Stopping the Crafty Christmas Cash Drain
By Jennifer Perkins on December 17, 2012
BlogHer Original Post
I don’t know about you, but for me the holiday hemorrhaging has begun. Every year I fall for the same thing. I tell myself that I can save money by hand-making my gifts, and in actuality I could, but I never do. Hand-making gifts for people on your list can easily cost more than buying the same thing.
My problem is I always fall for the displays of cute holiday items in the craft stores. Baking cookies for everyone is cheap, buying a cute little decorative tin for everyone is not.
Sometimes half the fun of giving handmade gifts, especially edible ones, is making the packaging. Tins, bows, stickers, stamps and snowmen shaped chocolate molds add up quick. Wouldn’t your best friend love the necklace you made for her just as much even if it didn’t come in a fancy box with $15 worth of scrapbooking supplies used to decorate it? Skip the fancy pants packaging and save yourself a buck. Better yet get creative and make your own packaging from things you have around the house.
I want to see an episode of Extreme Couponing with a crafter. Stores like Michael's and JoAnn’s both have regular sales and coupons. Don’t forget to sign up for reward cards for even more savings. I know you want to make that mason jar snow globe RIGHT NOW, but if you wait until the Sunday paper comes out, you could use that 40% off coupon and save yourself some money.
Have you ever checked out the craft department of the thrift store? I am a bit of a vintage craft hoarder, so I have seen some good things there in my time. Unused balls of yarn, packages of brand-new crayons, buttons, blank cards and more. Take a stroll through the thrift store when looking for inspiration. You may not see supplies at your store, but don’t forget to keep a keen eye for cheap items that would look new and improved with a fresh coat of spray paint or wrapped in yarn.
Speaking of being a craft supply hoarder, I notice we usually travel in packs. Why not round up some fellow crafters ready to spice up and recycle some of their stash and have a craft supply swap? Your best friend might have the perfect box of ornaments just waiting for you to add to that wreath you want to make for your sister. On the flip side, she might be interested in that pad of fancy scrapbooking paper you have to decoupage some pictures frames for her family.
As you read this, remember to do as I say and not as I do. I have a converted two-car garage studio with floor-to-ceiling craft supplies, but I was still at the craft store just today spending money. Many of the items I bought probably could have been substituted for something I already had. Just because an item is a gift does not mean you have to buy it brand-new that year. Don’t forget to use what you already have.
Handmade gifts are great, don’t get me wrong I love to make and receive them. I just don’t want you to fool yourself into thinking they are always cheaper. They can be if you are smart about it and follow a few of my tips. Use a coupon, raid your friend’s stash and take a second look at what you already have and you can stop the crafty Christmas cash drain and give everyone handmade gifts without breaking the bank.