I have a confession; I am not 100% caught up on my photos. In fact, I am several years behind. There once was a time when I spent at least one evening a week scrapbooking (the type that required fancy papers and stickers) and I swore I would not be that mom looking back at years worth of photo’s going “when was that”? But God has a way of humbling the proud, and now I am facing years of “is……. 10 or 12 in this photo?” ” What year did we visit …..anyway?”.
Lately, I have had a few more evening hours available and have decided this would be a great time slot to fill in with photo book making. This time I am not scrapbooking with stickers and paper, this time I am keeping it simple with digital books and prints placed in simple albums.
I am also keeping it as low cost a possible. Here are a few tips I have discovered that will help you catch up with your photos without breaking the bank or losing your sanity.
How To Catch Up On Your Photos Without Breaking The Bank
(Links in this post are affiliate links. I will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking those links. See my disclosure page for more information)
1. Stick with one company for the sake of your sanity
The following tips on reducing the prices of digital photo books or prints could be used at various companies. In fact, I suppose one could jump from site to site to take advantage of every deal. However, you have to consider the time to upload the photos to all those different sites. I find it much easier to keep all my photos stored on just one site and then take advantage of all the different ways to find free codes for that one site.
I use Shutterfly since I find free photo book codes and prints regularly offered for them and I like how their site works. I have also been happy with how quick their service is.
2. Follow a bargain site that lists photo deals
I follow Money Saving Mom for announcements of Shutterfly free photo book codes. I have my personal Facebook account set up so that I see all the notifications for Money Saving Mom and therefore can jump on the deals as they come up.
If you are not active on Facebook, you could try signing up for email notifications.
3. Follow your company of choice on Facebook
I liked Shutterfly’s Facebook page a while back and quickly discovered they not only share a lot of the codes that I was finding on Money Saving Mom, but they were also sharing additional free or discounted offers. If you are working on catching up a lot of photos you just might want to make sure to click the “get notifications” tab so that you don’t miss out on any of the deals.
4. Join Brand Reward Programs That Offer Free Product Codes
Mycokerewards offers codes for both free photo books and prints at Shutterfly. My husband is an avid coke drinker so this works well for our family but if you don’t have a pop drinker in your home (and honestly I wish mine didn’t either) perhaps someone you know drinks coke products but doesn’t take part in the program and might let you have the codes.
5. Get On the Email List Of Companies That Send Out Free Product Codes
I receive several free product codes for Shutterfly throughout the year in my email box from various companies. The product that is offered varies from a luggage tag to a photo book to a $20 off a purchase of $20 or more coupon code.
Here is a list of the companies that have sent me free Shutterfly codes…
- Ibotta: Not just a great app for earning cash back on your purchases of hundreds of different stores.
- Joann’s – Not only will you get daily coupons for Joann’s but generally several times a year they send out a Shutterfly free product code.
- Kellogg’s Family Rewards– sends out free codes in their emails that don’t require points.
6. Join Point Reward Programs That Offer Shutterfly Gift Cards
The above will give you Shutterfly free product codes however point programs will give you gift cards. What you might not know is you can use both a free product code and a gift card in one purchase- meaning the code will cover the cost of the item and the gift card the cost of the shipping. (at least that is what I do right now the policy could change)
Although there are several point reward programs and even one app that offers Shutterfly gift cards as a cash-out option, I use InstaGC the most often. I use InstaGC because it provides a $10 gift card option for Shutterfly whereas all the other point programs start their Shutterfly gift cards at $25.
I haven’t yet ordered an item that cost more than $10 to ship so a $10 Shutterfly gift card from InstaGC meets my need. The best part is InstaGC delivers their gift cards instantly as in I don’t have to wait days for my gift card to arrive by email. So if a free product code that is only good for 24 hours or so becomes available I can go and grab a gift card from InstaGC and use it that very day to cover the shipping.
A few other point reward programs that offer Shutterfly e-gift cards as rewards …
- Swagbucks (I have readers earning $100 a month with Swagbucks)
- PrizeRebel ( PrizeRebel currently has 9 ways to earn gift cards)
- FetchRewards ( This is an app. You can read my how-to guide for Fetch Rewards here) If you sign-up use my referral code RE9FU and receive 1500 points once you submit your first qualifying receipt.
7. Watch Daily Deal Sites
I have used daily deal sites including Living Social to purchase photo books at deep discounts.
8. Us A Cash Back Browser Extension
I use the Rakuten browser extension to make sure I never miss out on a chance to earn a cashback through a purchase Shutterfly. MrRebates also offers a similar cashback browser extension.
9. Look For Discount Codes Using Honey
Honey is a browser tool that makes applying a promo code a breeze; in fact, at a lot of sites Honey can enter the promo code for you with just one click. So if you can’t seem to find a promo code for free items at Shutterfly through other ways mentioned above, try Honey they might have a good discount code that you would not find elsewhere. Go here to sign up for Honey.
Here is a post I wrote that shares my experience with using Honey as well as a step by step guide on how to use it yourself.
10. Photo Books Are Less Work Than Organizing Prints
Some might argue with me on this point, but I find that although photo books take longer to order prints take a lot more work once they arrive. You have to remember to buy the album and then label them all. When you order a photo book, you do all that work online and therefore cannot procrastinate or put it off a minute longer.
Others might say that shipping cost is less on prints than books and that is true but once you get the prints you still need to purchase a book or box to put them in plus any supplies you need to store them in such a way that they include the stories behind the photo ( such as photo safe pens used to label them).
11. If You Want To Take Advantage Of Free Print Deals Here Is A Simple Scrapbook Idea
If you run out of free photo book codes and you still want to keep catching up on your current photos for less, you could take advantage of the free print codes and then use this idea I found on Simple Mom on how to create a minimal fuss photo book using prints.
I love that this idea uses inexpensive brag books often found in dollar stores and printable quotes and memory boxes. It takes some of the work and the expense out of traditional scrapbooking, and I think it could be replicated for more themes than just summer. In fact, if you visit the blog Simple As That you will find many more great low fuss and low cost scrapbooking ideas.
Available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon–get your copy here!
Become A Snail Pacer
Receive a monthly newsletter full of tips for making life changes at a realistic pace.
Oh goodness. I’m horrible about this! Have you ever heard Jim Gaffigan in his stand-up routine talk about how we have a computer for each major life event? Instead of doing anything with the pictures, we just save the computer they’re on. GUILTY!
No I had not heard of him but I so agree. One of the reasons I am trying to catch up right now is because a laptop with a lot of photo’s is dying! So I would say that guy has it 100% correct and I am guilty too!
Barb @ A Life in Balance says
I’m catching up a bit. My oldest son now 17 has lots of photo albums. The other 4 – not so much. The First Communion Album I have to do for each of them has helped, plus I’ve started doing a photo book of their Kindergarten year and one of their Flat Stanley project.
Thanks for sharing your tips at Fabulously Frugal Thursday.
Liz Lacy says
Thank you for this article, it helps me not feel so overwhelmed. I too was one of those moms who was never going to get behind on the albums, all of my children will have lots of pictures and I will keep up with their baby books. As you can well guess, I have many years of pictures to organize, and my 4th child, a girl who cares about when she did all the new things babies do, has very little written in her baby book, sigh. We are in the middle of the years of having 4 teenagers, and one who thinks she is life is busy but this helps me by thinking it is possible to do a little at a time and not break the bank, thank you.
Oh man I am YEARS behind! Hoping to use some time this summer to get all caught up. Thanks for these tips!
Brandi Clevinger says
I’m also several years behind. I finally got all my photos updated, sorted, and uploaded to dropbox. Now I can start ordering the photo books.
Make sure to click “get notifications” for shutterfly on Facebook. I catch great free codes and offers that way.