Big CHA Releases, Small Budget: What To Do?

Twice a year the scrapbook industry reveals it’s latest and greatest. CHA is not only a huge event for buyers and manufacturers, but those of us watching from home get to see all kinds of peeks into what is coming to stores in the near future. Seeing all of the sparkly new scrapbook supplies through blogs and twitter, not to mention video tours of booths from the show floor, can be overwhelming – both visually and to my budget! How is a crafter on a budget to choose without having to take a loan? Today I have some tips and tricks that I utilize, and that I hope you’ll find useful.

By taking some time to look around and see what is coming, and what is available, from various manufacturers and educating yourself on what your choices are, it becomes easier to resist impulse spending. Knowledge is power – and often by looking around you’ll find lines that complement each other, or are very similar, and products that truly are your “must have” items.

Here are my six rules for scrapbook supply shopping on a budget:

Rule #1: Be picky. Perhaps this sounds too simple – but when you find yourself in love with a particular line of products, it’s often the impulse to buy one of each. Instead, stop and pick no more than 2- 3 items from that given brand or line. Pick your absolute favorites that will be most useful rather than binging on any one brand or line.

Rule #2: Watch for the great bargains. The above sticker sheets from Tim Holtz and The Girls’ Paperie have an MSRP of $4.99 for seven sheets of stickers. Not only that – but the sticker designs showcase many of the best design elements from the lines so that you get a lot of value (not to mention a ‘sample’ of the entire lines) for a great price.

Rule #3: Beware of patterned paper. While seemingly inexpensive, sheets of patterned paper can add up quickly. Often new papers, while lovely, can be substituted out with older versions of similar designs. This especially goes for ledger, stripes, dots, gingham, and other classic designs. Choose carefully, and keep your existing stash and your personal creative habits in mind.

Rule #4: Invest in classics. Cardstock is a great example, or ink pads, or useful stamps or basic punches. When a product comes out that is clearly going to last a long time and be a timeless classic in your stash – it’s worth spending money on.

Rule #5: Keep an eye out for new designs that will blend nicely with your existing stash. Studio Calico (pictured above) has some items this release that I know already will work well with other brands and lines I want to work with. When choosing items, I try to be aware of what I already have, and what will complement (vs repeat) what I already have on-hand.

Rule #6: Beware of repeats! There were several lines at this CHA that reminded me a lot of lines from a few years ago. Before you invest in new stuff, check out your own stash to make sure you’re not causing history to repeat itself.

By putting thought into your purchases, and carefully selecting the few items that you love the most, you can infuse the latest and greatest into your craft projects while using up what you already have in your existing stash of supplies.

[Disclaimer: May Flaum has done design work for both Tim Holtz and The Girls’ Paperie.]

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14 Responses to Big CHA Releases, Small Budget: What To Do?

  1. Tona February 8, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    Excellent advice, May!

  2. Michelle Salazar February 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    Wonderful advice and just what I needed to hear!

  3. conniemelancon February 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    Great advice May!

  4. Allison LP February 8, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

    Great tips. I loved all the boy stuff, and want it all. my conscience won’t let me over do it anyway. TFS

  5. Lyneen February 8, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    I need to read this every time I get near PAPER!!!!

  6. Lori Brown February 9, 2011 at 12:48 am #

    Ditto what Lyneen said – I have more patterned paper than I can ever use…

  7. Lisa J February 9, 2011 at 1:12 am #

    Thanks for the great tips May! I will definitely keep #3 in the forefront of my mind when shopping for the new CHA goodies. My patterned paper collection has grown out of control.

  8. MarieP February 9, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    That was great advice, May! I am prone to falling in love with a new line at first sight, bringing it home, and then finding out that it looks a lot like a line I feel in love with last season, much of which is still lingering in my stash.

  9. Sandi February 9, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    Great Rules May! I should print them out and carry them with me to the store and keep one next to my computer when I shop online. lol

  10. Gab February 10, 2011 at 7:07 am #

    Great tips, thanks May!

  11. april foster February 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    thanks may for all the great tips!

  12. Emily February 14, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    Fabulous article May! I find post cha completely overwhelming because I want everything. I keep track of my favorites in a spreadsheet and revisit in a month to see if I still feel the need to buy. Luckily I have a rule that I cannot buy anything new while taking one of your classes so that is a huge help to my wallet too!

  13. Cyndi February 18, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    Timely tips! I’ve noticed the repeat in pp design and have curbed my purchases in that area.

  14. Jayne April 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Thanks for the extremely helpful tips. I tend to “forget” stuff n stash that I already have so I become the repeat qween(ok, not proud of that…LOL) and ding my budget. So I def appreciate the reminder to do “thoughful spending” and ask the simple questions…is it a need or a want? And is this need/want a repeat??? LOL
    Thanks again…..

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