1. Let’s face it: in these tight economic times, it’s can be hard to justify spending a lot of money on scrapbooking supplies that might end up collecting dust for the next couple of years.  For most of us, scrapbooking is an investment.  It’s not only an investment of time and effort, but a big chunk of change can be dropped with not a lot of product or tools to show for it.  Don’t let money be an obstacle to preserving your family’s precious memories.

    For free ideas, use your favorite search engine to look up scrapbooking how-to’s to find some scrapbooking forums with galleries to browse.  Scrapbookers are notoriously friendly and love to share ideas.  If you enjoy chatting on message boards, join one on a scrapbooking web site.  There are tons of free tutorials on the web, so try making your own embellishments, sewing on your pages for a big impact with a little cost, or even whipping up some faux chipboard accents.

    A lot of scrapbooking stores and websites offer kit clubs where a kit gets automatically shipped to your home each month.  Getting involved in a kit club can be a good idea if you know you’ll use the products and you are getting a “deal” by buying in bulk, but think twice and do your research.  Sometimes the shipping costs more than the discount you received in the first place. 

    You can find some amazing deals when shopping online, and usually don’t have to pay shipping or tax if you are ordering from a retail site.  Go in on supplies with a friend to get a bulk discount if you can.  Shopping online for scrapbooking supplies can be a little bit tricky.  Make sure you read the description of the product to find out the size of the paper or product.  I once ordered a scalloped chipboard page, thinking it was a full 12×12 size, and was not pleasantly surprised when it came and was three inches square.  Live and learn!  Colors can also be deceiving when looking on your computer screen, so matching papers or embellishments can get interesting.

    Scrapbooking supplies can also be found at online auction sites like e-bay, and Indie arts and crafts sites like etsy.com.   Buy from reputable sellers, and again, be certain of what you’re buying before purchasing it.

    Talk to other scrapbookers to find out what their go-to, favorite tools and supplies are.  What can’t they live without?  If it is a high-ticket item, put off purchasing it until you are sure scrapbooking is a hobby you will continue in the long-term.  Before buying a high-dollar tool, visit your local scrapbooking store to see if you can try it out.  Many have tools available for use at crops or for demonstrations.

    If you have friends who have also caught the scrapbooking bug, hold a supply swap.  This can be done as it’s own individual event, or as a “swap and crop”.  Everyone brings a stash of supplies, tools, or ideas books they no longer want or need and swap them out for someone else’s treasures.  You can come up with your own parameters, such as swapping like-for-like, a (paper for paper) or by putting a dollar value on each item, then handing out “money” or tokens to purchase them.

    Along the same line of a swap is a scrapbooking garage sale.  At your next crop night, host a sale with your gently used or new supplies.  Set up tables and give each person their own section for the sale, or put like items together.  Have each seller mark their items with prices and their initials or name, and the host will keep track of the items sold.  At the end of the evening, everyone settles up with the individual sellers.  

    Last, but not least, enjoy your scrapbooking journey, and don’t stress it.  Err on the side of fewer supplies and quality over quantity.  Make a budget and stick to it.

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