Let's get one thing straight, crafting can be expensive. Whether it's knitting, crocheting, sewing, jewelry making , scrapbooking, or whatever you like to do it can get pretty pricey. I'm not going to lie, as someone who works at a craft store the amount of sticker shock I see is phenomenal.
I don't want to turn anyone away, crafting is a very fun and fulfilling hobby. Where else can you find items that are just you, they fit you perfectly, fit your lifestyle, and your personality but sometimes we run into the one major problem how to afford it when you don't have much money. Here are some tips to help bring those costs down.
- Buy only what you need when you need
- Buy used when you can
- Buy when on sale or use a coupon
These are my biggest tips, every other tip will probably lead back to these three tips let me talk a little bit about how they pertain to the tools part of crafting.
Tools, they are the most important part of crafting. They are what you use to craft, your sewing machine, your needle nose pliers and wire cutters, your crochet hooks, your knitting needs, your hammer and nails, etc. Without the tools you may not be able to craft.
I, especially, bring up tools for beginners because when you first start a craft you may not have the tools needed. When you walk into a craft store and look in the tools section of the jewelry department you may get a little overwhelmed by the amount of tools available, from crimping tools, flat nose pliers, round nose pliers, wire cutters and flush cutters, and that’s just the beginning of available tools. Same thing goes for knitting, different types of needles, sizes, brands, and specialty needles. Have you ever been down the sewing notions isle at any craft store? It can be overwhelming.
Now we come to the first tip, buy only what you need when you need it. When you first get started you most likely aren’t going to need every single knitting needle or crochet hook available, or every single jewelry tool that’s on the wall. In fact you probably don’t even need half.
Just to get started you need:
- Knitting - A set of needles and some yarn.
- Loom Knitting - A loom and some yarn.
- Crochet - A hook and some yarn.
- Sewing - A needle, thread, and fabric.
- Scrapbooking - Paper, Scissors, and Glue.
- Jewelry Beadworking - bead string and beads.
- Jewelry Wire working - wire cutters, flat nose pliers, round nose pliers, and wire.
That’s all, I know this list is very minimalistic but it is a start. Before you get started on actually making projects you have to learn the basics. To learn the basics you really don’t need a lot of stuff. Then after you learn the basic you start on simple projects, this is “the when you need it” happens, if you buy the extra tools as you find you need them for specific projects. You may find 20 projects down the road and you still haven’t found a need for some of the “beginner” tools that are advertised.
Now if you do find that you need every tool available, this step doesn’t really save you money more than it spaces out the cost so you don’t have such a large investment up front.
Which brings up my second tip, buy used when you can. Shop yard sales, search craigslist, scour ebay, and even facebook for used tools. Especially for some high dollar items like a sewing machine, desk, or many organization tools. Personal story: I managed to get a huge set of different knitting needles for $2 because a lady’s mother had passed away and no one else in the family knitted. Same thing happened to me with some sewing supplies, I got three huge boxes full of thread, notions, and other tools, that I didn’t have at the time, for $1.
If you have friends that craft see if you can borrow their tools to learn off of to see if you like the craft before you make the investment. Don’t be afraid to look around and ask around you may be surprised what you find.
Now buying used is not always possible, and some items are better bought new which is where shopping sales and coupons comes into play.
When buying new tools always shop around, sometimes you may be able to get something cheaper at a different store. Now cheaper doesn’t always mean better quality but if you have to, cheap will get you where you need to go.
Now I am not a fan of buying craft supplies from Wal-mart, they are cheaper than cheap and it shows, but I also have other options in my area. If you have a Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Jo Anns, Ac Moore, or Hancocks in your area go ahead and join their coupon program. Jo anns is closest to me so I do most of my craft shopping there, I know Jo Anns will send you coupons by Mail, E-mail, and text, you can also download their app that will send coupons straight to your phone, and their website always has coupons. Other stores have their own coupon program so don’t be afraid to use them. I bought all my jewelry tools from Jo Anns, I made sure to buy them on sale, they were actually cheaper on sale at Jo Anns than at wal-mart and better quality.
You may live in an area where you don’t have many specific craft stores, my simple answer, shop online. Amazon, Ebay, and all websites of the aforementioned stores will deliver straight to your house. Shipping may be expensive but most websites have a free shipping price threshold, like $35 for amazon, Jo anns has a $50 threshold for free shipping, $60 for Hancock. Don’t forget the online only deals that all these websites have, and the fact that any coupon you can use in store can also be used online, unless the coupon actually says “in store only”. Don’t be afraid to look to the Web.
Crafting is not cheap but there are ways to make it less expensive.
Read Part 2 Here