Shopping Advice for Scrapbooking

When I started out building my scrapbook stash two years ago, I never had a budget. I just bought the materials and things I felt I needed and bought other tools when I felt like it or because I found those tiny buttons or ribbons so cute and irresistible.

However, about six months ago, the euphoria of clicking the buy button on each of my favourite online stores died down (Husband in the background with incredulous look on his face: “Has it died down, hun?”). Why? Well, I made a mistake of totaling what I have spent for my scrapbook addiction since Day 1 and let me tell you, this exercise has jolted me into the harsh dawn of reality that I have spent so much!

Suffice it to say that what I have spent could have afforded me (and perhaps my husband) a round-trip ticket to either the US or Europe or that gorgeous LV bag. Waaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!! Sure the layouts I made were priceless and should never be equated with mundane matters such as dollars spent but if you could see the amount of tools and materials I have hoarded over the past couple of years that I have not even used or opened, you’d definitely say “Restrain yourself, woman!”

Armed with experience and input from well-meaning scrapping friends, here are 10 ways not to blow your household budget and earn the ire of your husband/partner or worse, living on bread and water for the next month, eeekkk!

1. Inventory – Do an inventory of what you have. You may still have enough papers and embellishment in your stash that would allow you to make your scrapbook layouts without the need for shopping for more.

2. Need – Buy what you need. Easier said than done but is indeed possible. Before clicking on that buy button or picking up that yummy-looking sticker, ask yourself “Is this a must have?”, “Do I need it NOW for the photos I have?”, “Is this item on special?” If the answer is no to all these then perhaps it’s best to leave the item for a later shopping spree. With the multitude of online stores available worldwide, I am sure something new will come up when you need these items so do not fret that “It’s the last one!” because it’s not.

3. Sell – If you have not touched or used a particular scrapbook item for more than 6 months to a year, best bet is that you will never use it. Sell or swap with your other scrapper friends who may have a need for it. Selling means more dosh to buy other items you want.

4. Look Out – Look out for sales, discount coupons, clearances and special promotions. Most online stores have “sales” going on for every special occasion imaginable especially in the US! Be vigilant of legal holidays in your country of residence and more often than not, the scrapbook stores would have 10-30% off on your entire order. Having a 20-30% off on your entire order or 50% off on the most expensive item in your cart or promotion of free shipping is a good deal. Take them up on it!

5. Compare – Compare online stores not only on price, shipping cost (most online stores in US offer flat-rate shipping within US regardless of weight) but also on the level of the online stores’ service to customers. You may have bought cheap but the headache of chasing your orders up, the number of unanswered (or other times ignored) emails or items you have paid for and expecting in the post did not arrive because the shop owner did not even bother to let you know that the items you ordered are back-ordered or out-of-stock, is not worth it! Been there, done that!

6. Subscribe! Subscribe! Subscribe! – If you like a particular online store, subscribe to its newsletter so you know when the special sales, clearances and promotions come up. When you find them irrelevant, these emails are just a delete button away.

7. Ask – Say what? When asked by your spouse/partner, your parents and other loved ones what you want for your wedding anniversary, your birthday, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, ask for that pricey scrapbook item you’ve been mooning over but don’t have the courage to buy yourself. If you’re not cheeky enough to ask, do some heavy hinting on what you want for [insert special occasion here] and hope like hell it works! For me, I have not hinted but boldly asked for shopping money from my husband, Simon for each special occasion so I could buy those scrapbook items I’ve been drooling over for weeks and weeks. If it’s a gift then it’s not your money ergo you don’t have to feel guilty because you’re not blowing your household budget. Take it from me, this works splendidly!

8. Go Naked – For most of us women, we feel naked if we do not have our purse or bag on us but try this — when going to a scrapbook store in the city, take out enough cash that you are willing to spend and leave your bag or purse behind. It will force you to shop smarter, i.e. buy what you need for the amount of money you have in your pocket. When I went to the Scrapbook Expo in Christchurch last month, I brought cash with and left my purse (where my evil credit card lives) behind and this exercise helped me “stick” with the budget. I even managed to have $15 left by the time we left the Expo. It felt so good knowing that you have spent within what you have allotted for yourself.

9. Payback – When your husband or partner is in the dog box and groveling for your forgiveness, he would normally give or buy you what you want just to get back into your good graces, take this opportunity to ask for some scrap shopping money. Bad eh??? Nope, I have not done this yet but now that I have thought about it, maybe, hmmmmmâÂ?¦âÂ?¦âÂ?¦haha

10. Forgive – If occasionally you do go over the budget or bought more than you should, do not be too hard on yourself. Learn to forgive. After all, you are recording your family’s unforgettable moments in the most creative way possible. A scrapbook about you or your family is the future generations’ window into the past. Rather than just browsing through photos stuck in an ordinary photo album, your scrapbook albums will tell the story of how you and your loved ones lived, thought, loved and celebrated life. This is your legacy. – This also comes as a very powerful justification when reprimanded by your spouse for over-spending.

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