Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wedding: The Credit Card Is Out: Get The Best Deal On Craft Supplies For Your Wedding

God, I love spending somebody else's money.  So.  Much.  Fun.  My credit card is getting a workout as  I shop for The Wedding (AKA my friend B's June wedding).  If you want to get picky, I am shopping for supplies for all of the projects I want to make for the event.  And shopping like this is fun, if not a little overwhelming.  When I got married 19-ish years ago, there was no internet and while that certainly stifled my creativity, it also took a lot less time to make choices.  They just weren't there.  I couldn't Google for a better price or free shipping and handling or 10% off, or loyalty points.  Now days, I can spend hours trying to find the best price on an item,  comparing/contrasting selection and cost and s/h and then trying to weigh out the differences to get the best deal.  It is a slow process involving my brain, my MacBook and lots and lots of Safari windows open and waiting.  I end up with lots of orders started and abandoned in pursuit of a better deal.

Before I go any further I do need to say…
Please shop at your local independent stores as much as possible…it's good for your economy.

Back to my wedding-project shopping:  I don't have a local scrapbooking store so I'm left with Hobby Lobby, a small Michael's and a very small JoAnn's.  I realize that many of you are saying to yourself "oh poor baby" as you shop your local grocery store for craft supplies, but hear me out.  The big chain stores are great for overall craft selection, for holiday crafting, and for prices- but they aren't so great for  shopping for a big wedding project that requires:
  1. Crafting items within a color palate 
  2. Anything "wedding" that isn't black, white, and silver
  3. Large quantities of one item 
  4. Variety 
  5. My favorite brands
Color Palate/Not digging the Silver/White/Black: The wedding is Peach, Cream, White and Aqua with GOLD (not silver) metallic accents.  Now, try to find enough paper and embellishments in this color palate at Michael's…you won't be able to.  They carry a handful of Bazzill papers in a handful of colors.  Their patterned paper selection varies usually consists of some crazy UGLY papers sold by the sheet in 12x12 and fewer in 8.5x11 all in random colors.  The rest of the patterned paper is sold in big stacks which are not a good deal when I could only use a few sheets.  I did run to JoAnn's and get the peach card stock you see in the photo above because I needed to match the colors specifically to the palate with my own two eyes.

For the rest of paper I need it makes a lot more sense to go with a big internet retailer.  I ended up hitting the clearance section at 2 Peas In a Bucket  paying as little as $0.20 for many 12x12 sheets of patterned paper I will need to make tons of Rosettes and other decorations.  I purchased maybe 10 sheets of Tattered Rose Core'dinations cardstock from JoAnn but the rest came from HSN.  They sell it by the stack of 20 sheets for $10.95 with $3.95 s/h but with each subsequent craft item the s/h goes to $1.98 so I paid $53.66 including s/h for 80 sheets of cardstock making each sheet $0.67.  While a sale at JoAnn would bring the price inline with what I paid, I couldn't walk out with 80 sheets.

HINT #1 Scrap By Color at  This feature allows you to choose products by color-whether based on a photo, the color wheel or a product match.  Simply upload a photo (or chose a product to match) and click on the base color you want to work with from the selection offered.  The default is a monochromatic scheme but you can select complimentary, triadic, analogous, or split complimentary schemes.  You will be give 4 square of color and the option to view a layout in your chosen color scheme.  The products that meet your criteria then begin to fill the screen.  It's easy but if you are confused they offer a video demo.
Scrap by Color at

HINT #2:  Hit up the clearance sections at big internet stores like 2 Peas in a Bucket and, Create For Less, and even more of the smaller but well stocked stores like Nona Designs, Inspiration Emporium and see what you can score.   

With 150 or so guests and my always over-ambitious agenda, I need plenty of embellishments…lots and lots of embellishments…in bulk…and cheap.  It isn't my money, so I can't afford to pay full price…if I did it would be my first and last wedding.  That is all great but NOTHING can look cheap…oh no. 

To get what I want, at a price I want to pay, I will use a three-fold approach:
  1. I search the clearance sections of the big internet retailers as well as my favorite smaller stores
  2. I become friends once again with Mr. Google.  Google is your friend. 
  3. I scale back my plans, changed things up a big and use more handmade and easily reproducible but fantastic items- yes there will be pictures at some point. 
For this type of project I need decorations and doodads, but I am not too picky on exactly  what type of doodads I use- as long as they look FAN-freakin-TASTIC.  So I'm open to suggestions meaning I can shop around in the clearance sections.  It is true, cruising the sale sections of online retailers can be a daunting task to say the least.  2 Peas In A Bucket has over 3,000 items listed in their sale section and has almost 2,000.   Ah, but my patience paid off as I scored some Tim Holtz items at killer low prices because they were being discontinued.   Smaller retailers are easier to search and often have even better prices because they need to get rid of stuff.

studio calico Classic Calico 2 Laser-Cut Wood Veneer Shapes-Tiny Stars at Sears.comHINT #3: If you need a large quantity of an item, Google the specific item, find the BEST deal for the item and only order that item.  

Yesterday, I was doing exactly that and stumbled upon StarLit Studio which is a totally new retailer to me.  They have a good array of May Arts Ribbons and Memory Box dies at AWESOME prices.  Their overall selection is defiantly limited, but I saved a good amount of money of what I did get.  Today I found a store that goes through Sears- Stuff 4 Crafts- selling Studio Calico Laser-Cut Wood Veneer Shapes-Tiny Stars for $2.74 which is far below the $3.99 price elsewhere.  They also have KaiserCraft rhinestones for $0.39.  Seriously!?! They are usually $1.99.  Keep in mind that Sears, like Amazon, works with the smaller store-within-a-store concept so you may end up with items shipping from more than one location so keep an eye on shipping charges.  

On the down side: There are at least 2 stores that work within this concept at Sears and I noticed the prices on craft items were not consistently low.  While I scored some great deals, the Ranger and Sizzix items were priced comparable to other retailers or a tad higher so know what your buying.  Finally, I found it hard to find the craft items and ended up searching for "scrapbook" which opened up the menu.  Sears carry companies such as Bazzill, Jolee's, Ranger, Sizzix, American Craft, Zig, and Hot Off The Press to name a few.

HINT #4: For largest selection, hit the largest retailers. Duh, right?  But what store has great selection…

Shopping where there is a large selection is pretty self-explanatory.  Unfortunately, I have yet to find the retailer that carries everything I want at prices I want to pay!  Until this Utopian storefront opens, it will always be a Google game to find what I need.  One store that always has an excellant selection is Frantic Stamper.  The downside?  While she does have a clearance section, she never runs sales.  The upside? Customer Service and selection.  For years she operated under an email your order system but finally it has been upgraded with a fully functioning website.  When Tim Holtz released his first batch of "limited edition" Distress Ink colors last year, I missed the first go round.   When there was a second shipment to stores, Fran held one for me just on my word that I wanted it through an email.  I'm not a good customer who she knows- I'm just one of many. That is customer service that will bring me back again and again.  She also does special orders and because her staff is small, you know that your questions will be answered and things will be taken care of. 

 HINT #5: Coupons people…use them.  
  • Sign up for the store newsletters as they will tell you what is one sale and often carry coupons 
  • Check for any discount codes on the store website itself. always lists their daily sale at the top of the homepage.
  • Google:  At some point in your transaction-BEFORE you pay-open a new window and Google "STORE XYZ coupons".  Spend a few moments checking the results to see if there are any active coupon codes floating around.  You'll be surprised how often this works.  It may be 10% off or free shipping but hey, it's your money.  I like Retail Me Not, but I will take anyone that has a valid discount code.

How do you save money?  Leave a comment I'd love to know.  Next up: My favorite websites for shopping. 

To all who voted for me in the Messy House contact THANK YOU…I WON.  I'm so proud that my hoarding-craft-supplies has done something positive for my family.

Laters Baby….

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