Saving is like plumbing. To save, you have to find the source of the leak and then plug it. There are many ways to save, you just have to know where the major leaks are and start working on them. The economic slowdown proved to be the impetus for Americans to really look for ways to save on the dollar. Most, if not all, avoided making any major purchase. Purchases were limited to essential items like food. But how can you save when a holiday is in the horizon?

The slowdown, which became a full blown recession, happened sometime in the third quarter of last year – right before the holiday season. So how do you survive the holiday season in a situation that is not at all conducive for celebration? How can you continue the tradition without going beyond your budget? The answer is by being creative. Think out of the box and you will find ways you have not thought of before.

Let us take the example of greeting card printing. Since we are talking about the holiday season, it is customary to send card printing materials to family, close friends and associates. But with the current economic crunch, buying greeting cards from bookshops might not be a good idea at all. Those cards might not cost much if bought individually; but they become expensive once you buy several hundreds of them. Before the economic slowdown, I normally start buying greeting card printing two months before December to avoid the holiday rush and avoid the madness altogether. However, last year, I decided not to buy those expensive, pre-made greeting cards and instead decided to create my very own card printing from home.

From my experience of at least twenty Christmases, I decided to compile these practical tips on how you can make greeting cards from your home. But before you start your project, be sure that you have the right materials. You will need a colored printer that can print on card stock, a desktop publishing software, scissors or paper cutter, and colored pens.

Follow these tips to make your very own greeting cards:

Step 1: Be sure that you have a desktop publishing software installed in your computer. They will make your job easier. You can use your regular word processing software but it would definitely be an advantage if you have a desktop publishing software at your service. There are a lot of simple and easy-to-use desktop publishing available in the market. You can ask your computer shop to recommend to you a user-friendly greeting card design software. If you are quite familiar with the operation of PageMaker or InDesign, then by all means use them.

Step 2: Create a greeting card document. First, you have to pick a greeting card template. When you pick the design of your greeting card, always remember your purpose of sending the greeting card. Do you want to cheer up someone? Or convey some formal Christmas greetings? Whatever it is, you have to decide right away because this will help you determine the size or layout of your greeting card.

Step 3: Design. I would not tell you how you should design your greeting card because it is entirely up to you. Add clip-arts, photos, and text to the blank screen. Experiment with colors and shapes. Select fonts that would suit your greeting card style, tone, and mood. Let your imagination run wild.

Step 4: Proofread and Print Greeting Cards

I always find it easier to use a draft print when I proofread. I am more comfortable reading it on paper than on screen. And mind you, it pays to do several checks before you print greeting cards on expensive card stock or photo paper.

These days, it is important to find ways on how we can survive the economic crunch. Saving a few dollars means a lot these days.

Brent Durell is a writer whose hobby is doing personal greeting card printing for his family and friends.

Visit the Author's website: