For those of you who've caught the scrapbooking bug, you know that it can be addicting. Just like any addiction, it can also be expensive. Having been a scrapbooker for over ten years and a cheapskate even longer, I have found a few ways to keep you from spending every penny you own on your hobby.
It all starts with the photos.
Don't be afraid to use generic film. Most off-brand films are made by the same manufacturer as name-brand films but are packaged differently. For example, Kirkland film featured at off-price retailers such as Costco is made by AGFA (considered high-quality). Buying in multi-packs can also help you save. Check your local Costco, Sam's Club or Wal-Mart stores for the best pricing on film processing.
Go digital. If you end up tossing or not using a lot of film prints, consider going digital. Digital images can be deleted from your camera, allowing you to only print the best images. The price for processing digital prints keeps going down. Online processing places like Snapfish, Shutterfly, PhotoWorks, and Kodak Gallery also offer free prints to new customers. In most cases, it's less expensive to order online than print at home or order in-store. Winkflash even offers 5×7 prints for as low as $.29.
Use internet sites for ideas. Rather than buying magazines for ideas, check out all the valuable online resources. Keep a notebook beside your computer to jot down ideas for layouts. Here are some of the best sites I've found:
Take advantage of scrapbooking stores' facilities. Check to see if your favorite stores have cropping facilities. Many have crop nights or rooms in the back for you to work on your pages while you shop. You will waste less money on paper you don't use if you buy as you go along. Plus, you can match your photos to the supplies you are going to use in your layout.
Look for papers and embellishments in out-of-the-way places.
Who says you have to buy your supplies at specialty stores? Acid-free papers can be found at office supply stores for a fraction of the price. Low-price retailers like Wal-Mart and K-Mart can be great sources for stickers. Invest in a pen that tells you whether or not paper is acid free. Test gift wrap, magazines, greeting cards, and any other decorative paper to see if it is safe to use in your scrapbooking projects. If you're unsure whether or not the object is acid-free, don't place it next to a photo in your layout.