop to put in the photo slot next to the wording and the finished card.



I'll let Dani' explain her own process. I liked how she calculated every part. That is smart shopping.

"My friend had a baby about a month before I had mine. She sent out these cute birth announcements from shutterfly.com, which I thought was a great idea. I went to the website to check out prices, and found the cheapest was $.55 per card, but only if you ordered 255 or more. We have a big family, but not that big. In smaller quantities, the cards cost even more. For 50 birth announcements, it would cost $39.50 ($.79 per card) plus $6.99 for shipping, for a total of $46.49. This adjusts to approximately $.93 each. Add a stamp for each one, and you're well over a dollar for each card.

Then I got an e-mail from Vistaprint.com, which I have used to advertise my Etsy shop. They were having one of their mega sales, which they have just about every week, and I saw that I could get 50 free jumbo postcards. You can use one of their pre-designed layouts, which don't work for baby announcements since they're all for advertising. However, there is an option to upload your own design for $2.49.

After some wrangling with Paint Shop Pro (you could use Photoshop, Paint, or any other graphics program, I even made a decent one in Word 2007), I came up with a nice design (it has to be 8.5 inches by 5.57 inches and at least 300 DPI resolution) and uploaded it to Vistaprint. When I checked out, I selected the slowest processing and shipping option possible, which says it takes 21 days. That cost $6.37, for an order total of $8.86, a savings of $37.63 over shutterfly. Each card essentially cost 18 cents.

As for the "slow" speed, I placed my order on Feb 24th and it shipped on Feb 26th. I received them in the mail on the 28th.

I also liked that I got to make my own design, rather than settle for the limited selection of cutesy baby designs at shutterfly. For someone who is handy with a graphics program, these will work for Christmas cards, party invitations, you name it. Just be sure to read everything. Vistaprint makes its money off of shipping, additional options (like uploading your design or adding a color backside to the postcards), and offering you "matching" products at every step. Just turn down all special offers and you've got a frugal way to announce the big things in your life!"

Here's her card:



BTW - she has a blog post on how she downsized her own jeans to fit her toddler boy. Very cute with skull applique.

3 comments:

Joy said...

I just wanted to let you know I gave you a blog award. Happy blogging!

Joy

Chickenista said...

I left you an award on my blog! Wow another award! Yea!

Lori said...

Also check out overnight prints. They send emails with free shipping or free postcards or discounts almost every week. But vistaprint is excellent quality and a great price! Congrats on the new baby Dani!