Scrapbook Bargain-Hunting: Good Sense or Waste of Money?

by Lain Ehmann on September 4, 2010

roblisameehan/flickr

I am on several style-related e-mail lists (I know, you couldn’t tell based on my usual wardrobe of sweats and a t-shirt… I like to at least KNOW that I’m out of style!). One that came across my virtual desk was talking about shopping sales and how easy it is for women to buy the wrong things, overspend, or otherwise make fashion missteps when items are emblazoned with “40 percent off” stickers.

As I read through this newsletter, I realized how easy it is to fall into the same traps when shopping for scrapbooking goods. How often have I scooped up a stack of patterned paper that goes with nothing in my scrapbook “wardrobe” just because they were two-for-one? How many times have I plopped down my 40 percent off coupons to become the owner of idea books of which I’ll never crack the spine?

Even the freebies I (used to) get as a (former) member of the Simple editorial team didn’t temper my desire to “get a bargain.” After all, just think of all the money I was SAVING!

But “not spending” and “saving” are different things, as I am finally beginning to realize. That’s why I was so taken by the instructions provided in this article on fashion and shopping.

So in my infinite wisdom (!),  I thought I’d take these nuggets of information and advice from fashion expert Nancy Nix Rice and convert them for use by scrapbookers. So here are some ways you can make your scrapbook bargain-hunting productive and cost-conscious:

#1 –Inventory your stash. Notice items you use often. Do they need to be replaced or supplemented?   If you use your red pens all the time, for example, a red stamp pad could make additional layouts or projects with the same materials.  And consider stock-piling new red pens for when the current ones wear out.

#2 – List your NEEDS – in writing.  “Lists are empowering – not limiting,” writes Nancy. She suggests breaking lists into categories:

A – Basics that need replacing soon –  your favorite cardstock, adhesive, etc.

B –  Missing mixers – “Identify these by specific description or by end use,” writes Nancy. (“polka-dot patterned paper” OR “Disney accents for Orlando trip”).

C – Awkward occasions – What are the pages or pictures you have trouble scrapbooking? For instance, if you are a brights-lover, you may not have an appropriate selection of materials for a memorial page for your father-in-law. Or if you tend to scrap girls, you might have trouble creating a page for your new nephew with all the flowers and pastel pinks in your stash.

#3 – Shop UP a notch.  “Now’s the time to move up the quality ladder,” says Rice. For instance, if you’ve so far purchased all your supplies at Walmart or the craft store, you can hit the sales at a specialty scrapbooking store to upgrade some of your materials.

#4 – Be retail savvy.  Nancy’s recommendations work perfectly for scrapbookers. “Shop at off-peak hours like early AM or dinner time.  Check your mail/email for extra-discount coupons – why pay more than you have to? Take along items you need to match – it’s far less trouble that returning a poor choice later,” she recommends. >#5 –Be smart about what you like. If you tend towards earth tones, a collection of primary accents aren’t going to work on your pages. If you don’t use stamps, a set of Autumn Leaves alphas isn’t a deal. “A ‘bargain’ you can’t fit into [your album] is just wasted dollars,” writes Rice (with adjustments from me). “Just say NO.”

#5 – Do an at-home fashion show with your bargains.  With clothing, you’d try your new purchases on with old favorites from your closet. Do the same with your new scrapbooking supplies! Spread out your new goodies and mix and match with other stuff from your stash, your scrap pile, etc. You may find that your new purchases go great with some old favorites, making both more versatile and useful.

P.S. Learning more about your scrapbooking style can help you shop sales with confidence — you’ll know what you like and what you like but won’t use. Check out my month-long, self-paced eCourse, “Define Your Style from A to Z.” In daily emails, prompts, interviews, and more, I’ll lead you through the process of defining YOUR style (yes, you have one!).

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