Scrapbooking on a Shoestring: The Tale of a Girl on a Tight Budget

9:26 PM

Scrapbooking is an expensive hobby, y'all! Well, it doesn't have to be, but it's hard not to spend any money when they are always coming out with new and pretty stuff! What's a girl on a budget to do?

I LOVE to shop!
A little background: We are currently a one income household. I quit my dream job at a scrapbooking company last September (for reasons which I won't go into publicly, but if you'd like to know, feel free to email me or something), and shortly after came the hives. We weren't sure if my health was stable enough for me to work until the Summer. After a few months of unsuccessful job searching, I (with the support of Michael) decided to audit a class at my alma mater during the fall semester, and therefore put the job search on hold. Now that the holidays and my class are over, I'm back on the hunt. Meanwhile, Michael works so hard to provide for our little family and I am so grateful to him. We are working on paying off my student loans and then eventually saving for a house. We recently cracked down on the budget even more, and will be throwing every spare cent of money at those loans (i.e. no more scrappy purchases).

So what do I do in order to have scrappy goodies arrive on my front door step?

1. BUDGET. Michael and I budget every penny of his earnings. We work together on the budget. If I had a set amount for scrapping money, I would use it on stuff I didn't need. Instead I have UP TO a certain amount, and I let Michael know before I use it (for accountability purposes). So if I need adhesive or card stock it's covered, but otherwise I'm not spending money just because it's in the budget. Does that make sense?

2. Take advantage of sales and customer loyalty programs. I know that should be a given, but it's so true! I primarily only shop at A Cherry on Top and My Scraps and More. ACOT has 20% on a semi regular basis, as well as their cherry hunting loyalty program. I currently have $85 in cherries, which is $85 in ACOT money! MSAM often has AMAZING sales with deep discounts. There are other awesome places to shop for a great bargain (Paper Issues, All Scrapbook Steals), but I find that those two are where I primarily place orders. In the past I would set aside spending money and place orders occasionally, but now I will have to wait for birthday gift cards. Thank goodness my birthday is in April!

3. Plan my purchase carefully. I love shopping and am the queen of impulse buys. Since I have a limited amount of money to spend, I want to make sure I'm getting what I'm really going to use. I make a spread sheet (seriously) that keeps track of all the items I know I'd like to have. That way I can keep track of price, quantity, and other important info, while making sure I get what I intended to get. Here's a glimpse at this year's list:


I have two sheets, each with a different priority level. Priority two includes things that I'd love to get if there is extra money in the budget, but don't see as a MUST have. Another great thing about the spread sheet is that it makes me feel like I'm shopping, even though I'm just window shopping.

4. Purchase products that can go the extra mile. I am very choosy in the embellishments I purchase. Flair is a no go for me because it simply isn't cost effective. However, a package of wood veneers typically has enough in it for many layouts. The product I get the most mileage out of is patterned paper. I enjoy fussy cutting and making my own embellishments out of patterned paper.


The chevron-ish arrows, the white flowers with yellow centers, and title all came from two sheets of patterned paper. I use every scrap to make sure I'm getting the most bank for my buck! That being said, I'm careful which patterned paper I get. If I'm only going to use a few sheets and a little bit of it, I go for the 6"x6" pad and one or two 12"x12" papers (usually only backgrounds or sheets I intend to cut from).

5. Shop at discount stores. TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning, and Marshalls are the best! Who doesn't love $1.49 Thickers? I've decided to cut these out of my life for now, but they are such a great option for a fun bargain treasure hunt!

I found AC's DIY Shop at Marshall's before it was released! It was 50% simply because the packaging was different.

6. Don't be afraid to use older product. I know that some of us get caught up in the trendiness of scrapbooking. There is always something new and great, and our old stash often gets lost in translation. I also have noticed that layouts using older product doesn't usually get as much recognition from scrappy peers. So what? If you like it, use it! I always enjoy making a page with Sassafras (may it R.I.P.) or older My Mind's Eye products. The stuff I have was purchased because I liked it and wanted to use it. I might as well make something pretty! And besides, today's newer products will be tomorrow's older ones.

This layout was made entirely of "older" product, and I love it just as much as any other layout!

7. Design Teams. I have been lucky enough to be a few design teams this year that have provided me with many a box of the latest and greatest!

8. Enter giveaways. I follow the blogs, facebook pages, and instagram accounts of my favorite brands and designers and enter every giveaway they have! I have actually won a few prizes in the past year for doing this, including an entire collection that was on my "must have" list from Summer CHA!

9. Say thank you. My stash has grown substantially in size in part due to my scrappy friends. I have "met" many wonderful women in the scrap world this year who have blessed me with so many wonderful things. Their generosity blows my mind! I have to say that nothing cures a bad day like a package of goodies from a friend who was thinking of you! There is one special woman in particular that I have grown to be dear friends with. She has given me so much and I am constantly in awe of her kindness and thoughtfulness! I won't name her publicly, but I will say that she is the best BSF of all time and I am so grateful for her friendship.

10. Be okay. Having a budget means you have to say no sometimes. It means that something might be sold out by the time you get to it. But you know what? That's okay. Scrapbooking is meant to be fun and I choose to enjoy the wonderful things I have been blessed with. And let's be honest, I have plenty! I choose to be okay with what I have (well, most of the time. We all have bad days!) and to be happy for those who have what I can't.

I know this doesn't apply to everyone, but I thought I'd share anyways. Thanks for reading! I'd love to hear your thoughts and whether or not you have a budget!

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3 comments

  1. I love this post! I'm going to follow your post and actually make a spreadsheet of what I want to purchase. I'm on a budget as well because we are saving for a house. I think that in my spreadsheet I might organise by product type (i.e. patterned paper all grouped together), because then I can more easily see/estimate how many layouts I can make, and if I can cull any unnecessary embellishments (say, if I have already added some blue dots from another brand).

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  2. Thank you thank you ! So inspiring. We also have only one income because I want to stay with the kids when they are little. I love handmade embellishments, so that helps !
    About recognition with older products, it might be because when the products are no more available, people feel less inspired by the layout ?

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  3. Thank you for your tips, I have the same situation at home, the tools and items for scrapbook are really expensive and it is not easy with some many cool goodies launch so quickly. I try to buy a little every month. Have a good day.

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