Memory-Keeping on a Budget: My 5 Best Tips (By Luthando)

There are two things we all need to bear in mind when it comes to our personal memory-keeping – time and money.

It’s important to keep the time commitment in mind but it’s also important to keep the budgeting part in mind so that you don’t get derailed and become demotivated.

Here are my 5 tips for realistic memory-keeping on a budget.

1. Consider all your options before you start

We waste a lot of money (and time) when we don’t properly think through things. Some things you might want to consider are…

– what is your style?

– what is your budget? (your actual budget, not your idealistic budget) We all know this kind-of thing is a luxury so give yourself the permission to acknowledge that.

– what do you NOT want to do?

I love the look of photobooks and so I bought some vouchers from 3 separate companies about 3 years ago. Well, I can now tell you I will never make a photobook again. I will happily pay for someone else with a clean, visual style to do it for me but for me to personally do it, no thanks. You see, the book cost about R200 on sale but I spent about 3 torturous hours putting each one together. Not worth it for me. I would rather pay more and have someone else do it.

The next set was easier but still the time investment was a killer, and the third time (I don’t learn very quickly, do I?), when the system kept bombing me out, I asked for a refund and finally remembered why I do not do photobooks.

2. What is your minimum level for memory satisfaction?

There are many free apps available and some very cost-effective ones too.

· Is it snapping a photo with your phone?

· Is it Instagramming it?

· Is it putting a folder on Facebook?

I did a Project 365 last year. Most of my photos were also instagrammed but a lot weren’t. I didn’t want to Instagram hard days at work but they’re part of my story so those photos are saved to my Project 365 app, for my eyes only.

3. Do you want to print anything?

After the photobook disasters, I decided that I’m just fine with photo albums. I love my photo albums. I have a big one for each of my two children from 1 up to 5 years old. I print just 4 photos a month for each child. I love having that creative boundary because it’s just supposed to be a snapshot in time of what that child was like at that point in his/ her life.

4. Choose your method of storage carefully

I have the same type of photo albums (200-page) so they stack nicely on a shelf. These albums suit my style of photography because I mostly take landscape-layout pics.

Some people do a monthly or weekly Project Life album. I do a monthly Project Life because I don’t like the idea of having weekly pressure.

5. When you’re choosing how you want to store your photos, consider current and future costs.

When I ordered mini albums, I ordered 3 so that I was sorted for 3 years. That might not work for you if you like everything new. It doesn’t bother me to not have the most current everything so I’m good.

I love the idea of Project Life but not the shipping costs to South Africa. And so, my best budget memory-keeping advice…

If you do Project Life, buy only what you need from the digital kits.

I paid about R1100 for my first kit – just the kit, not the albums – with shipping costs. That’s crazy and hurts my head every time I think about it too long.

Next time around I ordered digital project life files from the site. I mixed it up so I got the Honey and Sunshine kits because they made me happy, printed off the PDFs and now I’m set. The only nuisance was cutting them out because I don’t have a paper trimmer. I only paid about R100 for the files and printing on cardstock. That was a huge saving of R1000.

In my opinion, even if you do a weekly Project Life layout, you will still never finish the entire box in a year. Yes, you could use the cards for list-making (I do this too) but why waste money to start off with?


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