This summer our family had three young boys in baseball. It goes without saying, we have had an extremely busy summer. We only had two days a week where we didn't have some type of kids sports commitment.
Along with this time commitment also came a huge financial commitment. For starters, we paid the entry fee for our kids to be in these sports leagues. Secondly, we spent a ton of money on gas by shipping them to and from practices and games. The final expense we were faced with was individual and team pictures.
Almost every kids sports rec league has the option of buying team pictures. Now-a-days, you have about 20 different “packages” to choose from. For example, our rec league picture packages offered the basic team picture, individual picture, picture on a coffee mug, picture on a mouse pad, and even a picture of your kid on his very own trading card. Can you see how easy it is for a lot of parents to drop a serious dime on memorabilia?
This year, my wife and I decided to buy my oldest son's team picture and individual picture. We spent $15 on the most basic package. Then our youngest two boys are on the same tee-ball team, and we had to decide: Are we going to spend double what we spent on our oldest? Even up until the last minute in the van, I had struggled with what to do, but my frugality got the best of me and we weren't willing to spend the money on 4 & 5 year old tee-ball pictures.
With no picture package in hand, I took the kids down to have their teams photos. As we sat around for all the kids to have their individual pictures taken, I soon felt like the odd man out. I felt like the poor family who wasn't buying their kids' pictures. I could tell on my kids demeanor that they felt left out and “different” too.
In order to help my kids feel like everyone else, here are a few tips I used to capture some memories and save us about 90% in costs.
- Took individual pictures with my camera phone – in an attempt to be quick thinking I told my boys to stand next to each other. I proceeded to take a bunch of pictures with my Moto X camera phone. In having 4 & 5 year olds I didn't get the best pictures, but a chance to capture some memories.
- Download the Walgreens App – with our ball field so close to a Walgreens I used the app to upload all my photos to a our local store. In addition, I had gathered live action photos from their previous games too, and uploaded those too. In this situation, you don't need to use the Walgreens App, you could use Snapfish, Walmart, CVS, or any number of online photo development apps. The point is use the App that is easy to use and will get you your pictures quickly.
- Stopped by Walgreens to pick up my photos – after the team pictures were done and my kids had played their game, I was able to quickly stop by and pick them up. I didn't have to wait a week or two to get them back. I saved about 90% in costs by developing them on my own. I spent a $1.47 on my youngest kids photos, whereas I spent $15 on my oldest.
With all this said, you don't always get the most professional looking photos with a camera phone, that you will get from a professional. Right out of the shoot, you've got to expect that you are trading quality photos for quick turn around and cheap value.
I'd like to hear from our readers on what techniques you use to save money on your kids photos OR why you always buy the package set.