With the cookie baking season upon us I broke out the cookie cutters for sugar cookies, however almost all of them are pretty deformed or broken (from moving houses). I haven't bought any cutters in a long time and didn't realize how expensive they've gotten. Are there any cheap ones out there that are worth buying or should I just wait until after Christmas, when they all go on sale? Or should i just use an empty tuna can and make a bunch of circles?
I think using an empty can is a brilliant, frugal idea...but if you want something a bit more exciting, chain stores like Bed Bath & Beyond sell decent tubs of cookie cutters. If you have one of those mailer coupons, you can get a ridiculous amount (like a pack of 100) for less than $20.
From a price for utility perspective, I prefer plastic cookie cutters. Metal ones rust and get bent out of shape so very easily. (If you can wait just over a week, Christmas themed cookie cutters should be should be pretty cheap.)
I got a set of Ateco cutters this year, and since my daughter, now 5, loves to bake with me they get a lot of use. The set I got nestles, it is a set of concentric circles, and stores back in the can. It was about $15 and my daughter loves the smaller ones, she uses them to make cookies for her animal friends and dolls.
You can get bags of cheap plastic cutters from toy shops, they are normally used for PlayDoh, but work fine for cookies too!
FWIW - I find using tuna cans easy - or just roll your (refrigerated) cookie dough into a log, and cut it in slices for consistent sizes.
Here is something I recently picked up from Amazon - custom cookie cutters - so for under $20 you can make custom shapes without having to buy several different sets to get the shapes you need!
I know it's been a while since this was posted but I thought I would add an answer relevant to 2015:
These days you can custom print your own cookie cutters using a 3D printer. While initially the cost is steep (like $1000 or so for a decent one) - You can make so many cool things with these things for pennies once you're up and running. But of course, we don't all bathe in riches. It's like a yacht, it's better to know someone with one than to own it yourself.
I recently bought a 3D printed birthday cookie cutter set from things4thinkers.com for $14.99 and made some awesome cookies for my daughters. Considering it was a custom order I feel $14.99 was cheap. Plus they have a bunch of other pre-made but uncommon cutters which range from like $5 to $15. I asked how much a custom cutter would be looking like a cartoon of my daughter and they said about $25. I think I'm going to do it.
So anyhow, a bag of basic shapes from Toys R Us is about $10 or so. For the common shapes, you'll always find deals in the big box stores and no custom solution will be able to beat their prices. But if you really want to surprise people, see if someone like things4thinkers can make something special for you. It's cheaper than I thought it would be.