Scrapbooking on the Cheap

by Jonni McCoy

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Scrapbooking on a Budget

Scrapbooking can be a wonderful way to preserve memories and pass on a legacy to our grown children. But it can also be expensive and addicting. I scrapbook now and again, but mainly to preserve a special trip or occasion. Nevertheless, I don't have much money to invest in this hobby. However there are always ways to save - even with this beast.

In general, I avoid the direct-marketing companies that require a distributor as well as specialty scrapbook stores. I have found most of my supplies at discount stores such as dollar stores, Target, Big Lots and Wal-Mart. These are great places to get paper, stickers, scissors, albums, templates and glues. Most hobby stores (i.e. Hobby Lobby, Michael's) have 50%-off sales on their paper, stickers and albums at least twice per year. This is a good time to stock up.

Some people (mainly the distributors) have commented on the quality of the supplies that I buy on the cheap. To their surprise, these locales all carry acid-free supplies. To date, I have found no benefit of shopping with high-priced distributors or scrapping stores, other than the variety and styles of products that they carry. They offer unique things that are nice to own, but if money is your main concern, you can usually do very well with less expensive sources. But if you love their stuff, try shopping on eBay or for them. I have seen their items for 40% off.

There are a few tips I've learned that have saved me some money.

  • First, for albums, I buy three-ring binders (at dollar stores or when on sale at office supply stores) and cover them with fabric.
  • Next, I keep those little scraps of paper. They save me from wrecking a full sheep of paper when I need to do a punch art style. They are also great for writing a diary entry on and placing under the photo.
  • Then, instead of using the adhesive tape or dots (which can add up!), I use acid-free glue sticks. I have found these for 50 cents.
  • Lastly, scrapping with friends saves. By sharing the scissors, templates, punches, and stamps, you can double or triple what you have at your disposal without spending the extra money to do so.

Scrapbooking doesn't have to be about expensive. Having fun and being frugal can go together. Happy scrapping!

Jonni (a.k.a. The Miserly Mom) is the author of several frugal books, including Miserly Moms: Living Well on Less in a Tough Economy, Frugal Families: Making the Most of Your Hard-Earned Money. You can reach her at

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