How To Scrapbook On A Budget - Memory Keeping Ideas

How To Scrapbook On A Budget

Scrapbooking can be an expensive hobby. With all the wonderful scrapbooking supplies out there, from colorful patterned paper to sparkly embellishment, it can be difficult to stay on budget! In this article, I want to give you some tips on how to reduce your scrapbook spending to show that scrapbooking can both be a wonderful creative hobby and also cost-effective.

Tips on how to scrapbook on a budget:
Plan your project and make a list of supplies needed.
Never pay retail prices for your scrapbooking supplies.
Don’t throw away your paper scraps.
Recycle and reuse non-scrapbooking supplies.

Let’s take a closer look at these (and some additional!) tips:

Plan Your Project

If you go to the scrapbook or hobby store “unprepared” there is a big chance you will be severely tempted by all the wonderful scrapbooking supplies available and spend much more money than you had planned for. It is a lot easier to stay within budget if you make a list of needed scrapbooking supplies before you even set foot in the store!

So, how do you determine what you need? Well, you plan your project! This works especially well for specific album or minibooks, for instance, a vacation album or something like December Daily. There are different ways to plan your project and make a list of needed supplies, but let me give you some additional ideas for how to go about it.

Make a list of specific scrapbook pages you want to create.
This is easy if you are planning to make a specific album. If you’re not, make a list for as many pages as you can come up with. Write these down, for instance: birthdays, sporting events, baking cookies with the kids, going to the zoo, first haircut, family dinner etc.

Print out the pictures you will need for those pages.
Or have them printed at your favorite (online) print shop. Especially if you “outsource” this step you can save a lot of money on shipping. You’ll end up with a wonderful stack of photos that you will actually scrapbook!

Make a list of the scrapbooking items you’ll need:
how many sheets of cardstock and patterned paper? Approximately how many embellishment. And don’t forget about the adhesives, inks, page protectors etc. Knowing what you need beforehand will enable you to buy your scrapbooking supplies in bulk. For instance, something like plain colored (or white) cardstock is a supply you will need for every page and buying basic colors in bulk will save you a lot of money. Page protectors and glue are also items easily bought in bulk. Consider buying in bulk together with your scrapbooking friends and splitting the cost.

Organize your supplies.
This way you know what you have and you can get to it easily when needed. When you’re organized you have clarity about which supplies you need to refill or not. This will prevent accidentally buying unnecessary duplicates.

Bonus Tip:
Plan your bigger purchases in advance, like a 12×12 inch printer or that Cricut paper trimmer you’ve had your eye on. Make a plan in your scrapbooking budget for buying these pricier supplies. Can you afford to make a larger purchase once a year? Twice? Determine which items you actually want or need and plan to purchase them within budget.

Never pay retail prices for your scrapbooking supplies

Buy your supplies on sale.
Craft stores often have weekly sales on different scrapbooking supplies. For example, Hobby Lobby rotates sales each week and will give 50% off certain items, like paper or stickers. Planning ahead and knowing what scrapbooking needs you will have in the future will help you save money. If, for instance, it is spring and there is a sale on winter or Christmas items, buy them for the following season. Also, make sure to check out the clearance racks of stores you wouldn’t necessarily expect to have scrapbooking supplies. You might be surprised!

Shop right before or after holidays.
Stores usually start displaying their holiday merchandise a couple of months in advance. Practice some patience and wait until the holiday gets closer. Right before the holidays all those scrapbooking goodies may get marked down to 20-60% off!
Similarly, shopping right áfter the holidays may save you some cash. Shops will mark down the items they need to shift in order to make room for new inventory. You can score some huge bargains this way.

Shop online for great deals.
Most of the brick and mortar store also have an online presence, as do all of the scrapbook designers and e-commerce stores specialized in scrapbooking supplies. A lot of them offer special discounts to first-time newsletter subscribers, so be on the lookout for those. Online shopping also makes it easy to compare prices for a certain product in different stores. Desperately need that awesome new tool? Make sure to shop around online for the best deal!

Use coupons.
Cut out those discount coupons from your local paper (or download them online!) and save yourself some money! Subscribe to newsletters of crafting stores. Joann, for instance, frequently offers special discount codes to their new subscribers. Save your coupons for your larger purchases and special scrapbooking equipment.

Check out Facebook Groups for scrapbooking deals.
Facebook will have a group for just about any topic. Why not look around there and see if you can join some (local) scrapbooking groups? Local scrapbooking groups are particularly helpful in finding great deals on tools or basic supplies as their members can put them up for sale. And don’t be afraid to ask your group for something specific you are looking for!

Check out your local dollar store.
Dollar stores quite often sell scrapbooking materials for a severely reduced price. This usually is excess stock from the larger retails stores. What a great way to save money and still be able to buy that particular brand you love! Dollar stores also sell their own brands of scrapbooking goodies, like paper, albums, stickers and other embellishments. It is always worth your time to see if they sell something you like.

Check out local thrift stores and garage sales.
There are all sorts of reasons people want to get rid of their scrapbooking supplies. Maybe they need the space to purchase new stuff or maybe they just don’t have the time to scrapbook anymore. This means there are great deals to be found at yard sales, rummage sales, garage sales and thrift stores. If any of these rummage sales are advertised, you may want to check to see if a particular sale includes some hobby materials. If so, be there on the morning of the first day. Hobby- and scrapbooking supplies tend to go fast, so get there in time!

Bonus tip:
Check Craigslist for your local area. Try searching for “scrapbook” or “stamps” etc. You never know what you might find! Keep checking, because these hobby-related items can go fast!

More budget-shopping ideas

Buy as you go.
If  you are not the type that plans out their pages in advance, purchase your scrapbooking supplies as you go along. Don’t just buy a lot of supplies in the hope you can use them at some point, but just buy those things you actually need right now.

Organize a scrapbooking swap.
Go through your supplies and take out those items you know you will never use. Organize a swap party with your scrapbooking friends and swap your extra never-to-be-used supplies for some fresh items. You can plan a swap party every month or whatever schedule fits. Swapping supplies with friends is a cheap and fun alternative to purchasing new supplies. Apart from swapping, you could get some friends together and organize a scrapbooking session so that you can pool your supplies together and share them. This way everybody gets to use that expensive equipment or share in the latest kit releases. Also, don’t be shy to ask your friends and family for their unused sewing or crafting supplies. They just may need a good excuse to get rid of them!

Switch to digital scrapbooking.
If you already have a computer or laptop, switching from the more traditional paper scrapbooking to digital scrapbooking can save you a lot of money in the long run. There are many websites available that will enable you to digitally scrapbook for free (try Googling “digital scrapbooking online for free”). This way only printing out your layouts separately or in a photobook will cut into your budget.

Invest in Quality Equipment.
Especially when shopping for more expensive tools, keep quality and versatility in mind. Quality tools are perhaps a little pricier, but they will last for years and years. Look for trimmers and cutters that allow for replacing only the blade and not the entire item. Even better is to get your loved ones to buy them for you! Ask for specific tools for your birthday, Christmas etc.

Use free scrapbooking supplies

Don’t throw away your scraps.
Save your small paper scraps, leftover stickers, pieces of ribbon or other embellishments for later use. You can use small paper scraps to punch out small items, use them as die-cuts, or to mat or frame photos. When using a whole sheet of paper to create a mat or border for your photos, cut out the center part and save that with your scraps. Use the back side of patterned paper scraps if you need white cardstock. Save your scraps in a box or organize them in Ziploc bags. Give them to your kids to make cards or other crafty projects.

Recycle non-scrapbooking materials.
Keep your eyes open for everything you can possibly use on your scrapbook pages. Recycle materials that can be found around the house or obtained for free from friends and family. Let’s take a look at some examples:

Recycle used gift wrapping or gift bags.
Gift wrapping or gift bags can make an excellent background for scrapbook pages. Cut out the pieces you can reuse (no rips or tape etc). Small pieces, like the little cut-outs that hang on the handles of the gift bag can be used as a tag or other embellishment on your scrapbook page.

Recycle used greeting cards.
Pictures, phrases or drawings of old birthday or holiday cards can be recycled as cute little embellishments.

Recycle expired calendars.
Reuse those beautiful photos or inspiring quotes!

Recycle buttons, ribbons and fabric.
Take the buttons of that old dress shirt you were planning on throwing away. Use the ribbons of old dolls dresses. Use pieces of that cute, but old, cotton blouse to make your own flowers, for making clusters or as a unique background to your photos.

Recycle brochures, flyers, old magazines, old envelopes etc.


  • Revamp those old chipboard letters with some paint, pattern paper or aluminum foil.
  • Base your scrapbook page design around ephemera and photos.
    Doodle some extra embellishing touches on your pages.
  • Use free paint chip samples to punch out colorful pieces.
  • Outline your journaling space with a cookie cutter and write within its margins.
  • Use an old book as your scrapbook album.
  • Make your own stamps by printing out your favorite font or images and cutting them out of some foam board.
  • Take photos of interesting signs and cut out the letters to use as a unique alpha.
  • Use your scanner to scan clothing or other items and create unique patterned paper.
  • Go online to find free fonts, free templates etc. There is so much free digital stuff available! Print them out and use them on your pages.

Once you start looking for cheap or free scrapbooking supply opportunities, you will see them literally everywhere!

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