11 Cheap Ways to Print and Display Your Photos
Autumn and the holidays are a prime time to take family photos and update your framed prints. Framed pictures also make great budget-friendly gifts. With the help of technology, photo printing and framing have become easier and better than ever before. Here are the best options for the frugal consumer seeking affordable gifts or just cheap ways to fill their home with art.
Automated photo printing apps such as Chatbooks make photo printing more convenient than ever. Chatbooks charges $8 for a photo book of 60 prints (shipping is free), and it takes the guesswork out of making photo books. Set up a series and fill your book automatically from your Facebook page or an album on your phone. Then your photos upload into a book that you can edit, name, caption, and more. You can also upgrade to hardback covers, and print extra prints.
Sam's Club or Costco members might find deals in the photo centers of their local warehouse store. Costco's photo center, for example, has a user-friendly app that makes it easy to upload photos, and while their single print prices start around 17 cents per photo, enlarged prints start at $3.99.
When it comes to ordering prints or large-sized photos from photo websites, it's important to shop around and compare prices. Our research found that Snapfish was the cheapest for small prints starting at just 9 cents per print, where Shutterfly was cheaper for large prints that started at $7.99. Snapfish is convenient in that it has partnered with CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart. You can pick up your order on select items the same day from those locations.
Many big-box stores have created their own online photo printing or partnered with a website service, like the Snapfish/CVS, Walgreens, Walmart partnership. Target uses EZprints and encourages shoppers to use their shipping feature. Prints start at 29 cents per print if you pick up at the store, but to have them shipped to your home, the cost is 16 cents per print. Large prints start at $2.89 -- even cheaper than warehouse stores.
Places like Groupon often offer very cheap photo printing services. Just recently, Groupon was running a deal for a 50-page custom, hardcover photo book for just $10 -- down from $57.95. There have also been canvas-photo printing deals, as well, and the deals are sure to get better as the holidays grow closer.
Never, repeat never get pictures printed without using a coupon. Snapfish, Shutterfly, and the like all offer coupons on a regular basis to help you save money on photo printing. And the coupons will only get bigger and better as we head into the holiday season.
There are several free photo-tile printing apps available, such as Mixtiles and MeshCanvas by Printage. The idea behind the apps is the same: Print three tiles directly from your phone and they get shipped to you with adhesive ready for you to arrange them on your walls without nail damage. Cost is similar for each example: $49 for three with Mixtiles, and $9 for each additional tile printed, $46 for three with MeshCanvas and $10 for each additional canvas.
Framing websites make it easy to order custom frames without the hassle of leaving your house. Frame It Easy for example lets you put in your picture size (the smallest size being 5x5 and starting at $10.03) and build your frame: style, color, matting, and backing from there. If you're making a gallery wall, look into bulk discounts from framing websites. Pictureframes.com, for example, offers a 10 percent discount when you buy five or more frames and a 15 percent discount on 15 or more frames.
You may also choose to go to a framing center such as Michaels. Prices at such places vary greatly depending on frame style, size, and matting. That said, never go into a framer without a coupon in hand. Michaels for example almost always runs a coupon worth 25 percent to 50 percent off custom framing -- a quick search online should pull up several options to save you money here.
Of course, it's cheapest to frame your pictures yourself. You won't be paying for someone else to do so, instead you would only be purchasing the prints and the frame. Search the clearance section of stores such as Kohl's or Walmart, and you are likely to luck out on a heavily discounted frame.
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