PRT108 – Amortizing Our Stamps

This week we’re talking about budget ideas for scrapbooking supplies. Come listen!

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  • The journaling will be different and many of the details are gone, but it’s still worth going back! I scrapbooked during those times but it was the old way where I was just using photos and stuff from my life. I didn’t do any journaling. I still like to go back and scrapbook that old stuff with my current perspective — way better than nothing, and still very valuable.

  • I include the costs of classes in my scrapbooking budget. Right now, I’m on a scrapbook class break. I have two classes I am “behind” in and am not going to sign-up for anymore until I am caught-up in those two. Yes, these classes never expire, but I just can’t have that much stuff on the backburner. 

  • I especially like your last sentence. Thanks for sharing. I do believe other artists also struggle with how much money they can or are wiling to devote to their craft. Look at painters who opt to paint old windows instead of on canvas. That was originally a choice due to the affordability of windows (free or very inexpensive) compared to canvas. 

  • Yes, I agree. In my little bit of experience with artists, they do have to resourceful because art supplies are crazy expensive.

  • L Squared

    I really
    enjoyed the show. I thought one of the best suggestions/comments was not
    to buy if you aren’t scrapping. I know a lot of times I haven’t
    actually taken the time to make a page for a while but still found
    myself shopping. I should have been spending that time scrapping with
    the supplies I had. 

    As far as color schemes are concerned I find myself using my white ink
    pad and white Mister Huey’s all the time. They go with all of my
    favorite colors no matter the page. Nancy hit on this with using craft
    card stock. The more neutrals in my stash the better, especially when
    they are a product that is going to last through multiple layouts.

  • Marissa McConnell

    Izzy must have good taste because that book has 230 holds right now in our library system! I might have to buy it instead of waiting that long ;)

  • Exactly. I find that if I am spending more scrapbooking time shopping than actually scrapbooking, I am also spending most of my scrapbooking time putting away the purchases so I have space to scrapbook. It’s all connected. 

  • It’s definitely worth buying and multiple reads!

  • Rebecca Nelson

    This is one of my favorite episodes! I keep thinking about it over and over and on a long car ride, it sparked a great discussion between me and my husband. He homebrews as a hobby and so it was interesting comparing and contrasting the costs of both. We are supportive of each other’s hobbies and have a cash budget that allows us to spend within those limits without guilt. Holidays and birthdays are a great time to splurge on each other (and that’s when I got my Cricut!).
      Your episode touches so much on the psychology behind hobbies. Are you a collector or a doer? That’s the bottom line for me. I can watch the paperclipping videos (Thanks Noell!), collect supplies, amass knowledge through classes, but until I’m doing something with all that, in my mind, I’m just a collector. It brought to mind the consumerism mentioned on one of the previous episodes. If I’m utilizing my purchases, it gives them life rather than just good intentions and puts my knowledge into practice. By creating and working I can refine my process, get better and be proud of my work. It helps me know where to focus my energy. I recently purged a bunch of crafting items that I had great intention of using but realized my focus had shifted and someone else could better use them.
      I really think it’s important, as the previous posters have stated, to know what you will use and how often. I tend to shop my scrapping stash when working on projects and it’s the same for my knitting. But when I sew, I prefer to buy new and therefore have a very small stash.
      I found it very enlightening to listen to this episode and I appreciate the thought behind it. I can’t wait to listen again!

  • I like your comment about a collector v. a doer. Good point.

  • Marja


    I’ve enjoyed this show and all the other on my way to work. It’s a treat to
    listen to it, while I’m driving there and it’s such a part of my trip that I’m reluctant to use my husband’s car, though it’s a much nicer
    car, because I can’t connect my iPhone to listen :)

    I always want to comment, but don’t get round to it. And
    now I finally do, so I’ve a few things to say that concern older episodes as

    For one: Nancy, you tell us that you’re a slow scrapper,
    and love to change that. I wonder why you would… obviously it’s your way…
    and maybe it’s a perfect way for you. Maybe it makes you slow down, focus or
    even relax. For you, having ADHD, it might be just perfect!

    I also have ADHD and scrapping is a relief for me from a
    the ‘storms’ in my head, my body and my life. It’s great!

    Next thing I want to telle you is that it’s not about
    money that I sometimes bring my scrap-shopping secretly inside. Neither
    is it about trust. But it’s because I think differently about these
    ‘things’ that I bought then my husband does. He doesn’t understand the pleasure
    of it, to me. For him it’s just another bag of ‘stuff’. So if I don’t want him
    to frown or role his eyes, because he wonder why I need all of that (again), I
    walk upstairs first and the yell “Hi”.

    And last thing (for now :)) ): Because it’s fun to shop, but also expensive, I
    look for other alternatives. And became just as creative as some other commenters.
    Like buttons; mine came from some aunts who downsized and loved a purpose for
    them. Tags from clothing are really nice, sometimes. And ribbons in clothing
    are a really nice length for scrapbooking and often have great colors. Once my daughter
    doubted between two shits and secretly I wished for her to buy the one with the
    nicest ribbon. I didn’t say, but was slightly disappointed when she didn’t :)).

    How silly can one get?

    Yes! I’m glad that I came to react now, instead of talking out load to you in
    my car.

    Please continue the show for a long, long time. Love it!!

    Marja Wagemakers

    Nederland (Holland).

  • I guess I have a different idea about how to look at this stuff (avoiding the $$ issue, maybe- lol!) but I don’t really have a ‘budget’ for hobby costs. I know my spending isn’t breaking our bank account, but I don’t have a strict dollar amount per month, or anything like that. Last weekend I went to the Mesa CKC exhibitor fair- I spent probably between $100-$150 that day, and because I don’t scrap at home, I won’t actually ‘use’ any of those supplies for the next few weeks till I go to a weekend retreat. Should I have not purchased those supplies when I saw them, then, because I didn’t have a project in mind for them, or would use them right away?? That’s just not how I shop– I buy items just because I like them, with no particular use in mind. I know that most of those items are my ‘style’ so they will (hopefully) get used eventually for some crafty project.  

    I don’t like looking at it in terms of ‘cost-per-use’ for a tool, or ‘cost-per-layout’ for supplies. I think that takes the joy out of the creative process itself, at least for me, anyway. For the most part I also try to buy supplies (tools, paper patterns, stamps, etc.) that are versatile so they can be used in lots of different projects- while that’s all well and good, I don’t want that mindset to stop me from buying some specific stamp, for instance, just because I can’t think of 4 or more projects for it right off the bat. To me, that mindset would stifle my creativity.I would rather think of ‘value’ as: tools + supplies + paper + photos = priceless, because my creative time is so important to me. Let’s not discount the value of the joy we get from actually being ‘in’ the creative process, not just the cost of the ‘result’ (the layout itself) that we get from using the materials.

    (ha! now that I’ve finally listened to the entire episode, Izzy just said pretty much the exact same thing– lol!! Thanks, Izzy!!)

  • Connie Hanks

    You’re totally right, Noell! I just have to jump in and do it! For the first time, I actually did a few pages using old photos during Lain’s February LOAD – one about my deceased grandfather, another about my best friends of 20-years, and another just about me. The first two I completed and LOVE. The one just about me, sits on my desk unfinished. The part I’m stuck on is balancing the look of the ’70’s and ’80’s photos in a current LO. Any chance you’ll be doing a show on this topic soon? For me, old B&W photos are much easier to scrapbook than funky colored ’70’s & ’80’s photos. You did a great job on the LO you did a while back – I think it was called “By the Numbers”? I’d love a show (like last week’s with Shimelle and Dina where each of you talked about your LO processes), but specifically about making pages with multiple photos from different time periods. That might be too specific, or too vague, or too obscure, but any discussion about using old photos would be awesome :) How you choose papers (colors, patterns, neutrals), embellies, all of it! I’m stuck trying to pay homage to my old photos, but my style is so current, and I just don’t feel like I can “make it work” as Tim Gunn would say :)

  • I like to buy things with no intended purpose, too, but I have been doing less of this. By taking a break from buying and learning what I will and won’t use, even these random purchases are more likely to used because I know better what random items I am likely to use. 

  • This is almost exactly how I am, Jennifer. I didn’t share much of my own specific thinking on this because I’ve shared it so many times before and this episode was for those who feel they have an issue with spending. But like you, I don’t have a specific budget amount. I just don’t spend an amount that would be unreasonable and harmful to our family. And I buy what I love — that’s my big stipulation. I try to make sure I love it and that I’m not buying it because it “would work.”
    The only difference between you and me might be that if I’m buying something out of the ordinary for me I do try to imagine how it could be used. I don’t think of a specific layout or project, but I think of HOW it could be placed on a page and whether I can envision it feeling like me. Because there are products that I’ve bought and then realized they just absolutely don’t work with my style.
    Also, if I find that I’m buying a pretty hefty load of stuff then at some point I ask myself how much of this I can reasonably use over the next while because I start to dislike many products if they sit in my stash too long and because I know I’m going to want to shop for new stuff again within a couple months.

  • I scrap old 70’s photos with current products all the time — I mostly look for modern papers that have something about them that REMINDS me of that time period. I don’t look for papers that ARE replicas of that period. A huge percentage of our products have inspiration from our past, so that works for me.
    I would love to do a show on that topic. A while back we did an episode on scrapbooking from the 80’s — at least I think that was the subject. We had Shimelle on, so if you missed that one you might want to look for episodes with Shimelle and see if you can find it. But I don’t know if we spent much time talking about products to go with those stories. I’ll see what we can do because I love scrapbooking these old photos and I love this subject!

  • Connie Hanks

    Yay! That would be soooo fantastic! Thanks Noell :)
    And thanks – I’ll look back and take another listen to the show!

  • Terri Torrez

    Great show! I do budget but I’m not calculating my per page cost. For me it’s about the creative outlet, not about how many pages I actually produce. Though of course, I do try not to buy things I won’t actually use.

    I did have a question that I don’t think was addressed by any of the panelists – when you budget, do you include the cost of inspiration, motivation and community? I’m thinking of things like idea, books, technique classes, crop fees and, of course, a Paperclipping subscription. I do a ton of online classes and for me these serve to keep me motivated and inspired, while also giving me a social outlet. (I don’t have local scrap friends.) This is by far the largest portion of my scrapbooking budget. Just curious how everyone else treats these expenses.

  • Yes, I include the cost of any scrapbook-related purchase. It’s the only way you can really see where all your money is going by tracking all of it. I’ve noticed that most of my money for awhile was going towards classes, memberships, idea books and have since cut back on that spending. I have a backlog of sources of inspiration at the moment. Once I get through most of that backlog, then I’ll spend on it again. I don’t use those paid outlets as social outlets, but if I did, then I would probably pay for them on a more regular basis even if I do have a backlog.

  • Veramats

    I’m so glad you covered this topic on PRT!  A couple of things popped in my head while listening and I just wanted to share.

    1.  I would love to hear more comparisons of new scrappers vs more experienced scrappers.  In my opinion, there is a natural progression of habits, workflow and shopping/collecting of supplies in the life of scrapper.  I think we’ve all thrown our hands up in disgust with all of the stuff we collect and we naturally ebb and flow with our spending.  At least that’s a theory I have.  I think the comparison of new vs veteran scrappers should play a part in many of your discussion topics.  

    2.  I am so frustrated with the trend in marketing of creating a buzz and ‘get it now before it’s gone’.  I won’t name names, but one kit club really does this, and when I was a subscriber, I totally fell into the trap of stalking their website trying to buy something before it sold out in 5 minutes.  Ridiculous!  I have since stopped subscribing and I rarely go to their site anymore.

    3.  Every family has to find their sweet spot when it comes to spending and disclosure.  Full disclosure is ideal, but many couples are happy with not sharing every item they purchase.  As long as both spouses are in agreement, right?

    4.  I’ve been scrapping for 12 years, and five years of that I was a Stampin’ Up demo.  I have a lot of scrap supplies!  Now that I’m fully stocked, I have the luxury of not needing to buy much of anything.  That totally changes how I shop.  When I do shop, I have a good idea of what I need to fill any gaps.  I also only buy something that will work with my style of scrapping, or I may buy a product that is totally new and different.  Having said that, I’m also totally ok with letting a trend pass me by.  For example, I just haven’t bought any mists or sprays.  It’s just not my thing, and also, I know that if I do decide to buy one, I may be tempted to start collecting tons of colors, etc. Again, this falls under the category of new scrapper vs more experienced scrapper.  

    Love the show!  Keep ’em comin’!


  • I agree, there probably are differences between new and more experienced scrapbookers. I think newbies often experience a little sticker shock (even though it is a cheap hobby compared to many other options). I like to dabble in trends. I have some mists, but not in every color. I don’t have a need for mists in every color. Now ribbon, I have ribbon in every color. I use ribbon way more often. If I find myself using the mists more often, then maybe I will need one in every color. I’m not there yet. I think scrapbook shopping is like any other shopping in that it’s all in knowing what you need and knowing what you are realistically likely to use and then finding a home for all the stuff you know you will never use.

  • I agree — I think all those expenses count as a scrapbook cost. That’s partly why it makes more sense to me to look at what you spend over a year’s time and then look at what scrapbooked over that year to see if you’re scrapbooking enough to justify what you’re spending.

  • Very interesting comments! I don’t know which kit club you’re referring to but did they really always sell out within minutes? We do make rash decisions when there is a supply issue like that and tend not to really look at whether we want the items we’re feeling an urgency to buy.
    There are so many different big trends that you really do have to let many of them pass you by and it’s better to do that without allowing yourself to feel insecure about it.
    As for your first point — I might be a rarity. I’ve been scrapbooking for almost 17 years now and I’ve never had a point where I realized I had too much stuff. For the first 8 years we didn’t have much extra spending money so for all those years I scrapped with the most minimal of supplies. By the time we had more money to spend on our hobbies I was quite experience in knowing what kinds of things I would or wouldn’t use. I’m also naturally careful about what I spend my money on in general and I am extremely adverse to having a lot of stuff.

  • Veramats

    Noell, I’m impressed by your restraint with your shopping!  I think that’s great!  I’m gradually learning to appreciate the freedom of having fewer things.  It’s been a learning process for me to go from having too much, to learning to enjoy having less stuff!  Too many items, or too much choice can actually be crippling when it comes to scrapbooking.  I function better when I limit myself to fewer supplies.  When I start to try to incorporate so many embellishments and tools into one layout, I get wrapped up in the details and lose sight of the goal of memory keeping!

  • Abbie Miller

    For the first time in PRT history I am….. BEHIND. I know, slap me on the wrist. I’m sorry Izzy, I swear it will never happen again. (I say Izzy because while the rest of you ladies surely are understanding, life gets in the way, I picture Izzy comically gasping in disbelief.)
    So, I’m sure by now you’ve had 101 people comment about “Netflix for stamps”. I met the owners of Raisin Boat last year at the CHA Consumer Show in Chicago. I wrote a blog post about them and their company. It has their story, stamp samples, card and layout samples. THEY ARE AWESOME LADIES and TRUE GENIUSES. Well, obviously. They are clearly on the same wavelength as our dear Izzy. Here’s my post:

    PS Izzy, you know I’m totally messing with you, right? ;)

    Keep up the great show! Oh, and I tried adding up the cost of my last layout and I guessed it to be about 50 cents. EVERYTHING I used on it was from a package I already used, leftovers, scraps or cut from my Silhouette. The sheet of PP probably cost about 50 cents. Go me!

  • Ha ha – – hilarious!

    Thanks for linking to your post — I love seeing people add more to the conversation!

  • deanna_munger

    I like Izzy’s comment about how it’s not really expensive, in perspective, because it’s ART! 

    What I have to do is ask myself if my buying is getting ahead of my making.  Sometimes if I have 45 minutes without the kids or something I think, “Oh, I should stop at the scrapbook store!” when what is really more satisfying to me is to go create for 45 minutes.  I think there is a tendency to feel like I’m being creative if I’m shopping for creative stuff, but later I’m much more fulfilled if I’m *actually* being creative – by doing something! 

    Noell, I know you have a method for shopping for just enough to use before your next shopping cart/trip, but I find my method more focuses on time (possibly because I am not in the scrapbooking industry so if I don’t pay attention I might never actually make anything).  I need to make sure that the bulk of my creative time is spent making stuff and a much smaller part is spent shopping.

    Then, I can say it’s not too expensive because it is art, and it’s true because there is some actual art accomplished!

    (I know Ana says it makes her happy to hoard but she makes a LOT of stuff! Haha)

  • Great point. Shopping can easily get in the way of creating. For me the shopping gets in the way, not so much for time, but space. I have a very tiny scrapbooking surface and if new purchases are not immediately put away, they overtake this surface. Fortunately, I have a much better system of where stuff goes now so this is less of a problem than it once was. Shopping on scrapbooking isn’t just about spending money, but about how it can get in the way of scrapbooking. Thanks for commenting.

  • Haha the beginning of this made me laugh! (re: the woman who wrote in about hiding purchases from her husband). The other weekend I went to David’s Tea and spent $62 on tea. (I know…) I thought my husband was going to pass out when he heard that. We have a system worked out where we each get a certain amount of spending money each month so he really didn’t care. He just couldn’t believe that I would spend that much on TEA!! I know it’s ridiculous but I very rarely do things like that. I am really glad that we have a relationship where I can tell him my crazy purchases. (I’m obsessed with your show and going through the archives.)

  • Thanks for commenting and listening! I have a bit of a tea problem, too…only that I cloack in how it is good for my health. :)

  • Tori Bissell

    I’ve never thought about trying to figure out how much my layouts cost but after listening to this episode I thought I wonder how much I spend per project. I subscribe to a kit club so I added up what I spent on my kits and divided it by the number of projects I made. I spent $3.39 per project. I’m actually impressed. I would have thought I spent a lot more but I think the fact that I really use up my kits and get a lot out of them means that I’m not spending as much.

    What would be interesting…and maybe if I wasn’t so lazy, I’d do this…is to find out how much all that product costs in comparison to the kit and what the cost per page would be then.