We have all been there: went to a craft store and spent more than we had anticipated. Or, we find something in our craft room that we bought last year that had not been used. Sometimes I feel guilty for spending money on something that I had not used or I am frustrated for being so disorganized that I misplaced an item in my craft room. Today’s blog will cover the first topic- smart spending and saving ideas for crafters. Many of these money ideas can apply to other money spending/saving areas of our lives, too. As an important note- the Smart Cookies provided some of the ideas below or were the seed for some of the ideas. A good resource…you must look them up…well, after you finish the list below, of course! I will add (SC) behind a statement if it came from them.
Before you read on, just remember that being smart with your money is not the same as being cheap. (SC) Think about that statement for a moment. Now let’s get some smart money ideas going.
- Make a wish list of items you would like with their respective prices. Keep that list with you. This list will be handy since it will be your list of goal items to save for . It is a good list to carry with you. Next time you consider buying a craft item, look at your list. Would you rather buy the item or items in your basket or save for an item on your wish list? (SC)
- Before heading to a craft store, make a list of what items you are picking up/looking for. Determine your spending limit ahead of time. If you can bring that amount in cash, do so. Paying with credit can sometimes make it too easy to overspend.
- Look for coupons for the store you are heading to or for product you are considering purchasing. Using coupons can save significant money.
- Remember: just because you have a coupon or just because an item is on sale does not mean you need to buy it. Look back at your list in item 1, if that is helpful.
- Start a money jar or envelope to save for shopping. Saving your money will ensure that you will not be in debt (as in using a credit card instead of cash) and the cash will make you more mindful of each item you purchase.
- Before you approach the cash register: go through your basket at least once. Look at each item. Do you see yourself using it within the next month, two months, six months? If not, you may want to reconsider that item.
- Try to avoid paying full price at the chain stores such as Michael's, Hobby Lobby and Jo Ann Fabrics. They usually have coupons available. Some places have a very large mark up on product because they know that most consumers use coupons. Better yet, buy from a local craft store- their prices can be significantly lower than places such as Michael's.
- Look for local "what's old is new again" sales. The sales may occur at local craft stores, churches, rentable activity rooms, etc. The sale items are from local craft stores or fellow crafters. You can find wonderful gently used (and new!) crafting supplies and the prices are usually very good. (I keep a crafting money jar all year to save for a local used craft sale every January. It is a fun time and the product I pick up is amazing!)
- Check Kijiji or Craiglist for crafting product.
- Borrow stamps, dies, etc from fellow crafting friends.
- Consider online buying from sites such as ebay or Amazon. Combining your order with friends can also reduce shipping charges.
- Go to second hand stores for product.
- Post holiday sales can be a source of product to use on future projects. For example, post Christmas sales usually means inexpensive red, white and gold ribbon or paper for Valentine's Day.
- Try to avoid buying ribbon on small spools. Local sewing stores sell beautiful ribbon at better prices. I have saved quite a bit buying at sewing stores...especially when they have their ribbon on sale.
- Think about alternative materials. For example, I used red velvet paper (kinda pricey!) for poinsettias on my Christmas cards. The cards looked lovely but I could not help but wonder if there was a better source for velvet. After Christmas, wide rolls of velvet ribbon was on sale at a local sewing store. I bought a 42 meter roll of velvet ribbon for the price of two sheets of velvet paper! I can emboss it and cut it with no problem. Score!
- Go through your current crafting supplies. Are you not using an item and you do not think you will any time soon? Gather up those unwanted items and post it on Kijiji or Craigslist. Or, place those items in a "what's old is new again sale".
- Don't be afraid to used that "pretty paper" or ribbon. I finally broke myself of that habit. I had an 8x8 pad of Graphic 45 Birdsong hanging in my craft room that I refused to use. The paper was so pretty that I was apprehensive to cut it. I finally tore sheets out of that pad two weeks ago and have used it on a new project. I am so glad I did! The paper looks so nice on my newly recovered trinket box.
- Use your paper wisely. Do you stack die cut paper on your cards or paper projects (such as the bunny stamp on my post yesterday)? I may have stacked the stamped bunny on the brown My Mind's Eye paper, but not until after I cut out one of the hearts from the brown paper! No one will see the cut out heart and I saved some paper for a future project.
- A creative wedding card idea from a friend of mine: she cut out the couple's name and the wedding date from the wedding invite and then she used those cut outs on the wedding card. The card looked so pretty and the couple was happy with the creative and thoughtful wedding card. She is one smart and creative crafter!
I hope the above tips and ideas were helpful. We are human and sometimes get weak when we walk into our favorite crafty store...but we can be smart and save for bigger ticket items or future sales.
Be smart! Be crafty! Be happy!