Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Frugal Scrapbooking

I guess you noticed that I scrapbook, although I've featured mostly cards in my posts. So let's talk a little bit about how I incorporate frugality into scrapbooking ...

First of all, I am an archival scrapper. That simply means that I don't put rusty hardware on my scrapbook pages and expect them to last until my kids are grown. It also means that I don't raid my household paraphernalia for items to include on my scrapbook pages. If I get in the mood to do something like this, I make cards. They aren't designed to last 50+ years.

That being said, it's a real challenge to scrap frugally. I used to be a consultant for Creative Memories. During that time, and for a few years afterward, I was a "CM-only" scrapper. I trusted their products and used exclusively theirs in my scrapbooks.

Then their prices went up and I realized I no longer had $100+ to put into an album - with decorations and pictures being extra. So I had to look at my options.

Now don't get me wrong. If you can afford Creative Memories' products, they are fantastic and top of the line. But they are also pricey, and other companies make acid-free, lignin-free products as well. (You'll even find a few with buffered paper if you need it.)

After researching, I decided to switch to a top-loading album once my current CM albums are full. I haven't gotten to that point yet, so I can't offer any reviews on top-loaders. However, I'll tell you that I'm leaning heavily toward Close to My Heart albums. For one thing, I know a consultant who offers a buying club that makes the albums quite reasonable. For another, their albums look comparable to a Creative Memories album, so they'll look good sitting next to each other on a shelf. Thirdly, I've heard nothing but good about the quality of their scrapbooks.

So where am I going with this post? Well, once I decided to switch to top-loading, I had to figure out the cheapest way to get quality paper.

There are some people who are self-professed "paper snobs." I'm not one of them. When I see the packaging states "acid-free, lignin-free, fade resistant" and they've been in business for a long time, I'll use it. So I found cardstock variety packs at Michaels. There are 20-25 sheets in each, and a pack retails for $5.99. That's $0.24-$0.30 each sheet. That completely blows Creative Memories out of the water. (The last I knew, their 12x12" paper was $1.00 a sheet and awfully flimsy.)

You knew this - it gets better!! Last year, they were putting these on sale for $2.50 a pack on a regular basis. That's an even better deal at $0.10-$0.13 each sheet. So I decided to stock up on one of each pack the next time they went on sale. I waited and waited ... and waited ... And they haven't gone on sale -- until this week.

Guess where I was today? Yep, stocking up on my cardstock. And they even had a 50%-off coupon available. I used it on (non-scrapbooking) paper for my son's artist easel.

I should be good for cardstock for at least a year, right? At the rate I'm getting through my albums, it might last me a few years ...