When I first got into crafting, I thought it would be a great way to save money. Instead of dropping loads of cash at the mall, I could make my own clothing! Instead of buying cards from Hallmark, I’d make my own! Instead of paying someone to arrange flowers for my wedding centerpieces, I’d make my own tissue paper flowers! After I got done buying fabric, patterns, a Cricut machine, and all the tissue paper in the Chicagoland area, I realized I wasn’t saving money at all. I do have quite the extensive supply of craft supplies though, and I can tell you where the nearest Michael’s, JoAnn, or Hobby Lobby is at any given time. Here are some money-saving tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way.
1. Don’t you dare go to a craft store without a coupon! You can look in your local paper for sale flyer coupons, scour couponing sites like The Frugal Girls, or check out the craft stores’ own websites for coupons. There is pretty much always a 40 percent off coupon available for any of the major craft store chains. Even if you’re only buying a small item, you could potentially save a few bucks this way, every single time you go!
2. Save your scraps. You can make a lot of things from paper scraps, yarn scraps, fabric scraps, even wood scraps! Save everything, just in case! I also find that saving scraps inspires me to create things that I wouldn’t have thought of if I had all the paper in the world.
3. Buy supplies from unexpected places. I’ve bought tons of craft supplies from thrift stores and garage sales! Just a few weeks ago I hit the jackpot at a St. Vincent de Paul and left with a huge haul of embroidery hoops, wooden plaques, and unused foam balls. People tend to think of these places as only selling used items, but there are a great deal of unused (albeit ancient) craft supplies at pretty much every thrift store I’ve been to. Vintage notions, sewing patterns, and buttons are especially plentiful.
4. You don’t always have to use “the real thing.” Can’t afford a circle punch? Trace the bottom of a cup and get used to cutting around the lines. Can’t fathom spending $8 a yard? Cut up old T-shirts or pick up used sheets at a thrift store (or from grandma’s linen closet) to use as fabric. Don’t rule out good ol’ construction paper when it comes to scrapbooking and cardmaking.
5. Some of the most fun craft media are not even traditionally sold as craft supplies. Tissue paper, coffee filters, recycled magazines and paper bags, water bottles, and other trash make great craft supplies, and they’re all already in your home. Bonus: if you craft with trash, you’re preventing something from ending up in a landfill. Jars are very popular these days, and you can make so much with them. And never underestimate the power of a 99 cent roll of crepe paper!
6. Make sure you have a mental inventory of your craft closet/room when you go to the craft store. There’s nothing worse than buying a stack of rainbow paper only to arrive home and find a similar stack unopened on your shelf. I always thought this rule was a little silly, but I just accidentally bought my second black cardigan, so now I believe everyone who swears by this! You’ll save money and avoid the dreaded buyer’s remorse if you make sure to never accidentally purchase duplicate craft supplies.
7. Share with a friend! What sounds better than gathering up your craft supplies and setting up shop at a friend’s house, where there’s double the materials? Scrapbookers have scrap nights, sewers have sewing circles, and quilters have quilting bees. Grab a few friends and a bottle of wine and host an informal craft night so you can share the wealth. That way you can use something your friend has (say, that circle punch you couldn’t afford) and she can use all the extra rainbow paper you accidentally bought.
What are your favorite ways to save money on craft supplies? I’m very interested to learn new tricks to add to my arsenal!
Read this article and more thrifty tips on FaveCrafts.com.