Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Stamping on a Budget - Day 5

Our topic for today is BUDGETING OUR MONEY.

Here are some tips...

Determine a monthly or quarterly spending amount. - Contrary to popular belief, this amount is not determined by how much you can hide from your husband!!

What can you spend that will not harm your family budget? For some people this may be $100 a month, for others it may be $30 a quarter. At my house that amount varies. Some months I might have $30 - some months its only $5. For me, that money has to cover all my fun for the month - cross stitch, quilting, stamping, clothes, haircuts, postage, etc. I usually only get extra to spend if my husband gets a bonus or if I sell something on EBay, so I have to be super careful with my purchases, and I keep a running list of wishes for birthday and Christmas gift ideas. (... and Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day and Groundhog’s day..... You get the picture! :)

Keep a list. - Write down the things that you are interested in. Don’t buy them the first time you see them. For example, if you are at a stamping workshop or browsing some blogs and you see the coolest thing in the world - write it down. Allow yourself a “deprogramming” time before you buy it. You may see something else tomorrow that you like better, or in 2 or 3 days you may know that it is something you really would like and use.

Buy needs before wants. - If I am out of adhesive, buying all the stamps in the new catalog will do me no good! Usually what happens is we’ll pick out a new stamp set or a cool gadget that our demo just showed us with the money we actually have available, then when we remember we actually need things like envelopes or adhesive, we feel justified in putting the purchase on the credit card.

Don’t be pressured by sales. - If you’re like me, the word SALE is a word that means I must buy it NOW - even if I really don’t have the money and even if Im not sure I’ll use it more than once or twice.

Remember, there will be other sales, and if it’s limited edition, chances are it will show up on Ebay if you miss it this time. Of course, if it’s something that’s been on your list and you have the money... by all means, go for it!!

Buy with Cash - If you don’t have the money available to spend, don’t spend it. Even if the money is coming and will be in your account by the end of the month, don’t buy it until you actually have the money. If you do, you’ll always be paying on old things, when there are new things that you really want or need. Trust me. I speak from experience. There is great satisfaction in paying cash for your pleasure!!

Plan your spending - If you know that you'll be placing a large order in October to get supplies for Christmas cards, or that you want to place an order during one of the online sales on Black Friday, you'll need to plan ahead to fit it into your budget. This may mean that you'll have to postpone getting something you've been wishing for or that you may need to sell some of your unused or retired sets and supplies to come up with extra money.

Buy groups when you can - Be sure your supplies coordinate so you can use them. Both Stampin Up and Papertrey Ink carry cardstock with matching ink, designer paper and ribbons. Simply purchase color groups as you can, coordinating them as you go.

Another example of the "group" theory would be to buy a circle punch and scalloped circle punch at the same time, or a hole punch and brads. Its frustrating to start to put together a project and to be missing one supply item. Its like putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle that's missing one piece.

Be yourself - Don’t measure yourself against the other stampers that you see around you. Set your sights on making the nicest cards you can with the supplies you have!

On that same note... if you are on a tight budget, spending time on SplitCoastStampers or visiting a lot of blogs may be counterproductive. Realize that many of these ladies do not buy all the new stamps and supplies that you see. They are given to them to publicize a certain company... and it works, doesnt it!! The - “I want it all, and I want it now” - philosophy is not really very healthy. By spending our time wishing for all the new things that we see, we rob ourselves of the pleasure of enjoying yesterday’s blessings!

USE what you have! (I think I've heard this somewhere.... hmmmm....) We have wonderful supplies around us, but we love to hoard them. We seldom use them up before we see something new that wed like to play with, and then our stash just sits because its no longer the lastest and greatest.

If your demo or a blog personality has made something with supplies you just “have to have” - focus on the sketch or technique to try to recreate it with things you have on hand. Could I use a scallop scissor instead of this punch? Could I punch my holes the old-fashioned way if I cant afford a CropADile right now? Is there another color scheme that would work? Another stamp set?? What if I - GASP - used last year’s designer paper instead of the new design? If you really want that particular card, but can't afford the supplies, then book a workshop, go to a class or ask if you can buy it! :)

Participate in image swaps - Wanting more stamp sets than your budget allows? Check out the Wish RAK image swap on SplitCoastStampers!! You can list 3 wishes of sets you would like stamped images from. You earn more wishes by granting wishes yourself. Very, very fun!! :)

OK... enough for today. Come back tomorrow when we'll talk about budgeting our time. I know this is an area that is a constant struggle for me. Maybe it is for you, too?? See you then!

1 comment:

Debbie Griffin said...

great reminders! Now, if I could only put these principles into practice in every area of our budget!