I love scrapbooking, but I've always been on a really tight budget. I know plenty of people who spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on their supplies. That just isn't going to happen, so I've found ways to cut costs and even in the depths of poverty (aka grad school), I can still make cute pages. Here are some ideas to help you save money:
*Sales. Never buy anything full price, especially at stores like Michael's, Roberts or Hobby Lobby. They have great sales often and the 40% off coupons are really handy. Even smaller specialty shops will sometimes have racks of clearance items.
*Take advantage of local resources. I live near a paper/stationary factory. I can purchase cards, envelopes, cardstock, ribbon scraps, and many other interesting items for something like $1 per pound. Just can't beat that price. Also, a craft store near my Mom's house has a huge bin of assorted buttons. Whenever I visit, I fill a little baggie for $1. One scrapbook store charges $3/hour to use their studio, which has thousands of stamps, punches, and even a Cricut. My local dollar stores also have great deals every once in a while. So check out your area! Think outside the box and don't shop exclusively from the scrapbook section of your craft store. Another thing that helps is to shop often...good deals go fast and you never know when you'll find the jackpot.
*Bye Bye Prima. Buy a bush of silk flowers from WalMart for $1 and just rip the blooms apart yourself. WAY CHEAPER!
*Keep an idea notebook in your purse. You never know when inspiration will strike and if you have a notebook with you, you can jot down ideas as they come. My notebook has ideas for specific techniques, color combinations, sketches, things my DD says, embellishments, themes, quotes, snapshots/photography...anything and everything!
*Make it yourself. Most stores have an entire wall of little 3-D embellishments that can cost up to $4 a piece. Sorry, that's just too much in my opinion. If I see something I like, I pull out my notebook and sketch it out. Then I make my own version at home using scraps for next to nothing. Another advantage of this is that I can make it the exact color and size I want. I also make my own scallop edged paper. I bought jumbo scallop scissors for $1 and cut the edges myself instead of spending $0.80-1.00 per sheet of pre-cut cardstock at the store.
*Save Scraps. And keep them organized so you can actually use them. I have made entire pages and countless cards by just shopping in my scrap stash. To keep my scraps organized and easy to use, I have a rubbermaid hanging file box. Each file holds scraps of one color. If I need just a bit of pink on a page, all I have to do is open up the pink file and I can usually find what I need.
*Stay Organized. If you know what you have in stock, you won't overbuy or overlook things you already own. I feel hypocritical even saying this because my scrapbooking desk is always an explosion. But it does make a difference when I can see everything and get to it easily.
*Coordinate. No matter how cute it is, if you don't have other items that coordinate, it's going to be hard to use. So think about that when buying paper and other supplies!
*Paper Stacks. Now this is a tricky one. Per sheet, paper stacks are much cheaper than buying individual sheets. However, it may not be the best deal if you don't think you will USE all the paper. Most stacks have 3 or 4 sheets of identical paper. The best solution I've found is to split a paper stack with a friend (or two). Then you each get 1 or 2 sheets per pattern for a really great price.
*Speaking of Friends... share supplies, especially reusable ones. I used to get together every week with two girls who had more stamping stuff than they knew what to do with. I shared my stuff with them and they shared theirs with me and we all had access to more supplies without having to buy anything! We would also let each other go through our scrap piles...one girl's trash is another's treasure.
* Simplify. The focus of the page should be the picture anyway, right? So add fewer embellishments. It will save you time and money!
I'd love to hear tips from all you frugal scrapbookers out there, so please leave me a comment and share the things you've done to save money and still make fabulous scrapbooks.