I love buying cards. There are so many pretty, unique, eye-catching cards out there. Some of them are little works of art, I actually have a folder of 'things to frame' for when we own a house and I'm allowed to put nails in the walls and a lot of them are cards I've been given over the years. But, unless you're giving a card to a person with similar pack-rat tendancies, you can pretty much guarantee it will sit on the mantlepiece for a couple of weeks, then be filed in a box (if you're the sentimental type...again, like me. I'm going to end up on one of those Channel 4 hoarding documentaries in the future), or (more likely), end up in the recycling bin.
Cards aren't cheap either, a good card could be anywhere between £2.50 and £5.00 easily and if you've got a couple to buy at the same time (bloody people having babies, I'm looking at you), you could end up spending more on cards than you did on the present.
The obvious, thrifty option? Make your cards! I buy a pack of 30 plain, cream cards with matching envelopes from an Ebay seller every 6 months or so for about £4, then make cards as and when I need them. So much thriftier than buying cards from the shop! I always aim to make a batch in advance, but what usually happens is I end up making them just as I need them, often in a bit of a rush. Hence the slightly amateur or overly simplified look of these cards! I tried one recently with sewing and it was 50% disaster, 50% success. That's a pass by vet school standards.
Still, they do the job. I always write a good long sentiment in a card, it's more about the words than the picture on the front, amirite? Or maybe that's what failed papercrafters tell themselves...