I got into the scrapbooking hobby in 2000, shortly after moving to Monroe, Mich.

I scrapped by myself and then with a Toledo group. By late 2001, I had made a group of new friends in Monroe who also like to scrapbook! One of my friends is so talented that her artwork has been featured in national magazines.

Now, you can spend a lot of money on scrapbooking supplies. But these days, some of my scrapping buddies, and I, can’t afford to spend as much as we used to. What options do we have?

To update one of the first posts I made on this blog, here are some scrapbooking on a budget tips:

  • Solid colored paper is a better purchase than printed paper because one can mix solid colors as needed for a variety of topics. Think about it: you can layer red paper with green mats for Christmas, or red paper with gray paper for Ohio State Buckeyes football party (sorry, University of Michigan fans!). Pink paper can trim a little girl’s portrait or show off a Valentine heart collection. But paper that features a Christmas tree motif? When else can you use that paper except with a Christmas photo?
  • Buy paper in bulk packs rather than paper by the sheet, especially for solid colors. Jo-Ann Fabric is a great place to find bulk paper packs in both prints and solid colors. The designs rotate in and out quickly, with sale prices at the end of their seasons, so it’s easy to collect a huge stack of paper while spending very little money.
  • Punches and stencils and rubber stamps and inks that are useful for many projects are better purchases than sticker sheets that are quickly used up. I rebelled against rubber stamping at first; but I realized some specialty topics and themes cannot be found in sticker or paper format. I now have four shoeboxes of stamps, with those selections focusing on hard-to-find or speciality designs such as Asian motifs.
  • Save the expensive “keepsake” albums for keepsake occasions and put your everyday photos in office-supply binders with sheet protectors. Think about it – only a few albums are worthy of display on your coffee table. As long as the rest of your photos are in archival pages, it doesn’t matter how “pretty” those albums are. I do get the binders where I can insert a top page so to dress them up a bit.
  • Check out the dollar stores and thrift stores – you may find brand-new stickers, books and other items at really steep discounts! And pay attention to the clearance bins and shelves at your favorite stores. You should see the rubber stamps that some out-of-town teachers happily picked out of a clearance bin at Crafts 2000 in Monroe this week.
  • I’ve purchased pieces that someone just got tired of on the second-hand market. I bought a few Stampin’ Up! brand rubber stamps last month at a neighbor’s garage sale. And I got started on my permanent marker collection with buying someone else’s pens when she was changing over to another brand of marker.
  • I rarely let a craft coupon expire. If I have nothing better to spend a coupon on, I’ve been known to buy a roll of tape. Scrappers always need tape. Scrappers can also use those coupons on bulk paper packs. My best coupon deal was 40 percent off my scrapbook supply tote-on-wheels.
  • If you buy binders, sheet protectors, ink, photo paper or card stock at Staples, make sure you sign up for their customer rewards program.
  • Get as much mileage as possible with your scrapbooking supplies. I handcraft almost every greeting card that is sent from our family – a box of plain cards can be purchased very cheaply (with a craft store coupon, of course). Then dress up those cards with paper scraps left over from bigger paper art projects and / or your rubber stamp collection.
  • Independent scrapbook stores come and go, just like any business. If you hear of one closing, go see what deals you can find. I bought a bunch of paper at one such sale.

You might also want to read a post Ann Hartter at Saving Advice made on June 8 called “Putting the Scrap Back into Scrapbooking.”

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