I was my usual nosy self at the grocery yesterday. I love to inspect people's shopping carts--surreptitiously, of course. The woman in front of me didn't have too much. Then I saw the cards: 18 Valentine's Day cards at $1.99 a piece.
She explained to the cashier that they were for her grandchildren and other relatives.
As is usual with me, this brought me down memory lane. I spent many happy hours making Valentine's Day cards with my children. Red paper, doilies, glue, glitter. There is a rule in many schools that children must bring a card for every child, so this activity was quite time-consuming.
Even at the time I knew that this was not the cheap way to go. You can buy packs of little cards (conveniently containing 30 cards, enough for your whole class) for about $1.00. If you are a frugalista who plans ahead, you can buy these for NEXT year at the post-Valentine's Day clearance, sometimes for a mere 10 cents a pack.
Needless to say, this activity takes more time AND money than the homemade route. Yet we did it every year. There's been so much around the blogosphere of late about outsourcing to save time and money. I suppose you could outsource making cards to your nanny (tongue-in-cheek here). Or just buy the cheapies, as most do. I'm going to have to ask my children if they remember making the cards. They might not!
As for the woman in the checkout line. I remember a reader anecdote in one of the Tightwad Gazette books. The writer recounted being horrified by the cost of greeting cards. So she sent each of her grandchildren a homemade card with a few dollars folded in. Needless to say, this strategy elicited an ecstatic response from the grandchildren. Perhaps it became a tradition.
Happy Early Valentine's Day, dear Readers.