Too Many Supplies

I was recently reading about ways to cut back and save money on my craft business. The story talked about having to many craft supplies.  The suggestions was to buy only what you need when you need it.

I thought about this and I don't know if I could only buy what I need at the time. On many occasion's my creative process is about pulling things out and trying to come up with good combinations.

Some of my supplies - I have 3 more full drawer sets just like this one
I understand how buying only what you need can be a cost saver.  I have lots of items I bought that I don't need, and even items where afterwards I'm like - what was I thinking.  It does not help that there are so many cool art supplies to purchase.

Some of the finding I started buying in bulk
Finding the balance between buying a few supplies at a time and having enough to spark my creativity will be a challenging one for me.  I am going to start buying my finding in quantities that will save me money by only buying the ones that I use regularly in bulk.

Are you good at buying only what you need when you need it? Have any money saving tips you would like to share?
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  1. For the past 2 years, that has been my New Year's Resolution. Only buy what I need to finish a project. It has done wonders on saving and I don't misplace the packages when I go to create something. It used to be I would start something, couldn't find "this" or "that" and run to town and buy more, only to find the new packages I had already purchased. They are always found in the plastic drawers where they were supposed to be. There was just too much in the drawers to find them.

    I think not having extra stuff on hand helps your creative process too. You have to think what you can make with only the materials on hand.

    I also can not go into Hobby Lobby even when I am in the town where it is located. That would be too hard on me! LOL


  2. Christie, you make a good point working with what you have is a great way to charge up your creative process.

    It will be hard for me, but I am going to try to not buy anything for a month and see what I can design new for my shop with what I have on hand.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. I don't have many different items to buy (since all my items are paper-based). I got a case of 10 reams of paper this past summer, and I suspect it will last me for a while (and it was on sale!).

    I also get books from the library in the school that my mom works at - when they're going to get rid of a book, instead of tossing it, they give it to me.

  4. I am getting much better at this. When I first started my business, I bought everything and anything, now I have a process. A lot of money has been saved!

  5. I bought something recently for paper crafts and I'm pleased to say I'm returning it to focus on jewelry.

    My supplies are from 1) Gem Shows I visited 1-3 years ago (like the kid in the candy store) and 2) sale items

    I'm proud that I did NOT go to a gem show last weekend.

    I also like to pull out supplies and come up with a design.

    If I stop buying and use what I have, I can challenge myself a little more, although I think my clients like classic designs a little more and not my funky designs.

  6. I told myself that I wasn't going to order any more fabric until I used up at least most of what I currently have . . . then I got my tax refund and decided to splurge - but just a little bit! It's really hard when you see new materials that inspire creativity. But I do need to find new ways to use the stuff I currently have before going out to find more. Sigh.

    Guess what - I just featured your shop and blog on my blog: http://www.oneinthehandblog.com/2011/02/featured-artist-additions.html

    :) Feel free to spread the word as you like . . .

  7. I find if I only bought stuff when I 'need' them, I would never buy anything. However, I do buy when running low on something. I have set aside a certain amont every month to buy whatever with, and if I want to spend more I have to save up. Hense, I can buy lots of extras if I want and still not feel bad for spending money. It is great.

  8. I agree with you- limiting your supplies is no easy feat. I think limiting impulse buys is a realistic goal. It's really hard though to come up with new ideas without anything on hand to speak of. I think, just like how a retail store carries lots of inventory, we have to have a lot of supplies on hand to inspire creativity:)

  9. Spending less on findings, beads, paper supplies and other crafting stuff is something that I think every artist struggles with. That is part of business too. That is why I try to REUSE as many items as I can and be observant of scraps and cast offs while I am creating jewelry. I even make my business cards out of card board boxes and cast off greeting cards.

  10. Yes, that's a problem. It can be quite expensive to be creative.
    Why don't you sell some of your supplies?

  11. It is interesting because you also hear the opposite--buying in bulk saves money, at least over time. So I could buy one yard of buckram to finish a hat or I can buy a roll of buckram which is way more expensive, but cheaper per yard. I really want to start doing more buying in bulk for basic supplies, but I never seem to have the upfront cash to do that.

    On the other hand, I often succumb to the "ooo pretty!" compulsion when I am in a craft store and so I definitely have a bunch of supplies I don't even have any plans for. I'm trying to cut down and that kind of spending.

  12. I am like the saying "my eyes are bigger than my stomach"
    I buy things that I need, but then don't have the time to get through all the projects I wanted to do with those things.
    Someday, I will use up my stash of yarns and fabrics on great items. But for now, I jsut run with my imagination.

  13. I need a LOT of supplies around when I create. It is an ongoing debate between my hubby and I. He says I am a hoarder, I say I am an artist and I need my stuff for when the muse hits! LOL!


  14. But, there is so much fab stuff to buy. You never know when you will need it.
    My studio looks just like the picture above.

  15. I'm torn here. I have a ridiculous quantity of beads and beading stuff. Like a serious massive pile. It's all wonderfully organized, but it's also a whole heck of a lot. I should work through at least half of what I have before I buy anything else.
    But. . .
    New supplies inspire me to make new stuff.
    I'm addicted.

  16. I started off only buying what I need when I need it, but I think I spend more money that way! Now I try to buy in bulk, and less often, but Michael's siren call usually lures me over there more often than not...


Your thoughts and ideas are an important part of the conversation, thanks for sharing!