7 Thank You Card Hacks I Learned From My Mom and Grandma

I’m a Gen X-er who learned to write thank-you notes from my mom and grandma.

Some of these tips will save you time, and others will save you money. 

1. Reuse Note Cards

I learned this first hack from my grandma. Having lived through the Great Depression, being frugal was important to her. 

When you receive a folded note card or a greeting card, sometimes one side will be blank inside.

Cut the card in half along the fold. Then you can write your thank-you note on the blank side. And the last step is to place it in an envelope to mail it.  

Thank You Note Writing Hack From Grandma
Photo Credit: Heidi Bender | Tons Of Thanks.

And that’s how you can write a handwritten note without buying notecards!

When you buy a large box of envelopes, the cost of each envelope can be as low as 5 cents. 

To take this hack to the next level, you can use a letter opener to cleanly remove the back of an opened envelope. As long as it’s clean (no dirty marks or smudges from going through the mail), you’ll have a piece of paper the size of a notecard, which you could also use for your thank you message. 

2. Boxed Cards vs. Individual Greeting Cards

You can save money when you purchase a boxed set of cards instead of one thank-you greeting card with a pre-printed message. 

A box of thank-you cards with a simple design can cost less than 50 cents for each card. At the same time, the cost of a greeting card style thank-you note card can cost $5 or more. 

Writing your personalized thank-you message on a blank card will save you money. Also, buying boxed cards will reduce the decision fatigue of picking out a greeting card each time you need a thank you card. 

Bonus Tip: When a retail store closes, you can often get boxed thank-you cards at a discounted price. I was able to snag several boxes when my local Kmart closed up for 50% off. 

3. Keep Your Thank You Message Simple

Every thank-you note that you write doesn’t need to gush with emotions. 

You can save time and express gratitude with a simple, specific message in many situations.

My dad is a pro at writing two-sentence thank-you notes for gifts. So first, you’ll want to say thank you and mention the gift (or other reason for the thank you). And then you can include a compliment. 

Handwritten Thank You Note Card Example
Photo Credit: Heidi Bender | Tons Of Thanks.

For example, he wrote a thank-you note to my husband and me for his 80th birthday gifts. We gave him a gift card to Bob Evans and 80 peppermint patties. 

Dear Heidi + Ted,

Thank you for the gift card to Bob Evans. The 80 mint patties – one of my favorites – was thoughtful. 



While short, his note includes all the parts of a good thank you note

You’ll want to skip this hack when you need to carefully choose your wording or want to write a longer message. 

4. Ask For Stamps as Gifts

If your family regularly exchanges gifts for birthdays or Christmas, put stamps on your wish list. You’ll save the costs of the stamps and the time spent purchasing them when they are given to you as a gift. Also, you won’t need to travel to the Post Office or buy them elsewhere.  

For avid notecard writers like my mom, the practical gift of stamps is always appreciated. When my grandma was older, she didn’t want anything, but she enjoyed writing notes, so stamps were a great gift for her. She wrote letters and thank-you notes until she was 100 years old. 

And remember, it’s not good workplace etiquette to ask your boss or coworkers for their home addresses. So, leave a thank-you note for a coworker or boss on their desk or hand it to them. Send them a thank-you email if you work in a different physical location. 

Related: Avoid These 5 Mistakes When Thanking Your Boss

5. Think Outside the Notecard

You can use other paper for handwritten notes, such as cute note pads and sticky notes. 

I placed a sticky note on the mailbox to thank the mail carrier. Another time, a coworker left me a thank you message on my desk on an index card. 

The sticky notes were easy to use because I already had them, and the index cards were available at the office. They were convenient and made it easy to say thank you quickly. 

A cute inexpensive notepad could also be used. The handwritten note can be placed into a cheap envelope, as explained in hack #1 above. 

I have plenty of notepads that I’ve received as gifts or souvenirs. You can also use blank printer paper or lined paper from a notebook. 

Expressing your appreciation doesn’t require fancy stationery or notecards.

Notepads for Writing Thank You Messages
Photo Credit: Heidi Bender | Tons Of Thanks.

6. Be Prepared at the Workplace and Home

Keeping a box of professional-looking notecards at your desk or work area will make writing a handwritten thank-you note to your boss or coworkers. Also, your birthday is the same day every year, so have notecards ready before you receive birthday gifts. 

You’ll save time by writing a thank-you note as the need arises. You may spend less time writing the thank-you note than time spent remembering to write the thank-you note later when you don’t have note cards on hand. 

Your coworkers may also be impressed to receive a handwritten card instead of a thank-you email.  

At home, you can also have note cards on hand. I learned this tip from my mom. She has plenty of note card choices whenever she is ready to write a note. 

7. Maintain an Address Book

Writing a handwritten thank-you note is easier if you already have addresses. 

When I got married (over 20 years ago), my mom gave me an address book with the addresses of family members and friends. This was an awesome gift as it helped me with writing thank you notes for our wedding gifts. And I’ve been able to maintain it over the years. 

If a physical address book isn’t for you, you can collect address online with sites like Postable. 

8. Print Your Own Thank You Cards

This is a bonus tip, as my mom doesn’t print PDF cards, and my grandma never owned a printer or computer. 

You can find many free printable PDF thank-you cards online.

While printing cards will not save you time, they will save you money if you already have a printer, printer paper, scissors, and envelopes.

You can also save the cost of cards by writing a thank-you email or text message instead of a handwritten thank-you note. However, handwritten thank-you notes may feel more meaningful to the recipients.

Author: Heidi Bender

Title: Writer

Expertise: Thank You Notes


Heidi Bender is a writer and author who founded Tons of Thanks. She aims to help people write thank-you notes by providing examples and tips. She is the author of She is the author of A Modern Guide to Writing Thank-You Notes.