How to Save Money on Holiday Photo Cards Without Sacrificing Quality

by Ashley Eneriz · 2 comments

The holidays are one of my favorite times of year because I love all the family photo cards. Okay, I don’t love the actual process of getting everyone ready, ordering the cards, and sending them out, but I do love having that keepsake from each season.

If it weren’t for the obligation to send Christmas cards, taking family photos may never get crossed off my to-do list. (I’m sure you can relate!) While I enjoy the finished result of holiday cards, it can be hard to swallow the price tag that comes with it. Between the photographer, ordering the prints, envelopes, and stamps, this usually costs several hundred dollars.

Here are some fun cost-cutting tactics you can use to produce quality holiday family cards, that you will cherish each season.

Save on Family Outfits

Take a look on Pinterest for family photo inspiration where you’ll find a plethora of outfit ideas. All of these clothing ideas can make it tempting to go out and spend money. However, you likely have several pieces in your closet that will already work perfectly.

If you are still wanting a “new” look, try only purchasing a few accessories, or head to your nearest consignment shop or thrift store. A bright knitted scarf can be just the right thing to make your black dress look new again.

The easiest way to coordinate outfits is for the adults to dress in more neutral colors, (such as black, navy, etc.) while the kids get to dress in brighter colors. This saves time and money on finding mother and daughter outfits. If you really don’t want to bother with matching outfits and clothing expenses, consider using black and white photos for your Christmas cards instead.

Take Your Own Photos

If you have a decent camera, you may be able to pull off taking your own pictures. I am by no means a professional, but I was able to capture some amazing images of my baby girl two years ago for our Christmas cards.

When it comes to photographing your kids, you just need to take a large amount of photos in order to get a handful of shots that look amazing. Knowing a little bit of photo editing tricks can help too. Obviously a professional photographer would get better shots and edit better, but they will also cost more money.

For family shots, we purchased an affordable tripod and remote for our Canon camera. Again, we just took lots of different shots, so we could have our pick of the best pictures.

You may also know a few budding photographers who aspire to do photography on the side of their regular jobs. Photography newbies are trying to break into the business and may charge less. But beware, you may end up getting what you pay for.

Use Promo Codes

Once you have the perfect picture, finding the holiday card you love shouldn’t be too hard. I like Shutterfly, but they can definitely get pricey. However, they do offer promotional discounts during this time of year, so you might be able to get a good deal. If you are new to Shutterfly, you can get ten free cards by using promo code JINGLETEN. 

I have noticed that since I continually use Shutterfly, they will send me free product coupons. I also get several coupon codes when I shop at online stores, and even received a free $20 gift card by registering with Target Baby registry and Motherhood Maternity.

To get the most savings from any holiday card order, it’s best to start your purchases early. This way you can do 2-3 different orders as the promotions are refreshed.

Opt for Crafted Cards

For a more unique and affordable way to go, Etsy has several crafters that offer printable holiday cards. There are several gorgeous cards to choose from, ranging from $10-20 for the download. Just send them your picture(s) and include the info you want, to customize the card.

Some of the designers on Etsy will even edit your photo for you for a small fee, or you could look to a marketplace like Fiverr. It just depends on the designer, their skills, and want you want your photo card to look like. You’ll then receive the downloadable file of your card, allowing you to either print them at home or upload the file to a photo print place, such as Walgreens, Costco, Walmart, etc. This method makes each card about $0.50, though you still need to pay for envelopes.


When creating holiday photo cards to share with your friends and family,  you’ll have to spend a bit of time and money to make this happen. These memories will be something you can look back on and have for many, many years.

However, you don’t have to overspend on this event, so use these tips to create high quality holiday photo cards, without spending a lot of money.

Do you send out holiday photo cards to friends and family? What’s one tip you use to save money?

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  • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

    All good tips! We take our own photos at home using a tripod (which we actually found in the trash 🙂 ). We just set our camera up in front of our Christmas tree and have it snap 5 photos in a row. We check to see if everyone is aligned correctly within the frame and keep repeating sets of 5 photos until we have a good batch of shots to choose from. Then, I make the card online using Vistaprint. All in all, it’s a fairly inexpensive way to make custom cards.

  • Jonathan says:

    Last year we started making our own cards. It saved us money and people commented on how beautiful they were.

    I couldn’t agree more that taking your photos or finding someone in the family who is more creative and can take them for you is a brilliant money saving way forward. It is so much more enjoyable seeing the finished article when it is something that you have created yourself.

    Great tips!

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