A quick glance at the local craft store can be overwhelming to the new crafter. Some items look really inexpensive and make you think you can grab a whole bunch... until you go to pay. Other items look out of bounds from the get go - think electronic die cutting machine. So how do you begin to afford it all?
* My first important piece of advice is don't ever spend more than you can afford. Yes, I'm speaking from experience here. God expects His children to be wise stewards of His money. This is something that I have failed at and have to be conscious of when I am shopping. One hint is to be careful about impulse buying.
* New to crafting? Ask advice on where to get started. Think of it like your wardrobe. If you start with really good base items, you can add the accessories a bit at a time. Ask lots of questions from several people and write the answers down. Then come up with a plan that will work best for you based on your budget, your tastes, and the goals you have for your crafting. Keep a wish list handy. You never know when will come across a great deal. You need to know what you want as well as what you already have on hand. (Ending up with 2 identical stamp sets won't save you any money no matter how cheap they are!)
* Thinking of purchasing an expensive tool? Know the facts. Again ask lots of questions and be sure to know what you want. Your local scrapbooking store, your crafty friends, and online reviews can all help. Also watch people use that tool on YouTube and on blogs. For example, I put "Bind-It-All VS Cinch" in the YouTube search box when I was trying to decide which to purchase. This helped me make an informed decision.
* Does it have be new? Some items do, but others will be great refurbished or even used.
* Once you have decided what you want DON'T be in a hurry. That new toy on your wish list will likely go on sale. (Black Friday Sales often include incredible deals on Cricuts.)
* Will I get a better deal somewhere else? Many of my storage items were purchased from places like Ikea, Walmart and Garage sales instead of craft stores. Think outside of the box. Will that hat box at the thrift store for 50 cents hold ribbon. It just might (plus it will look really cool). Can you alter a scratch and dent item from the furniture store and save a bundle? Sometimes! I have even purchased great paper, ink pads, stamps, etc from Garage Sales for a fraction of their original price.
* Know your local stores. Do they have coupons? If so is the item you want excluded? For example, many coupons state that Cricut items are excluded from coupons. READ THE FINE PRINT! While Cricut may be excluded, Cuttlebug may not be. If you save money on the lower cost items, you may be able to save more quickly for those larger items. Also know the coupon policies of your store. One of my craft stores will allow you to use as many in-store coupons as you wish as long as they have a different number. Another only allows you to use one per day. DO NOT feel bad if you go to a store and only purchase something on sale or with a coupon.
* The internet is not just for those who don't have access to supplies. You can often find better deals online. Some stores even offer free shipping with a minimum purchase. If you are going to have to pay shipping, don't forget to figure that into the final cost.
* Sign up for newsletters, emails, and texts from your local craft stores as well as your favorite on-line sites. Use common sense or your inbox will be flooded with junk, but these will alert you to sales and coupons that are coming up. Many stores have apps for smartphones where you can download coupons straight to your phone. Perfect when you left that coupon sitting on your printer. If you are concerned about getting too much email in your inbox, you might consider setting up a separate email account just for your crafting stuff.
* Use your rewards! You know those Cricut points you get with each new cartridge. They add up! I believe I have earned 3 cartridges and only had to pay shipping and handling (which while high, was still much less than the price of the cartridge). What about credit card rewards? I wanted the "Forever Young" Cricut cartridge but couldn't find it at a price I was willing to pay. I found it on Amazon and used my rewards points, dropping my out of pocket expense from $33.78 to $10.45.
* Enter giveaways. Be careful here and know what you're signing up for. Do you want that person to have your home address? Do you want to get more e-mail? Set your limits here and follow them. NEVER put your personal safety at risk.
* What about Design Teams? Many design teams offer great incentives including free and/or discounted items for members. Again, read the fine print. You may need to sign a contract and agree not to use products from a competitor. Be honest with this. You are on a DT to help promote a product.
While there are likely other ideas I could share, this post is getting very long so I think I will wrap it up for now. Look for a future post on "How Do I Get Started Buying My Paper Crafting Supplies ?". To end this I wanted to give you some of my places to shop online. I have found great deals on each of these sites.
Watch here. You can buy new stuff on Ebay. Watch out for used items as well as Cricut Cartridges that have been linked to a Gypsy. If it sounds too good to be true, it very well may be too good. Read everything!
This is the site that prompted this post today. Right now they are offering some free Teresa Collins Christmas images. I plan to make some Christmas cards with some of these. I'm not sure how long this will last so I plan to cut a bunch out this weekend.
Have a great day!