Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Great advice on controlling stamp/scrap spending

Okay, so a few days ago I posted on several of the Yahoo! groups I'm in and asked people for advice on controlling what is fast becoming my OUT-of-control stamp spending. I got so many great replies that I summarized and compiled them all into a document, with categories for each "type" of advice.

Several people, though, have been unable to get the document from the groups, so I'm just going to put the whole thing here in this post. Feel free to copy and paste it into your Word program for future benefit! It's a bit lengthy, so hang in there ...

Save by USING your stamp sets:

· Don’t buy a stamp set unless you can envision yourself using it at least X times. Some people said a number (like 10), others said don’t buy a stamp or stamp set unless you know you’ll use it at least 1 time for every dollar you spend on the stamp/set. I.e., if the set costs $25 (rounding up from $24.95), then you need to know that you will use the set at least 25 times.

· Take care not to buy sets that are very close in style/subject to what you already have (i.e., almost the same thing). Keep a “catalog” of all your stamps so that you’ll know what you have. When the temptation strikes to buy something new, check your notebook first to see if you already have something similar, and don’t buy the new set/stamp. Having a variety of useful stamps is better than having too many of the same subject/type. Get rid of some of the ones that you have too many of!

· Make your own patterned paper, embellishments, etc. by using what you already own. Plain paper and stamps for PP, silk flowers from an old arrangement for flowers, etc.

· Make a deal with yourself to rotate through your stamp stash every so often. Use every set you have – use one a couple of times, then move on to the next one. If you find there are some that just aren’t “you” anymore – SELL THEM! Or donate them to your church, local women’s shelter, etc.

· Before buying a stamp/set, ask yourself: How many different ways can I use this stamp/set? Do I already have a stamp/set that will work instead of buying this one? Have I sold or given away a similar stamp/set? If so, why buy another similar one to one that you rarely used?

· Use what you have, and only allow yourself to buy “consumables” – i.e., adhesives, paper, etc.

· Keep ONLY as many stamp sets as will fit into your stamp storage space. Downsize if you need to! If you want more stamp sets, sell or trade to make room for new ones

For In-home Stamp demonstrators (SU, CTMH, TAC, etc.):
· Don’t buy anything that you can’t demo (Sizzix, Cricut, etc.).
· Check out John Sanpietro’s website:
· Spend only your “instant income” from your sales
· Don’t buy anything you can’t demo [I already know this won’t work for me, because I don’t just buy stamps to demo, I buy them for personal use, as well]
· Earn the right to buy stamps by earning $xxx to spend for every $100 in sales to OTHER people that you do.
· Think about the sales value vs cost – as a demo, I would need to sell 5 of Set ABC to justify having bought it from strictly biz standpoint - now, as any demo can attest - CTMH, SU, CM....if you show people how to use it, they will buy it... - so work toward making that part of your mindset...sure, some things can be bought for the beauty of owning them, but most of what your purchase should be things that will support you...

Budgeting/saving money:
· Have a separate checking account for 'impulse / personal / craft' spending
· Set aside a certain amount of money for each month – literally put the cash into an envelope, and ONLY use that money for your craft wants. It’s okay to have money left over! You don’t have to spend it all that month. What you have left you can rotate to the next month, and then there’ll be more to spend!
· Use CASH ONLY. When it’s gone, it’s gone, so you can’t overspend!

The Internet/LSS/Craft Store:
· Don’t surf the internet looking for rubber stamp/scrapbooking items. Just don’t.
· When an e-mail or post is made concerning a great new site or store or product, DELETE IT before you open it!
· Stay out of the LSS
· Stay out of Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Archivers, etc.
· If you MUST go to a store, take ONLY the amount of money you can afford to spend. TAKE CASH. DO NOT take a credit or debit card or checkbook. Leave that at home or in the car.
· If you MUST buy something on the Internet, use ONLY a special bank account (debit card) set up specifically for craft shopping.
· Buy grab-bags. They’re usually very cheap, and you can sell any stamps you don’t like for $1 apiece and recoup some of your money!
· Buy unmounted stamps and acrylic blocks. You’ll save a TON of money buying UM, and the mounting supplies are relatively inexpensive. The blocks are a one-time investment.
· Join a monthly scrapbook/stamp club and let that be your shopping for the month. Research carefully which club will work best for you.
· Join a hostess club (SU, CTMH, TAC, etc.). This is where each person spends a minimum amount of money, for a certain number of months, and everyone gets to be the hostess one time. Spend ONLY your minimum. If you want to get great hostess benefits, get friends to order when it’s your turn at hostess.

The “Wait” rule:
· Never buy anything on impulse. Wait a certain amount of time (24 hours, a week, a month) before you place your order to give yourself time to get over the initial “WOW” of an item.

· If you’re ordering from SU, CTMH, TAC, etc: Start a list of what you want, and don’t put the order in until you reach the minimum for a hostess workshop (for SU that’s $150). That way you get free stamps and goodies, AND it gives you time to decide if what you have on your list is something you really want. (Avoids impulse buying)

Making money to spend:
· Teach classes
· Sell your cards/scrapbook pages/gift items
· Sell your old stamps that you no longer use
· Trade for stamps instead of spending money

· Ask yourself: How important is it that I have this particular stamp/stamp set/tool, etc.? Is it important enough to sacrifice buying other craft items for? If so, then set up a “savings plan” for that item, and don’t spend money on other things that are not budgeted in until you’re able to buy that item without credit, without starving your family ;-) and without guilt.
· If you miss a “terrific opportunity” on buying a stamp/set/tool, etc. – it’s not the end of the world. This industry isn’t going to go away tomorrow, and there will always be “great things” to buy when we HAVE the money!
· Give yourself permission to not be “cool” in the stamping/scrapping world. Don’t buy things just because “everybody” has them. Don’t be tempted by the praise and adoration of others about these products. If it is something you will USE, a LOT, then consider budgeting for it. Otherwise let them have their toys and be proud that you have your backbone (and your retirement money)!
· Put a limit on yourself in the order of "I can't buy any new stuff until I've used up ______"
· Only buy for projects you are currently working on, not to hoard! There will always be new, wonderful lines of paper, stamps, inks, etc. further down the road. You DO NOT need them all!
· Find an accountability partner. Call/e-mail them before you make ANY purchase, and LET THEM TALK YOU OUT OF IT, or at least talk you into waiting/saving for it.
· Am I buying things just for the thrill of buying? Am I actually using what I have? If the answer is “NO”, then STOP BUYING things until you can use what you have.

REMEMBER: Spending money on crafts is NOT a “sin”. We are made by our Creator to be creative beings, and therefore the act of creating is vital to the health of our souls. But when we let our spending get out of hand, it shrivels our souls more than the creativity enriches them. Be creative, let that flow from within you, but also be self-disciplined. It’s not easy, but YOU CAN DO IT!!


NikkisTubes said...

Thanks for posting this I'm a beginner stamper I started in January. Already spent about 600+ I think this guide will help me in the future. Thanks again. *adding to favorites*

Stacy said...

Glad it looks useful to you Nikki! And thanks for adding me to your favorites!

Elizabeth said...

I am going to print this off and post it on my Fridge. I will need to look at it everyday.

Micki Harper said...

Wow, what a great site. You are awesome, it shows in the time you take to keep up the website AND the cards you make. Your blog about controlling stamp/scrap spending was great. Although I am an SU! demo (mainly hobby with a few good customers) I do use for personal use.

Anyway, thanks!