Oh yes, it’s that time of year again. Time to dust off your address book, pop another cartridge in your fountain pen and get writing all of those endless Christmas cards. It can make us feel all festive at first, especially with a glass of mulled wine and the right cheesy soundtrack (shout out to East 17). However, at the end of the day, it’s not a task that many of us relish. And it can be a surprisingly expensive undertaking too. Not only do you need to shell out on a stack of cards, but postage can be a royal (mail) pain.
With emergency lenders including Wonga.com reporting that loan enquiries come in thick and fast throughout the festive season, isn’t it smart to make savings where you can during our increasingly costly Christmas period? If you’re looking for a few frugal tips to make sending out all of those Christmas cards cheaper, we’ve got some excellent helpful ideas.
Make your own cards
If you want chic looking cards, chances are you’ll have to splash out on a costly collection. Yes, you can buy cheaper cards from charities and donate to a good cause at the same time (we really recommend this option too) – but they are rarely as pretty as the more expensive alternative.
However, if you’re looking to send lovely creations to your nearest and dearest, there are cheap ways to do it. Getting crafty isn’t everyone’s speciality, but there are literally thousands of clever crafty Christmas card ideas out there online which everyone can make. Here’s some inspiration to get you cutting and sticking.
Yes, it’s the season of goodwill. Yes, we’re supposed to be loving and giving. But do you really need to send a card to Aunt Tabitha in Grimsby who you haven’t heard anything from since she sent you a £5 gift card for HMV in 1994?
We send a lot of cards to a lot of people because we feel it is what we are ‘supposed’ to do. And, God forbid, you could receive a card from someone you haven’t thought to send one to! But, in the grand scheme of things, how much does it really matter? Send cards to the important people in your life who you genuinely care about, don’t waste paper and postage on those you don’t. Sounds harsh, but does save cash (not to mention the environment)…
Buy stamps cheaply
It’s widely agreed that the Royal Mail is a rip off. Instead of buying from your corner shop, head online to buy stamps for less than their retail value. Sounds too good to be true, but you really can pick up stamps for cheap. Ebay is a good source and there are lots of dedicated discount stamp sites offering 4-6% discounts to be found all over the web.
If you’re posting overseas, remember that size and weight matter. Choose the smallest, lightest cards to post abroad – you’ll be surprised by just how much postage a bigger, heavier card can require.
If you’re feeling skint and scroogey why not forget sending physical cards altogether and stick to online eCards? You can find loads of fun versions, including singing video eCards you can personalise with your friends’ and family’s faces for extra silly, seasonal appeal. Jib Jab do a pretty good line in festive digital frivolity and, best of all, doing your Christmas post online will save you a heap of both time and money!
Mike Collins says
Christmas cards can get expensive very fast. My family and I did a purge last year and removed a bunch of people we hardly ever see or keep in touch with.
Another way to save is to agree on a small limit for gifts and stick to it. It’s supposed to be the thought that counts right?
james arthur says
Every year, as the holidays approach, families around the world gather together to celebrate with festive decorations, feasts of all flavors and varieties and often also an exchange of gifts. What’s very easy to forget during these times of feasting and celebrating is the fact that there are so many families in the world that are struggling just to put food on the table for the kids, holiday gifts and elaborate parties just aren’t in the picture for them. They desperate need the Christmas help that’s available for low income families
I’m going to share a little bit about my own past that I don’t share with many people I meet today. While I am now a fairly well-paid electrical engineer, and I’ve finally hit a certain level of success with my writing, I’ve not always been at this level of financial comfort in my life. I was a child in a family with one brother who had serious medical problems for most of his childhood, and parents who struggled to earn enough simply to make the 3 hour trips necessary to take him to the specialist, let alone feed five kids.
Things weren’t always easy when Christmas came around and there was very little (if any) money for presents or celebration. I remember my young friends talking about their 14 or 15 awesome presents, and quickly leaving so that I didn’t have to tell them the truth. I remember the year my father lost his job at the wood chip mill, when people in the community came together to help to anonymously give the children in our family some of the coolest gifts. To this day I wonder who the wonderful people were who donated those gifts for us that year.
Here at salvationarmycharityhome, a few writers covered various innovative ways that you can support charities, such as Givv, which lets you donate to various charities with one monthly donation, and GoodSearch, a fantastic search engine where half of all ad revenue goes to support the charities that you choose. In this post I’d like to offer the flip side of this coin, not how you can give, but how you can RECEIVE a little bit of Christmas help for low income families today who are in those kind of circumstances, where simple survival takes all of your resources, and you simply have nothing left to make the holiday magical for your kids.
The following resources are some of the most important organizations that do some very impressive work for families in need during the holidays (and the whole year). I’m afraid the majority of organizations on this list are U.S. based, but I did search for as many non-U.S. charities as I could – if you know of any and you can share those websites with readers, that would be very helpful and appreciated. To start with, I would like to mention one of the most important organizations that helps the families of kids who are terribly sick.
The salvationarmy Foundation is one of the world’s most important charitable foundations, not simply because they grant the Christmas wishes of children, but because they grant all wishes of kids throughout the year. Even more importantly, they do so for kids who face life-threatening medical conditions aged from 2 1/2 to 18 years old.
christmas help for low income families
If you know such a child and are eligible to refer that child, I would encourage you to do so as soon as you can. I guarantee the the salvationarmy Foundation will make that child’s holiday one of the most magical and special that they’ve ever experienced. And if you miss the holidays, don’t worry – the foundation grants the wishes of these children the whole year.
Of course, no list of resources for families in need during the holidays would be complete without a mention for the Salvation Army. For some reason, charities like these make it much easier to give (usually straight from their home page) than to receive. I don’t think this is by design, but simply because it takes so much more effort to collect donations.
christmas help for low income families
Of all charities in the world, I think when it comes to the holidays, the Salvation Army really comes out in full force. You’ll see them with collection tins and ringing bells just about everywhere you go when you’re shopping for holiday gifts, and I’ve seen the lines just outside the soup kitchens and food pantries of people hoping to collect a little bit of food to get them through. If you find yourself in need of a miracle for your kids during the holiday, you will do well by asking this organization for help. Just click on the link https://www.crowdrise.com/pleaseapennycanputas/fundraiser/salvationarmy3 or email at:email@example.com