How I Save Money on My Favorite Hobby – Frugal Scrapbooking Supplies

Let’s face it. Hobbies are great fun and sometimes can be expensive. I admit that I am an avid scrapbooking fan. I’ve been interested in scrapbooking for the last 10 years and it started when the first baby came along – I needed to have a pretty album to put all those baby pictures in! Apparently, I am not alone in this love of scrapbooking. Making scrapbook pages is a rapidly growing hobby. Just take a look in any craft store such as Michael’s or JoAnn’s and you’ll be amazed at row after row of supplies, some of which carry rather high price tags. It can become a very costly hobby and I am always on the lookout for ways to save money on my supplies so I read with interest what Mighty Bargain Hunter found at a garage sale.

Over the years, I’ve found several frugal methods for purchasing scrapbooking supplies so I can still enjoy my hobby and not pay a fortune for it! Here are some places for finding scrapbooking supplies that won’t break the bank:

1. Ebay. I have not found a “scrapbooker” going out of business at a garage sale, but I have seen items listed on ebay for just that reason. Sometimes stores just close their doors or someone who is a scrapbook consultant decides to get out of the business. If you search on ebay, you can find many great deals on scrapbook items. Specifically, look for a “lot” of scrapbook items where you can pick up a supply of papers, ribbons, and embellishments for very little money.

2. Store Clearance. I also hunt for supplies on clearance at Target or Walmart. Periodically, Target will do a reset of their scrapbooking department, and any seasonal products or products not moving well will be discounted. I’ve found tags and stickers at 50% or 75% off. Especially check the clearance aisles after a holiday – seasonal items will eventually be clearanced.

3. Garage Sales. This is where Mighty Bargain Hunter found a Stampin’ Up consultant (scrapbook consultant) who was going out of business and selling her inventory at a garage sale.

4. 50% Off Coupons. Both of my local craft stores, Michael’s and JoAnn’s, periodically feature coupons in the weekend newspaper. If there is a particular item that I am looking for, I watch for the 50% off coupons which usually allow the purchase of one item (that is not on sale) for 50% off. I’ve purchased some of the nicer albums in this manner.

5. Dollar Store. My local dollar store has a rather nice selection of scrapbooking supplies. All are acid free and archival quality too. I’ve seen wonderful seasonal papers, stickers, and even embellishments.


  1. Fianna says

    Definitely agree on Ebay. Great source for everything! I have found Big Lots has alot of scrapbook supplies available as well!

  2. Rob Garrett says

    I’m a new comer to scrapping. I’ve found that some of the cheapest embellishments for scrapbook pages is often stuff we throw away. Old Christmas cards/Birthday cards , Bits of wrapping paper left over from gifts, tickets to events or programs from events (movies, theatre, wine tastings, etc) brochures used to plan a trip. Even the Mapquest directions you print out to get somewhere can be fun.

    On a recent trip to Washington DC I picked up a free DC Metro (subway) map and used it in the scrapbook.

  3. DivaJean says

    I have laughed over the past ten or so years when scrapbooking came into vogue. I have been a scrapper for approx 20 years- and I spend so little on my supplies you all would not believe it! I am with Rob- my “papers” and “embellishments” are the actual things used. I love using a scrap of the actual Christmas wrapping paper for pages on each of my kids- or paper from their birthday presents, etc. I frame school pictures with actual schoolwork or drawings I have them do. All the specialty papers, magazines, etc seem to be more for those who can’t get ideas on their own as to how they want their pages to be.

    When we go on trips, the map of the amusement park and freebie promotional stuff ends up being used on the pages.

    I do have a very good collection of pens, scissors, glues, and picture corners. This being said- I spent MAYBE $15 on photo corners and a set of new gel pens last year.

    Some of what I do is not what other scrappers would consider. I use the actual picture in my work- many would make a copy of a picture and then store the picture somewhere else. All I see this doing is creating to the clutter pile of the hobby. I am not 100% convinced that everything I do must be chemically pure, acid free, and achival in content. Consider what the scrapbook is for- does it really need to last thru the ages? Or is it more for the family to enjoy when reviewing its memories? As you can guess- I believe in the latter.

  4. sfordinarygirl says

    what do you think are some basic tools scrapbookers should buy? are fancy scissors and gel pens really necessary?

  5. DivaJean says

    No. Patience and regular markers/scissors go far- but sometimes if a regular marker is too “juicy” it might bleed on the paper- if you are writing directly on the scrapbook page. Gel pens stay put and don’t have that quality concern.

  6. scrappymomma says

    Thanks for your online shopping spots. I, too, as a momma of 4, started scrappin’ when the 1st baby came, and I’ve been addicted ever since. I am a hybrid scrapper in the sense that I use the stuff from the trip, magazines, et al, but I also love some cute embellishments & fancy paper too. I have not done a whole lot of digital, mainly b/c I love being able to cut and paste like I’m in the 2nd grade again. I love coupons, garage sales, and I’ve also found several things on my local craig’s list (this is esp. helpful with no shipping and you can find specific products). Another source is to talk to other scrapbookers b/c sometimes you can find out about local sales where vendors will set up booths and I got an $8 crop-n-style. Thanks again for input!

  7. Hannah says

    I shop at a discount store called Amazing Savings…they have a nice collection of scrapbook supplies . Almost all items are less then $2.00. Also, Target has a dollar section when you enter the store. Usually, about once a month or change of season or holidays they sell coordinating supplies for $1.00 all acid free. I mean Paper, chipboard,ribbon,acrylic stamps…I love buying cheap scrapbook supplies…and I scrapbook almost daily!

  8. Deia says

    I agree with the above comments – scrapbooks should have actual scraps in them! I use all sorts of “real-life” items in my scrapbooks! Yes, most of it isn’t acid-free, but I bought a 6×6 pad of acid-free paper on clearance, and I use the colors/patterns I don’t like to create a backing for my photos. That way, they’re mounted on acid-free paper, and everything else on the page can be regular paper. I finish by putting the whole page in a plastic sleeve so it doesn’t touch the facing page.

    I’ve also found that you can buy embellishments in other parts of the store that, if they were marketed as a scrapbooking item, would be twice the price. I bought all my Christmas embellishments in the wrapping paper aisle of Wal-Mart the last week in December at 50% off.

    I like my pages to coordinate, so I will buy the “designer” papers now and then. I try to buy the large pads rather than single sheets because it’s much cheaper per page and I know I’ll use it. Michael’s typically has a 40% off coupon in their flyer, and Hobby Lobby typically has a printable coupon on their webpage. Also stores like Old Time Pottery and Big Lots carry scrapbooking stuff on occasion.

    Oh, yes! I nearly forgot – calendar pages make excellent backgrounds! They are typically 12×12, and you can get them dirt cheap this time of year.

  9. Becki says

    I also found a FABULOUS yard sale this year while on vacation-she was a Creative Memories consultant leaving the business-it was like a treasure hunt, and most things were 50-70% off. Paper, borders, punches…now I have a terrific stash!