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I have around 30 unused greeting cards stashed in my office closet. No, I’m not a hoarder, just a person who knows how to buy greeting cards for next to nothing. In fact, I probably spent under $5 for the whole bunch.
While you may not mind spending $8 on a Mother’s Day card, inexpensive greeting cards come in handy, especially when you don’t have a close relationship with the recipient.
Sometimes you just want to thank a friend for helping you move, or you’re invited to a birthday party for a casual acquaintance. Maybe you’re a person who likes to say thank you, congratulations, or simply share the love for multiple occasions. If so, you can’t be out there spending anywhere from $2 to $9 a pop for greeting cards while you’re trying to pay off debt or save money.
Sure, you can buy cards in bulk, but why? There are better ways. Here are my favorite places to buy inexpensive greeting cards and a few tips on how to avoid looking like a cheapskate just because you were smart enough to get a good deal.
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1. Yard and garage sales
Lots of people see a clever or thoughtful card while shopping and snag it in advance for special occasions. Then they forget about all those cards until they purge for a yard sale. That means you can usually buy those cards in perfect condition for 10 to 25 cents each. I’ve purchased an entire basket of assorted cards for a dollar. People have even given me the whole bunch for free. I’ve also come across sales where the person owned a retail shop that closed and is getting rid of leftover greeting cards.
2. Trader Joe’s
You can buy the best inexpensive greeting cards at Trader Joe’s for 99 cents each. You’ll find cards with tranquil nature scenes, funny birthday greetings or sympathy, thank you and congratulations messages. These cards look as good as any you’d buy for $3 to $5 at a grocery store or card shop.
3. Dollar Tree
Even with a recent increase in prices on many items to $1.25, you can still buy Hallmark greeting cards at DollarTree for a buck apiece. Most of the cards are surprisingly nice. And the best thing of all? The prices listed on the back range anywhere from around $2 to $4.
4. Value sections
Nearly every grocery or drugstore has a “value section” in the greeting cards aisle. Those cards generally cost around $1.
5. Buy in Bulk
Amazon is a great place to buy greeting cards in bulk. Did you know that you can purchase a 24-pack of Hallmark cards for all occasions for $30? If you’re like me, and everyone you know seems to have been born in the month of August, check out this pack of Hallmark birthday cards – 12 cards for the price of $6!
6. Going out of business sales
As someone who’s picked the bones of my neighborhood Pier 1 Imports, I can vouch for the good deals you’ll find if you to skip the initial 30 to 40 percent off sale that kicks off a store’s closing. Wait for prices to dip even lower. You might miss out on the best cards, but you could also find just what you need for less than a dollar.
With that said, unless you already have the perfect card, your cheap greeting card collection shouldn’t be your go-to for every occasion. I once visited six stores before finding the right sympathy card for a friend whose dog had died suddenly. However, many times, a stylish greeting card that you snagged for a dime at a yard sale will do quite nicely.
Make sure the card looks brand new, and take time to write a thoughtful, personalized message inside. Get that old Hallmark slogan out of your head. Sending a card already shows that you care, and the very best doesn’t have to be the most expensive.