Anyone who knows me would tell you that I do what I can to stretch my budget. That wasn’t always the case though. I’m able to do this today by asking myself three simple questions when I’m considering starting a new project. As you’re getting started on your newest project, I recommend asking yourself these same questions. What are your answers?
1. Can you use what you already own?
You may not have the exact same stamp or ink color that you saw on Pinterest, but do you have something similar? Can you complete this project without making a purchase?
Crafting is all about expressing your own creativity, so remember this is your masterpiece. Your friends and family won’t know that you used green paper instead of blue, or a totally different salutation than what had originally inspired you. Furthermore, all this does is make the project a one of a kind. So be proud, because that’s awesome!
2. If you have to buy it, will it be used several times or for multiple purposes?
Back in my less budget conscious days, it wasn’t uncommon for me to head to a craft store with no ideas in mind. I just went to be inspired, and I was.
I ended up buying paper punches that I’d probably use once, or stickers that would never make their way onto a piece of paper. Maybe you’ve experienced this too. I was making impulse purchases that had limited applications and as a result, I started running out of space in my home. I had to ask myself “What can I do differently?”
The answer was simpler than expected. Instead of buying everything I might need, I started trying to buy things that could have multiple purposes. My paper trimmer, for example, is large enough so that I only need one. It cuts and measures paper up to 12’x12’, which is perfect for me. Another example is that many of my stamps are relatively generic, so that I can use them across several projects. When I need a truly out of the box salutation, I try to create it using Word, Google Docs or my Cricut machine then print it out. These tricks helped me conserve space, save money and still produce a great final result.
3. If you do have to buy it, what’s your budget?
I love budgets. They hold us accountable and keep us informed. Best of all, when we budget properly, we can spend money on something we really want/need without feeling guilty. When we’re not spending time feeling guilty, we’re able to enjoy the outcome of our projects so much more.
If you decide you want to make a purchase, decide what your budget is going to be. For example, because I don’t buy die cuts very often, I eventually chose to invest in a Cricut machine. It was a big purchase, but for me the benefit of being able to resize my designs and the minimal footprint it would have in my craft space outweighed the cost.
Once I decided what I needed, I identified what I could afford and from there I could pick the right model that met my budget and needs. I started saving and once I could afford to, I made the purchase. On the day I received it, I didn’t spend time worrying how I was going to pay my bills after this purchase. Instead I ran to my crafting space, plugged it in and got started.
To be clear, I’m not telling you to go out and buy a Cricut machine, instead I’m suggesting that you try to use what you already own, and if you do decide to purchase something, consider your options. Decide what the best fit is for you and how much you can afford without breaking the bank. When you do this, you’ll likely find that you can spend more time following your passion, and less worrying about your recent purchase.
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