By Christina VanGinkel
No matter what crafts or hobbies you enjoy participating, there is always one thing that can make it that much more enjoyable, and that is finding supplies for that craft or hobby at discount prices. There are a couple of ways to go about this, which I have learned through the years, through my many forays into different types of crafts.
Sign up for Catalogs
I know, you are saying you already get enough junk mail, but craft catalogs are a step above the average junk. Craft catalogs cannot only offer you a convenient way to compare prices; they can also make you aware of supplies related to your craft that you might not have even known existed.
Even large metropolitan areas may not have a store that caters to your current hobby or craft. Online, you will most likely find numerous stores that are oriented specifically to your hobby. Again, as with the catalogs, by being able to compare, you are ultimately going to find any deals that there might be floating around. When shopping online, be sure to do a search for coupons or discount codes in relation to any of the stores you are going to shop. Check fliers or ads that arrive in your regular mail and inbox for codes and coupons too. Joann.com for example, usually has a discount code on the front page of their website, but if you do a search through any of the major search engines, you can often find a bigger discount. Over the holidays, their daily code was for forty percent off the regular price of one item, or free shipping. A search through Google turned up several codes for fifty percent off the regular price of an item. If you shop online a lot, these fifty percent off codes could have potentially saved someone a good sum of money. If you are on the mailing list for their brick and mortar stores, those sale ads also often have a coupon that is good for a purchase online, in addition to their other coupons for in store use.
Shop in Bulk with a Group
If you belong to a group of crafters, such as a knitting club, inquire at the regular places you do shop to see if they would offer any type of discount pricing for bulk purchases. I know of several online jewelry making clubs whose members get together to order basic supplies, such as wire, in bulk. This nets them a deep discount in comparison to if they purchased the wire individually in smaller lots, even after the extra shipping charges incurred from having the order shipped out twice, first to the person that places the order, and then to each individual. I would not recommend ordering supplies in this manner though, unless you were very comfortable with the person placing the order. Check catalogs and online stores to see if they offer any sort of discounts for purchasing in quantity too. Fire Mountain Gems, for example, offers discounts in relation to how much of an item is purchased. The more you buy, the cheaper the core price is. Sometimes they even let you mix and match within a category to reach the lower pricing quantity. Buying in bulk also has the advantage of possibly reaching the high quotas often required to purchase at wholesale.
Be Creative with your Supplies
Never assume you have to use the supplies verbatim as listed in a material list for a project, unless there is a safety issue involved. Otherwise, be creative and consider using replacement products for the more expensive items in the list. A favorite replacement that has caught on in the scrapbook community is to use small lunch sack bags folded in half to make the pages of individual scrapbooks. The bags are simply bound with everything from a paper punch and ribbon, to plastic comb binders. Now how inexpensive is that for a craft!
Check Ebay for discount craft and hobby supplies too. If someone tried a craft and decided, it was not for them, in this day and age chances are good that they may clear out the supplies by offering them for sale at an auction type website such as Ebay. This is also a good way for you to sell your own unused craft items to turn over those wasted funds back into hard cash to buy supplies for whatever hobby or craft you are currently interested in.