We're always trying to save money. Mostly out of necessity. Sometimes simply out of habit. But there are somethings that I just haven't been able to sacrifice in my budget. Having the kids' pictures taken is one of them. I love to be able to take them and have their photos taken. Even though the last couple of trips my two year old has had me pulling my hair out. Still it's a fun treat that I've enjoyed too much to let go of.
However, I think I may have found a few tricks that, although don't make professional portraits very frugal, do make them more "budgetable."
1. Sign up for a membership card. We go to Sears and have their smile savers card which saves us the $15 sitting fee each time. I paid an initial $15 for two years and have saved a ton of money. I figure this year alone I will save at least $100 in sitting fees.
2. Look for bonus programs. This year Sears is offering a BOGO program for $5-$10, depending on when you sign up. For each sheet of photos you buy, you get a duplicate sheet for free. This works great if you have a large family to send photos of the kiddos to. Some studios will offer a frequent buyers card or portrait packages for discount prices. However beware here as well. Some packages sell additional poses at a higher price.
3. Clip coupons. Many parenting magazines will have coupons for the major studios, including Sears, JCPenny's, Picture People, etc. Don't subscribe to magazines? Flip through the pages at your pediatrician or OB's office. Often times there are coupons for packages or, in my case, a free 10 x 13.
4. Watch for special promotions. While I had my son's photos taken the other day, I saw a sign up sheet promoting a new background and prop set that was being introduced. The studio was offering free sheets and discounted prices for coming in on specific days to try it out.
5. Check online. I often find additonal coupons and promotions online that I wouldn't otherwise know about. Also checking out the website will give you a sampling of backgrounds, props, and ideas to be prepared ahead of time. And as we all know, the quicker you can work with little kids, the better.
6. Finally, be prepared with an idea of who you will be sending photos to and what size you plan to send. I never walk into the studio without a list of important relatives and friends. This helps me focus in on what photos are really worth my money and who will be getting what. My husband loves this one 'cause it keeps me from overbuying on the the off chance that I might be forgetting some one.
Need proof that all of this works? I spent less than 1/3 of the original price on photos this last week. Although I'll be receieving 8 sheets, I only paid for 3. I had my discount card for a free sitting fee, a coupon for a free 10x13, a coupon for a free 8x10, and used my BOGO to get 6 sheets for the price of 3. Not bad if I say so myself.
For more great Frugal Friday ideas, check out www.biblicalwomanhoodonline.com/blog to see how others are saving money as well.