10 Money Saving Scrapbooking Tips

The simple truth: Scrapbooking costs money. Now those who scrapbook will unanimously argue that it's money well spent (and I would tend to agree), but as a hobby it can be expensive. With new products taking the industry by storm each year - and additions to product lines ongoing - it's easy to spend. Am I right? So today, let's talk about some money-saving tips for scrapbookers.

  1. Take advantage of in-store coupons when making big-ticket purchases. In my area Michael's (the craft giant) publishes a 40% off coupon in their store flyers about once a month (if not more) or in the local newspaper. Don't let these coupons go to waste. If you are considering making a big-ticket purchase and there is no coupon this week - consider waiting a week or two until you can get one before you buy. There is nothing more frustrating than spending money today and then finding out that you could have secured the item for less just days later. Stop and think....do you really need that item today?
  2. Rather than spending money on paper trimmers of all types and sizes - invest in one good 12" paper trimmer --- not a rotary blade trimmer, or a guillotine style trimmer, but a basic trimmer with a simple blade, like these ones by Fiskars. While the other styles do have their advantages in certain situations, the personal-style trimmers with a blade are portable (so you can work at home or take them to crop), are easy to store, are easy to use and allow you to cut 'frames' (that is cutting a piece out from the centre of a photo or paper) - something that is impossible to do with a rotary or guillotine style cutter. Also, since most scrapbooking papers and cardstock are sold in 12 x 12 size - purchasing a 12" trimmer makes sense no matter which size you scrap. You can always cut the paper down to size. One of the first trimmers I owned was a 5x7 guillotine style. I quickly realized that this wasn't a smart investment. I couldn't cut my paper, only my photos. Right away I was forced to spend more money to get a trimmer that was good for both. Although they are not terribly expensive, my suggestion is use that 40% off coupon I described for this purchase - particularly if there isn't something else that you could buy and save more.
  3. Stock up on 'consumable' supplies like adhesive when you can get them at a good price and/or consider purchasing in larger quantities so you can secure a better price yet. Both brick and mortar and online stores will often offer sales on these types of items. Their goal is of course to get you in the store so you will purchase other 'regular-priced' things, but try to avoid falling into this trap! Spend your money on the sale item and purchase more of it than you immediately need. That way, you won't need to buy adhesive at regular price when you run out.
  4. Purchase basic white cardstock from your local office supply store to use for basic matting and journalling. Be sure however to choose a brand that is acid and lignin free so that it is safe for your scrapbook.
  5. If you like tags and use them often on your pages, invest in a tag punch. Rather than purchasing pre-cut tags that can be costly, the tag punch will allow you to create tags using any colour of paper or cardstock that you might want to use.
  6. Save your scraps! I admit it....I save everything, no matter how small, but if this type of 'hoarding' isn't for you - try making a deal with yourself to save all scraps bigger than a certain size....say 3x3 or 4x4 for example. These small pieces can be used later to mat a photo, create a 'patchwork' style background, or to cut pieces from a paper-piecing pattern. Larger scraps can be used to create colour-blocked backgrounds, create title bars, or side-bars for your pages. Whatever size 'scraps' you decide to save...store them in such a way that they are easily accessible to you when you are creating - in a way that you will be encouraged to use them up.
  7. While all those cards of fibers and ribbons may be beautiful and difficult to pass up - consider purchasing these items (or substitutes) in bulk - balls of fibre, large skeins of ribbon - and then divy them up between yourself and a few friends. Host a ribbon or fibre swap - where everyone purchases a different style or colour and then they are divided up equally and everyone receives back an assortment from the group.
  8. While layouts showcasing only one or two photos on a page are beautiful and have their place in an album, remember that in this case less is more, and not in a good way. The fewer photos you place on one page, the more pages you will need. The more pages you need in your album, the more money your album will cost you in the long run.
  9. If you like using die-cut shapes and letters in your albums but can't afford to buy a full system and dies yourself, visit your local scrapbook store and see if they have a library-style lending system in place. Or maybe you'll find that they make die-cutting systems available to those people who attend an open crop time. Even if you have to pay for the crop space, you will likely have a chance to get plenty of cutting done during the allotted time. And,
  10. Look beyond those products marketed specifically to scrapbookers for creative storage solutions. At your local $1 Store, look for jar stacks that you can use for storing eyelets and brads, purchase glass jars with screw-top lids for storing scraps of ribbon and fibres, or purchase wire storage cubes at Wal-Mart and create your own 12x12 paper storage with 'zip' ties to hold the shelves in place.

So while each of these items could be a 'blog' all their own - I'll leave you ponder these for a while. Happy Scrapping!