What they say is SO true: the days are long, but the years are short! So if you want to preserve those precious memories, here are the best photo books to try. We've got easy, cheap, and fun options coming your way, along with genius hacks.

mom and daughter looking at photo books, from Fun Cheap or Free

The other day on Instagram a follower left a comment asking what we do with all our photos – do we make photo books? Journal? Print them out and create photo albums? Just keep them on our phone or computer? This mama was feeling guilty about not doing anything with her pictures.

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Have you felt that way, too? We've got some hacks that might help! If you don't have hours to devote to scrapbooking or hundreds of dollars to shell out on pricey photo albums, then we've got tips and tricks you need to try ASAP. So, are you ready to check out the five best photo books? Here we go!


THESE PHOTO HACKS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE

Alright, before we spill the beans on some of the cheap photo books we love, here are some tips that will make creating those books a breeze:

  • Create a Private Instagram Account – Do you take hundreds of pictures every week? Yeah. Us too! If you're tired of spending hours scrolling through those pics when it's time to print them, then you'll love this hack! Create a private Instagram account and post your favorite pics to it. When the time comes to order prints or make a photo book, you'll have your best pics stored in one place. Easy peasy!
  • Set a Photo Cleanup Routine – We like to go through our photo roll at the end of every week and delete the photos that don't make our hearts go pitter-patter! Just set aside 10-15 minutes on Saturday and do a quick scroll. It will save you a ton of time in the long run and will free up storage space for more pics!
  • Use the Search Feature – Did you know you can use search filters on Apple or Google to sift through all those photos on your phone? Yup! You can search by location or other keywords like “dog,” “baby,” or “beach.” You can even add custom tags to your photos to make things way easier. Check out this photo tagging tutorial from The New York Times!

Now that you know how to keep those photos organized let's talk about printing them. Drumroll, please! Are you ready to check out the five best photo albums?


THE 5 BEST CHEAP PHOTO BOOKS

stack of family photo books on mantle, from Fun Cheap or Free

If online shopping is your jam, you'll love these cheap photo books. You can create them from the comfort of your home and get them shipped right to your door. Oh, snap! Here are five of the best photo books that are super cheap and easy.

SHUTTERFLY

Choose your size and pick a hardcover or softcover option. Not into arts and crafts? Shutterfly has designers who will lay out your book for you FOR FREE. Up for a fun project? Shutterfly has templates galore–from yearbooks to baby books, wedding books, and everything in between! You can integrate with your social media accounts for quick and easy uploads, too! Be sure to take a peek at their promotions page for tons of discounts and deals.


SNAPFISH

Select your size, pick a template, and then upload your photos online or via the free Snapfish app. From mini 5×7 books all the way up to hardcover 11×14 gallery-style albums, they've got an option for every budget or occasion. Snapfish sales are crazy good, so check out their deals page often!


ARTIFACTS UPRISING

These GORGEOUS books make the perfect gift! You can connect right to your Instagram account and print mini-books, or you can manually upload special occasion photos and make chapter-based hardbound scrapbooks. So if you've never heard of Artifacts Uprising, do yourself a favor and check it out! We're obsessed. P.S. Join their email list for an extra 10% off!


CHATBOOKS

Just download the free Chatbooks app on your phone, and it connects to your Instagram account. It's $8 for a 30-page 6Ă—6 color photo book (with free shipping) that automatically prints and ships to you as soon as you have enough photos. It notifies you when your book is full and gives you three days to edit it (change the cover photo, remove photos you don't want in the book, etc.). Then it ships it to you, and you get it within 3-5 business days. It's all automatic.


MIXBOOKS

From simple mini-book templates to lengthy year-on-review books, Mixbooks has tons of options! They even have photo books for business owners. Just upload, click, and drag to customize. First-time customers get 50% off their first order!

Prefer to get a photo book in-store instead of online? We've got a few bonus options to share!


THE BEST PHOTOBOOKS YOU CAN PICK UP IN-STORE

mom and daughter looking at photo book, from Fun Cheap or Free

Need a photo book like now? Here are some great photo books you can order online or in-store and pick up in as little as 24 hours (or less!):

  • Walgreens – You can use the Walgreens app or the in-store kiosk to make a photo book that starts at $6.99. And they're fast! They even offer free same day pick-up for four standard sizes.
  • Walmart – Time for a Walmart run? You can have a photo book printed while you shop. Walmart offers express photo books that are ready within one hour! Upload your photos and order online before heading out to grocery shop, or stop by the kiosk in the photo center to create your book. Hey, hey, last-minute gift idea!
  • CVS – Need to pick up a prescirption? You can pick up a photo book, too. CVS offers tons of photo book options, including same-day pickup hardcover books.
  • Costco – Is there anything you can't get from Costco?! Y'all know how we feel about shopping at Costco, but did you know about their photo books? Starting at just under $20, they have a ton of choices. They also offer home video services, so you can turn those old VHS tapes into digital files to save forever.

Do you know the other awesome thing about photo books? Kids absolutely love looking through them. If they are bored or you just need to get something done, pull down a stack of family photo albums, and they will be entertained for up to an hour (which is AMAZING in toddler time). Of course, it will be fun when they can read and can read about themselves throughout the years, too!


3 MORE GENIUS WAYS TO USE PHOTO BOOKS

Ready to think beyond the photos? Here are a few more fun ways to capture priceless memories in cheap photo books:

  • Create a Series for Artwork – Instead of saving stacks of your kids' schoolwork, snap a photo of the picture or project with your phone, and have a separate Instagram account for their schoolwork so it gets printed into Chatbooks as well! Clean, easy, organized, and a fun way to document your kids' progression in school throughout the years.
  • Make a Quote Book – Kids say the darndnest things, don't they?! Start keeping a note in your phone to jot down all those quotes. At the end of the year, print those quotes in a photo book. Ex: Riley at Age 5, Carter at Age 6, etc. You'll love taking a walk down memory lane together when they're older! Need help turning those quotes into graphics? Check out Canva.com! They have tons of free quote templates.
  • Create a Recipe Book – This might be the world's best holiday gift idea! Gather your favorite family recipes and create your own cookbooks. Snapfish has ready-to-use templates that make it SO easy. These make great gifts for new grads, too. Send them off to college with a custom collection of recipes that taste like home.

Whether you use these ideas for yourself or whip up some DIY gifts this Christmas, you'll be glad you did! Go ahead and be creative. You can make your own storybooks, devotionals, or journals, too. Take a peek at the templates available and have some fun.


SHARE YOUR BEST PHOTO BOOKS HACKS

Now that you know all of our favorite tips and tricks, we hope you have some fun creating custom photo books! We also want to know if you have any advice to share.

Do you have photo book hacks? Drop a comment below and let us know!

Image with text that reads "the top 5 best photo books", from Fun Cheap or Free

Looking for more genius parenting hacks or fun gift ideas? You'll love these posts.

Now go make some memories!