Friday, May 11, 2012

Frugal Graduation Announcements

How many of you are tired of all the expense surrounding life-changing events (graduation, weddings, etc.)? Me, too! I have a nephew graduating this year, and let's just say that there isn't a never-ending stream of money flowing his direction.

In case it's been awhile since you or a child graduated, let's review how expenses can really add up. When I graduated from high school (1994), senior pictures ran into the hundreds of dollars, and you didn't get much. I'm positive that they're even more expensive now, although I don't have any recent figures.

Announcements and all the accessories that go with them also ran well over a hundred dollars and could easily top $200 if you got more than the basics.

When you add in the cost of a yearbook ($50 at this particular school), cap and gown rental, senior trip expenses, etc., it's getting to the point that you almost have to take out a loan to graduate from high school. Personally, I think that's ridiculous.

As a result, I took my nephew's senior pictures and also offered to make his graduation announcements. For $20 (including postage), they were all shipped to his door. I was pretty happy!

I ordered the pictures through ArtsCow, a company I've dealt with a lot over the last few years. They do a great job for a small price.

I made the announcements from those graduation invitations I picked up three years ago for $0.25/kit. They were designed to invite people to a graduation party, but they're very high quality and make great announcements, too!

Here's the original announcement:

At first I wasn't sure how to cover up that year. But then I remembered that I had blue metallic paper in my stash - lots of it! Since blue is his school's color, this worked perfectly:

I love how it turned out!

The inside is a removable insert that has all the information that a regular announcement would, in a formal style just like it would. I actually looked at sample announcements online to get the wording just right. I also chose a font that looks like some I've seen on graduation announcements in the past (French Script MT). Oh, and I made him some of those name card enclosures from a regular sheet of cardstock, using the same font.

I doubt that anyone who gets these nice, thick 5x8" announcements is going to think, "Wow, what a cheap invitation!" That's what I call success - frugality that looks expensive. :)


Shoregirl said...

Great recycling project! I'll bet your nephew is grateful for all you've done to reduce the cost of his graduation!

Christa said...

Yes, he is.

I realize that not every teenager would be happy with announcements that look different than his classmates', but he doesn't mind a bit. (Of course, who is going to know anyway?) :)

Michelle said...

Good for you! I agree with you about those expenses -- the biggest one I've run into in recent years are those newborn photos the hospital pressures you into ordering.

Who decided that we have to buy stuff from all of these companies in the first place?

Christa said...

Oh yes, those newborn hospital pictures ... When my sister had one of her babies, the lady took those pictures with a borrowed digital camera that she wasn't even comfortable with. I guess they figure new parents can be snookered into anything that relates to their new little one. :)

DeeAnn said...

I love all your ideas. When my Father died he left my Mom & I in a financial disaster. I was in my Junior year of high school. That's when the pressure started of buying this and that. I couldn't afford it. I went to Hallmark & bought beautiful graduation invites. Back then they were economical. I doubt Hallmark is economical now. I remember how beautiful those invites were. I think I paid $10 back in 1989. I finished my Senior year with a home course since I had enough credits. I worked in my school office during the day and held two other jobs. I didn't buy my senior pictures. Way too expensive. The only thing I bought was my cap & gown. I was not going to attend graduation. I went to several high schools during my HS career because my Father moved a lot. My Mom insisted on a graduation ceremony but would not help me financially because she said a cap & gown was an extra expense. Couldn't I just go in a nice dress? I did everything myself. My heart goes out to all teens who are going through the same thing. I saw your nephew's pics when I was catching up on my blog reading. They turned out beautifully. His invites are gorgeous. You gave him special moments that he will carry with him forever. Your a great Aunt.

Christa said...


Thanks so much for sharing that! Helping other people is one of my main motivations for learning new skills (photography, cake decorating, etc.). I love being able to provide nice pictures, a special-made birthday cake, etc., to my kids or nieces and nephews, especially when none of us could have afforded it otherwise. :)