I have to admit I've put more money into mine than I originally thought. the fleece was cheap and the vinyl window I took from an old comforter bag. However, mine are taking 1 lb. of bean bag fill each at $3.99 per bag. Also, I have had a hard time finding cheap things to go inside that are actually small enough. I bought my items in the scrapbook section mostly. I got little plastic letters (each letter of the child's name). I also got various packages of scrapbook themed buttons. One was tiny dog paws and dog bones. One had tiny bugs (a bee, a ladybug, a dragon fly). Each package was $1.99 each. However, I tried to choose ones that either had a lot of the same thing in there so I could get a lot of bags out of it. OR ones that maybe only had two of each but had 4 or 5 usable items. For example, one package had two boats, two trucks, two cars, two fire trucks, and two bulldozers. So I bought two, which will give me lots of items for 4 bags. But I am running about $10 per bag since I am buying the super cute fancy things.
I think it would be a lot easier if I didn't feel each bag had to be the same. I want my daughter and her cousins to be able to compete with eachother to find objects, or my brother to be able to call out an item from the front seat and have both is kids look for it. SO, that limits me a lot.
Cheaper items I included are a google eye, pom pom, penny, and shells. I bought a huge bag of pretty shells for $3.00. I've been able to find similar shells so they can all still have the same items in their bags.
Also, a mama on here suggested putting in stickers and then affixing those stickers to a clue card (rather than take a digital picture). A cute idea and way cheaper than what I'm doing.
So I'm thinking there are definetly ways to do it cheaper. You could always even print icons and pictures online, run the page through a laminator and cut out each object and put it in. My daughter's best friend is a Disney freak, and I considered doing that. That would cost hardly anything.