My first step in saving money was to make the albums myself. I spent $20 on paper bags, which I bought on-line at PaperMart.com. I split the cost with a teacher, who was making them for her entire class. There is a place about 45 minutes from me that sells these bags to businesses, but it was not worth the gas it would have cost me to go pick them up. You can buy these books already assembled on e-bay, but they cost a lot more than I was willing to spend. One thing I must say, is that making them myself, they will not be covered with a protective archival coating. This helps to proctect the pictures over time. Since it is just a school project, I was not worried about adding that feature. You can buy the spray at craft stores and protect your books if you choose to.
I punched four holes along the side of the bag and assembled them with 3 bags, instead of 4 bags, which is what you would buy on e-bay. That saved me five pictures for each bag, plus all the cardstock, glue and embellishments you may use. Not to mention my time.
Then I used the $.49 satin ribbon from Wal-Mart to bind the books together. I used 4 spools of ribbon for 24 books. I used a large plastic needle to sew the ribbon. Made it very easy.
Wal-Mart for $9.99. I bought 2 packages.
The cheapest picture development I can find is Wal-Mart for $.15 each. The picture quality is just as good as Kodak and I can get them done while I shop.
One problem I have run into with these scrapbooks is getting my cardstock to stick to the bags. I have found the cheapest choice is Aleen's Tacky Glue. It is a little messy, as you have to spread the glue with your fingers, but it holds very well. We used a few kinds of scrapbooking glue last year and it peeled off right away.