Monday, April 4, 2011

How to save money on your crafts and other items

Within the past few years I've been over taken by the savings bug. I still spend way more than I should on crafts, but I do like to save money where I can. Here's what I've been doing...

1. Project stuffing.
Whenever I sew I save all the cut threads in a little ice cream  bucket. Whenever I need stuffing for a project, I empty out my threads bucket. Sometimes I manage to save a hand full of polyfil using this method. Polyfil is not cheap.

2. Fabric
I have found that Goodwill is a valuable resource when it comes to buying fabric. How so? you may ask...
I go to their sheets section and I scoop up flat sheets in prints that I like. Then I cut them up and make cute stuff out of them. I'm not talking about floral prints either. I've bought Buzz Lightyear, Mickey Mouse, Blues Clues, Sesame Street and other cute prints for only 2.99 a sheet or less! At a fabric store you can end up paying twice as much or more for the same print. I always wash the sheets before I use them for crafts. I make almost anything imaginable out of these prints. When I make someone's child a gift out of these materials I always get, "Where did you find that print?" I am honest about it. I'm not ashamed of my crafty cheapness.

 3. Yarn
Some crafters may be picky when it comes to yarns. I don't blame them. Softer yarns, while more expensive, are nice to the touch. I hesitated at first to make my son a sweater out of vintage yarn. Then I found that  a long sleeve t-shirt underneath the sweater solved the "itchy knit sweater" dilemma. I am now working on my third hooded sweater for him. The yarns came from my father's co-worker. He saw that my mother crochets and offered to bring in 2 huge boxes full of yarn from his mother's basement. To my surprise the boxes were full of skeins of matching yarns in different colors. Most were enough of the identical color to make baby blankets and sweaters. Whenever someone says they have yarn that they're just going to get rid of, I make sure I scoop it up and salvage it. If it has that "stored" smell to it, I wash the finished product and hang to dry.

4. Crafts in general
Where would I be without yard sales in the summer. My husband and I scour yard sales in the summer. Every weekend we plot out the addresses from the newspaper listings and we go "yard sale-ing." I stockpile the craft supplies I get over the summer. Then, during the winter months, I have plenty to work with. What I like to do is use my nicer fabrics for the part of a project that will actually be seen. The fabrics that aren't as aesthetically pleasing are used for the hidden parts of a project. For example: If I'm making a pillow form, I use the less appealing fabric on the form. Then I will make a removable cover out of a nicer fabric. Lately I've been using some vintage zippers that were handed down to me.

5. Other frugalities
 I have become obsessed with coupons lately. I'm not as good as some people who manage to get everything on their list for free. I just scoop up deals on products that I know I'm going to use. Then, I watch the local grocery store fliers so that I may save extra on things that are on sale. Basically I'll make sure something is on sale first, like hair products or things I don't buy store brand of, then I use my coupons. Most of the time I buy store brand stuff, because it is cheaper. We're lucky enough to have several grocery stores close enough, that we can shop around. One store may have better prices on produce whereas another store doubles coupons up to $0.99. So far I'm having fun with it.

6. Holiday and other nifties
 Call me weird, but my holiday shopping is year round as opposed to last minute. Last year I made a few candles out of recycled glass jars and some candle making supplies I had purchased on e-bay. Everyone liked it so much that I've decided to make them and store them for future use as gifts. I purchase my scents, wicks and dyes from e-bay. Then I get an 11 pound black of wax from the craft store. Of course I use the nifty coupons that are available on the store's website. Depending on how big your jars are you can get a pretty decent amount of candles. Other items that I've put aside for gift giving purposes are reed diffusers and air fresheners. I find the stuff on sale or use coupons. That way when the holidays come I can put together gift bags for my closest friends and family. I always make sure this is a limited number. When you don't keep that number in check, it can get out of hand. Another favorite is always a batch of holiday cookies. Make a few different varieties and put a few in a decorative bag. Last holiday season I was able to get super cute clear cellophane bags on sale. Since they were only 50 cents for a pack of 12-24, I bought every different print they had. These bags work great for baked treats as well as packaging gifts.

Do you have any tips you want to share? Post a comment. I'd love to read your ideas.

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