As you can tell from the pictures of my very messy craft area, I love to shop for craft supplies. I enjoy
browsing through the products available and thinking of all the great possibilities that could be made with the supplies. The only thing better than shopping for craft supplies, is finding them cheap. The Chicago area offers lots of great stores that are available nationwide, so even if you live on the other side of the country, most of these secrets should apply for you too!
Cheap Supply Secret #1: Know Where to Shop
When people think of craft supplies, they typically think of the axis of evil: Joann’s, Michaels and Hobby Lobby. While these stores do specialize in craft supplies they are almost never the cheapest place to shop, even with sales and coupons. Instead, check out a store in the bargain trinity: Marshall’s (and their sister-store TJ Maxx), Ross and Tuesday Morning. Of those three, Tuesday Morning typically has the biggest craft section.
Cheap Supply Secret #2: Know What a Deal Is and Isn’t
The biggest offender in this category is Hobby Lobby. I have a real love/hate relationship with Hobby Lobby because of their clearance section. To me, clearance is synonymous with a deal and items that are now marked below what they previously sold for. Hobby Lobby is clearance bizarro-land. More often than not, the items on the clearance rack will cost MORE than the items still out at regular price when you factor in the weekly sales. So, the next time you bargain hunt on the clearance rack look at the sales price and make sure it’s more than 40% off the regular price for name brand items and more than 50% off the regular price for the house brands. If it’s not, then it’s NOT a deal!
Cheap Supply Secret #3: Timing Is Everything
All of the big craft stores have weekly deals and coupons. Once again, Hobby Lobby is the biggest offender here. Hobby Lobby typically cycles between 40-50% off a specific category of products each week. They typically have a 50% Paper Studio blow out at least once every six weeks. So, that super cute paper stack you have in your hands for $19.99 today will be $9.98 sometime in the next month in a half, with no restrictions on how many you can buy, like with the 40% off coupon. If you don’t need it today, wait for the sales cycle to hit that item.
Cheap Supply Secret #4: Everyone Buys Too Many Supplies
Contrary to what I tell my husband, I often buy supplies I don’t really *need*. You would be hard pressed to find a crafty woman who doesn’t do this. So, what do people do with those supplies that were a killer deal and looked fun at the time but are now creating a fire hazard and collecting mythic amounts of dust? The answer is yard sales, exchanges, and consignment sales. Google words like “craft consignment sale city” or “scrapbook resale” on Facebook. There are numerous secondhand sales all over the country and Facebook groups that offer virtual yard sales. You will be surprised at how cheaply you can buy supplies and how often the supplies that are for sale are brand new.