Thursday, January 17, 2013

Scrap on a budget

While I always considered myself rather careful about how much I spend on scrapbooking, I must admit that my financial situation so far allowed me to indulge in shopping without too much remorse. Not that I would spend hundreds of euros every month, but when I found a stamp I liked or some new pretty paper, I would not think twice and buy it. This year, I am making a very strong commitment to a personal goal that has been on the back burner for too long, as I am working toward getting certified as a STOTT Pilates instructor. In order to do so, I plan to reduce my working hours for a couple of months to 4 days a week instead of 5 days a week. This means more time to study, learn and teach, but it also means less money on my paycheck. So for the coming months, I will earn just enough to make the ends meet. With a house and two kids to provide for, it is quite a scary, but this is a choice I am now ready to make because I know I will regret letting this opportunity pass by. 

So in 2013 I will have to scrap on a very strict budget for the very first time in years. I searched the web for tips and tricks and found some great advice. After careful reading and some brainstorming, here are the 5 strategies I would like to stick to for the coming year:

  1. Define a budget: this one seems obvious I know, but so far, although I would have a rough idea how much I would be willing to spend on an on-line order, I would not often delete an item from my cart if I was a couple of euros above my so called budget. In addition, I never fixed a set amount to spend on scrapbooking each month simply because I was not buying a lot and I did not consider it necessary. Now, I have to decide on a fixed monthly budget (including photo printing) and stick to it. If I want something expensive, well, just like we teach the kids, I will have to save several months’ worth of budget before buying it (next year Project Life kit will be a big challenge!). Considering that I order for about 10 euros in printing each month (and I will not print less), I am now considering a total budget of 25 euros per month. 
  2. Use what you have first: my current goal is to avoid buying new products as long as possible. In other words, no new stamps, or paper if I have something similar in my stack (how many orange pattern paper does one girl need?). On the other hand, I cannot scrap without stamping. So I know that whenever I will run out of black ink or embossing ink, I will resupply without question. 
  3. Sort your supply & see what you use or not: this is somehow related to the previous point. Once I know all that I have and use most, I know what NOT to buy! For example, I recently bought some washi tape but I never use it, so I guess I should not buy more… I am reluctant to do that because I know I will come across items I once bought and will never use. I hate to think of “throwing them away”, because I paid for it… But I came up with a plan: I will put all these supplies in the kids’ supplies box. They will be very happy to have some pretty paper or stickers. This way, I am getting it out of my system without throwing it away, plus I have happy kids! 
  4. Journal more, embellish less: oh yes, I am drooling over all those cute embellishments I see on the pretty pages in the 2 peas gallery or on designers’ blog… All these lovely fabric flowers, 3-D butterflies,  trendy tapes and … But truth to be told, twenty years from now, I do not hope to hear Nathan and Cécile saying “What a great rub-on you have added there maman!”, I would rather like to hear “thanks for writing this story down, I completely forgot about it!”. So it might be a bit less satisfactory for my artist’s ego, but tenfold better when I think about why I scrapbook. 
  5. Explore smaller format: I will not stop 12x12 pages altogether, but I can try to tell some of my stories on A4 paper. It would save money for various reasons: I can save more scrap, I could print on my full LO with my printer, I can store it in regular binders…

I will for sure report on this endeavor in a couple of month! Look out for updates on this topic.

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