In the US alone, 7 billion greeting cards are purchased every year. Annual retail sales of greeting cards are estimated at more than $7.5 billion. A greeting card can cost anything from 50 cents through to 10 dollars. Though personally I don't remember seeing any for 50 cents in a long time. The average price of a greeting card falls between the $2 – $4 price band.
Media, and greeting card manufacturers and retailers have made it their business, in fact have made their business out of, making us all feel like heels if we don't buy cards for every occasion.
I believe I mentioned before the fact that my husband is very frugal, and while he is a very romantic person, his overpowering character trait, apart from being frugal, is being practical. He has a very hard time understanding why anyone would spend so much money on a card that is then thrown away, or in my case, put in the recycle bin. Actually, before I met him all cards were saved, another habit he could not understand.
The first few years of our marriage he made cards for me, on the computer with his own verse (he is a very good poet) and I bought cards for him. Then one Valentine's Day, he read the card I had bought him and said it was so nice why didn't I keep it and give it to him again the following year. And so the tradition was born.
For the last 10 years I have kept Valentine's, Birthday, Christmas and Anniversary cards which we have given to each other, and each year we exchange cards, and then I save them for the following year. Working on the average price of $4 per card, that is a total of 8 cards per year, $32. Divide that by 10 years, we have now reduced our cost to 32 cents per card, and each year our cards become even cheaper. And that is not taking into account the fact that the cost of cards will continue to get even more expensive. Add to that is the fact that we don't have to waste time actually scouring the card racks for the ideal card, we did that once for each of our cards, so the amount of time invested is also reducing each year.
This may seem strange to some people but we love our tradition, apart from the savings in time and money, it amuses us.