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Budget crafting: Utilizing local sales papers and coupons

Photo by CGritti (
Photo by CGritti (

It's very easy for a crafter to spend hundreds of dollars on supplies. If you are on a budget, going to your local craft store can be dangerous because the temptation of new products is overwhelming. Make the most of your craft shopping trips by utilizing local sales ads and coupons. These can save you a ton of money.

Here are a few tips when using sales ads:

1. Make a list of your craft projects and what you need to accomplish them. Many crafters fall into a trap of purchasing items and never using them. If we are honest, we have all committed that crafting sin at some point.  Having a list of projects and required supplies helps combat the seductive allure of putting everything you like in your shopping basket. You only put what you need in the basket.

2. Carefully consider every sale purchase.  If it isn't an item that you desperately need for a current project but you absolutely love it and it's a great price, give it a minute of thought. Assign that item a purpose. In other words, "I plan on using this to..." If you can't come up with something, then it is a guarantee that you do not need it.

3. Think ahead to things you might need and save for them. Don't immediately go out and purchase the item just because you really want it. Nine times out of 10 you can make do until you have the money and can get a good deal for it. When I purchased my Cricut machine, I waited until Hobby Lobby had them on sale. I ended up paying $199 for an item that, at the time, retailed for $299.

4. Read coupon policies carefully. Some items cannot be bought with a coupon. And, unlike grocery stores, most craft stores do not let you use a coupon on an item that is already on sale. So, be sure to read the fine print. Don't wait until you are at the register, or you might end up a little embarrassed and stuck paying more.

5. Sometimes you can get a better deal with a coupon than with a sale. A lot of times Michaels and Hobby Lobby will give you a 40% off any one item coupon. If it is an item that can be purchased with a coupon, and it is on sale for 30% off that week, wait until you can use your coupon. You'll save even more money.

6. Craft coupons usually do not last long. Many times they only last a week. Check the expiration date.

7. Just because you have a coupon, doesn't mean that you have to use it. While supporting local businesses is important, remember your budget. If you don't have the budget for it, you are only going to stress yourself out. Chances are the coupon will come around again or the item will go on sale again. In fact, major chain stores such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby tend to have sales "rotations," meaning that if an item is on sale one week it will probably be on sale next month.

8. Most stores have great sales around holidays. Let's face it. Holidays are a great time to sell stuff. A store that doesn't take advantage of special events throughout the year probably isn't going to last long. Check ads around the holidays to see what specials are going on. And, if you are looking to stock up on holiday craft supplies, wait until after the holiday for incredible savings on supplies that you can use next year.

9. Sign up to receive weekly ads in your inbox. If you don't subscribe to a newspaper, don't worry. Chain-stores such as Hobby Lobby and Michaels will send a weekly ad straight to your inbox. Below are links to help you find the ads and sign up. These ads are for the Hattiesburg stores.

10. If the local business doesn't have a website or print ads, ask about an e-mail newsletter to keep up to date with great deals. I love a local sewing shop, Kelley's Pins and Needles. But since it's a small, locally-owned store it can't have weekly glossy ads. That doesn't mean that Kelley doesn't have any sales, though. All you do is sign up in the store to receive updates in your email. Kelley sends out emails weekly about new fabric and supplies, discounted embroidery machines, classes, and more.

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