Our Vacation Photo Books

I’m on vacation, so it seems only fitting to talk about my new vacation photo books. This has been one of my summer projects, and one that I loved crossing off my list. Besides, when I return from vacation, I’ll have another one to create!

I used to scrapbook. It started when I babysat for Salome, who was a Creative Memories consultant. She would pay me in papers, stickers and other supplies. I have a couple of complete scrapbooks and a box full of supplies. The box is sitting in my closet, as it has been for some time. I still scrapbook, but now I do it all online with Shutterfly.

For our wedding, I wanted a nice album of some of the wonderful pictures my friend, Shannon, took for us. I had previously created some 8×11 school books, so I did the same size for our wedding. It turned out beautifully, and I love to sit down and flip through the pages to recall memories of our special day.

A couple of months ago, I realized that while I take a lot of pictures on my camera, I have not been printing many of them to put in albums. I have several albums with printed 4×6 photos. They are nothing fancy, but simply have the photos slid in to pockets. I was happy with that because what good are pictures if not to look through them? And then I had an idea. I would make a mini (8×8) photo book of every vacation that we take.

To be technically correct and before I go any further, please note that I am a Shutterfly affiliate, so I receive a small portion of sales when you purchase Shutterfly photo books through my links. That said, I really do love Shutterfly, and was creating photo books with them long before I was an affiliate. Now, back to my vacation photo books.

Frugal Approach to Shutterfly

My reasons for doing so were simple.

First, I would have a specific book to remember each of our many travels. This way, I can accomplish a book as soon as one trip is done.

Second, it is bound and professionally finished and looks very nice.

Third, I can add captions, stickers and various layouts, just like paper scrapbooking.

Fourth, if anything ever happens to my photo books, I can simply reorder a new one online.

Fifth, my photos are printed out and displayed nicely for Andy and me to enjoy.

I decided to use Shutterfly as my company of choice. There are many companies you could use, but I like Shutterfly because their software is easy to use, and the finished products always look incredible. They have countless different layouts and even lots of digital stickers and sayings to apply to the pages. Besides, it is easy to find coupons for free Shutterfly 8×8 photo books. That was one of the main reasons I chose this size. Plus, I thought the 8×8 square size makes a nice coffee table book.

Each of the 8×8 photo books includes 10 pages – which they say is 20, when you count back to back. You can add additional pages, but 20 is what the book comes with for the original price. I sat down and started creating. Over Christmas, I created our first books on NYC and Seattle. Once those came in the mail, I was officially hooked.

NY Photo Book

At the beginning of the summer, I created another two books about our time in the Smokies as well as my Okinawa trip. They all look beautiful! Next up, I plan to create books on our Washington DC trip as well as our Honeymoon.

Now, I know that you are thinking this might not seem like the most frugal option, but I beg to differ. Thus far, for the four photo books I have created, would you like to know how much I have spent on them? $1.99. Yes, you read that correctly. I spent $1.99 to buy 4 photo books – when the actual price was $119.96. How did I create such beautiful Shutterfly books so frugally? It’s actually very simple.

I created the books and watched for Shutterfly sales. I created my first two books and got them for free by using points from my My Coke Rewards program. All those boxes and lids with codes really do add up! Then, I created my third book for free by using a catalina that printed when I purchased some Johnson Baby products at Kroger. When I got to the fourth book, I realized that I didn’t have any more free codes, so I got creative. I went to Ebay and did a quick search for Shutterfly. I was thrilled to see many 8×8 coupon codes available for sale. I quickly bought another Johnson Catalina on Ebay for $1.99. The gentleman emailed me the code and within a matter of hours, I was checking out. I will definitely be searching Ebay in the future when I need a Shutterfly coupon code!

Now, I did have to pay shipping and handling, which adds up to about $7 a book. However, I had Scrip Shutterfly gift cards from my Mom which covered all those costs for me. Even if I did have to pay the shipping and handling myself, I would still do it because the finished product is worth it.

Smokies Photo Book

I am so pleased to have figured out a solution for all our vacation photo books. It is simple, frugal and beautiful – all of which make me very happy. How do you display your vacation photos?

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  1. I made Shutterfly books a couple years ago from our Smokies vacation too! I’ve been wanting to do books for our other vacations too, but haven’t had time yet. Hopefully someday it will happen 🙂

    1. Finding the time is always a challenge, but it makes me so happy to have the book done, that I’m trying to move these books to the top of my on-going to-do lists. Someday, Lisa, indeed. Someday! 🙂

  2. I love Shutterfly! Regarding the coupons, do you know if they’re only valid for new accounts? A friend of mine prepared an album but when she tried to redeem the coupon it wouldn’t work because she was an existing customer. I’m not sure if it was a Catalina coupon though. Great idea regarding preparing the album ahead of time so when you get a coupon it’s ready to go.

    1. Good question, Angela. Catalina coupons will work for everyone, regardless of new or existing. The coupons that I get through My Coke Rewards are also good for existing customers. I try to read the fine print, but you are right that sometimes it is hard to tell if a coupon code will work. If my books are ready ahead of time, it’s not (too) big of a loss if a free coupon code doesn’t work for me. I’ll just wait for the next

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