“Who, being loved, is poor?” – Oscar Wilde

Today is my anniversary with Jeanine. I’ve marked time over the years by making her homemade love notes (examples shown here). They are little note cards typically left in the house the day I depart on a business trip. I’m sure the number of cards has reached over a hundred by now. They fill a couple of decorative keepsake boxes.

It’s getting to the point where she probably needs to start tossing some of them. It really wouldn’t hurt my feelings if she skimmed the sub par ones from the pile. I’m all about keeping the house uncluttered. This includes the overflowing boxes of love notes.

I like order and tidiness. But this isn’t a post about how clutter consumes the space we need for new abundance to appear in our life. Although there is much to be said about letting go of the past to make room and open our lives up to new experiences. That’s a post for another day.

Rather, today is about how much money people spend on greeting cards each year. I just can’t bring myself to spend $2.99 to say I love you on a regular basis when I essentially can make a card for pennies and it has more relevance and meaning than anything I can find at the Hallmark store.

I recently saw a New Yorker cartoon that showed a man standing in front of a casket with a woman and he says, “That get-well card we sent certainly was a waste of money.” That pretty much sums up how I feel about spending money on greeting cards. Big waste of money!

According to the Greeting Card Association, approximately 7 billion greeting cards are purchased annually. Other greeting card facts from the GCA:

1. More than 90 percent of all U.S. households buy greeting cards, with the average household purchasing 30 individual cards in a year.

2. Greeting cards range in price from 50 cents to $10, although counter cards typically cost between $2 and $4. Cards featuring special techniques, intricate designs and new technologies are at the top of the price scale.

3. The exchange of greeting cards is one of the most widely accepted customs in the U.S. There are cards for virtually any occasion or relationship, and they are widely available. Approximately 100,000 retail outlets around the country carry greeting cards.

4. Women purchase more than 80 percent of all greeting cards. Although women are more likely than men to buy several cards at once, men generally spend more on a single card than women.

Spend and buy. Of course, the GCA wants you to spend more money on greeting cards. But how hard is it to make your own? First of all: don’t go searching online for ideas. Your search will only lead to goofy craft sites, card-making software programs, and some frugal posts that in my opinion provide lame ideas.

Rather, buy some interesting paper, a glue stick, X-Acto knife, and a straight edge. All can be found at Flax Art or your local art supply store. Then just find images online that are relevant to whatever occasion or emotion you want to express. Or use pictures taken with your digital camera. Often times, my cards recap the weekend activity before or precap what’s to come. In any case, it’s a more personal, relevant way to say I love you than anything you’ll find at the card shop.

According to marriage experts, Sheri & Bob Stritof, love notes are important. They write, “It appears that the most popular places to leave love notes is somewhere in your kitchen or bathroom. Regardless of where you leave a love note for your spouse to find, writing the note and taking time to find a unique place for it says loudly that you are still very much in love with your spouse. Here are room-by-room suggestions for where to leave love notes for your spouse to find.”

Whether you leave it in the bathroom or kitchen, a homemade card is better than a store bought one. It’s cheaper, more efficient and relevant to the person on the receiving end. I can make a card in less than 10 minutes. Start to finish. I never leave my desk. No money spent driving to Hallmark; no time wasted pouring over the card rack and best of all I save hundreds of dollars each year on greeting cards. Jeanine can’t help but love my “touch it once” efficiency! I love her too on this anniversary day… a day that gets marked by a homemade card of course.