Memories are something everyone has. Pictures are something almost everyone has. Preserving pictures and memories and personal or family stories is a sweet part of life because it creates connections, engenders a sense of belonging, raises self-esteem, increases resilience, and even lowers stress. If preserving pictures and memories is so good for the heart and soul, shouldn’t it be something everyone can do? Why would memory-keeping be limited by money? I believe memory-keeping should be affordable to everyone, so today let’s explore some ways to keep it that way.
Know What’s Most Expensive
Scrapbooking seems to be the go-to way of preserving photos and memories, but as we learned a couple of weeks ago, it’s actually the most expensive way to preserve your life’s stories. With many things in life, we must often choose between what requires more money and what requires more time. Clipping coupons, for example, takes time but saves money; not using coupons saves time but requires more money. Traditional (paper) scrapbooking actually takes the most time and the most money of all the memory-keeping options. That’s not necessarily bad! It just means that if you choose to scrapbook, you need to have both time and money. And that’s perfectly fine if you do –in fact, it’s a gift if you do– but know that there are other ways besides scrapbooking to preserve photos and memories.
Three Affordable Ways to Preserve Pictures and Memories
I’ve been a memory-keeper all my life and have been in the business of helping others with it for about 12 1/2 years now. I have seen a lot of things come and go. Improvements have been made in making sure the products we use are photo-safe and won’t eat away at the photos over time. If those things aren’t affordable, though, what’s the difference?
Over the years, I’ve been able to pick and choose what I personally like, use, and recommend. I like, use, and recommend these things for their quality, ease of use, and affordability. I’ll share them with you in my order of preference:
- Club HM
- Pocket Pages
- Photo Albums
Quality is important when it comes to preserving your photos and memories because you want them to last! A scrap page or photo book that falls apart after five years isn’t worth spending your time or money on in the first place, in my opinion. The thing is: if you’re not going to skimp on quality, how can you also keep memory-keeping affordable? If the product isn’t cheap-o, how can the price be?
As a Heritage Makers user for over 12 years, I’ve been more than happy with the quality and ease of use. Prices are competitive, but not free or dirt-cheap like you see with some online photobook companies. You get what you pay for, but we all need high quality and affordability in the same bundle. And that’s why Heritage Makers began offering Club HM about six years ago. I love it!
Despite the connotations of the word “club,” there isn’t a membership fee–Club HM is free to join. With Club HM, you deposit money in the form of publishing points into your Heritage Makers account each month. (It automatically renews, but you can skip months if you need to.) Those publishing points are valid for 2 years from the date of purchase, so you can accrue them. You are essentially paying for your items over time.
This makes high-quality memory-keeping affordable by breaking it down into “bite-size” payments. One of the best perks of being a Club HM member is getting a discount at check-out, so you’re always getting the best price.
Of course, there are host rewards and paychecks available through Heritage Makers, too, which I love because it pays for my memory-keeping!
I personally use digital scrap pages from Heritage Makers for my everyday memory-keeping. And then I order four copies! I get one for myself and my husband, then one for each of our three children. Although I could go on and on about how much time digital memory-keeping saves me, Club HM keeps it affordable by both giving me the best price and allowing me to pay for things over time without sacrificing quality. I create my scrap pages and then place an order every four months or so. During those four months, I’m building up publishing points so that I’m not paying for all those scrap pages in one big chunk. It’s the best.
For more information about Heritage Makers and Club HM, visit this link.
Although I made the switch from paper memory-keeping to digital memory-keeping years ago, I know there are some situations that call for preserving photos that are already printed– and some people just prefer it. I learned about Pocket Pages a few years ago, and it quickly became my go-to recommendation to people who have physical photos (printed) to preserve. It’s cost-effective (as I detailed two weeks ago here on Evolve), and it’s very simple and do-able.
When you look at the pockets, you’ll see that they are photo-sized, but don’t forget that you can’t just fill all the pockets with photos. You need to save one of those pockets for a piece of paper where you’ll write your memories and the details of the photos on the page.
Pocket Pages are made by several different companies. For more information about the Anthology Pocket Pages shown here (with the optional Pocket Kits), visit this link.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: preserving your photos and memories doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it shouldn’t be complicated! It should be do-able. Many craft stores and big box stores offer very simple photo albums for you to give your photos a home. I’m sure you could find even more online. Be sure you’re buying something high-quality, though, and be sure you remember to write down details and memories– your story.
Simple photo albums are often a very inexpensive way to preserve your pictures. The only cost is the album itself and the photos you’ve had printed. You can often find sales or specials from photo-processing companies, from Walmart to Costco and more. Snap2Finish is a brand new line of photo products, from simple books to photo gifts like puzzles and mugs.
I’ve used Snap2Finish to order some photos I wanted to frame. I was happy with both the quality and the quick service (without having to leave my house!).
For more information on Snap2Finish, visit this link.
I am surprised sometimes to hear people say that paying $2 per page in a Heritage Makers 12×12 digital book (for a total of around $50 for 25 pages) is “too expensive.” Aside from the fact that they don’t seem to be stopping to think about everything they’re getting for that $2 –from the library binding to an unlimited amount of photos and text on each page– I think people often forget what they regularly spend $50 on.
Every time a new Harry Potter book came out, I spent $30 on a hardbound book. Over time, I spent $210 on Harry Potter books! Why wouldn’t I spend the same amount of money on my own photos and memories, something that will be meaningful for generations?
What do you regularly spend $30 or $50 on? This is a beneficial thing to think about if you’re looking for ways to make memory-keeping an activity that fits in your budget. What could you cut out or cut down on? Movie tickets? A pedicure? Dinner out? What isn’t worth as much as your family’s story preserved is?
While it does cost some money to preserve your pictures and memories, it doesn’t have to be as much as you might think. Do some looking and find an affordable memory-keeping method that you will enjoy (so you will do it!), and don’t worry about how “cute” or “trendy” it is. Memory-keeping doesn’t have to look a certain way. It just has to be your memories and your photos, preserved in a way that can be enjoyed over and over again. The benefits from the connections that memory-keeping makes are priceless.