Scrapbooking Does Not have to Cost a Small Fortune – Frugal Confessions

Scrapbooking Does Not have to Cost a Small Fortune

I love to scrapbook. There is something about popping in a comfort movie and organizing my life into a book to be enjoyed throughout the rest of my years. And it’s not just about organizing photos into a photo album for me; I get to use my creative side and really bring the memories to life on a page. This love of mine began back when I became the Chester County Dairy Princess at age 16. One of the requirements aside from the pageant, interviews, and seminars was to maintain a scrapbook of my reign that included all of the public relations I was involved in throughout the year. This scrapbook was then judged at the statewide pageant, which gave me a lot of motivation to learn the craft. My sister, the Dairy Princess before me, was especially good at scrapbooking, and she taught me a trick or two. After this, I made a scrapbook of my trip to Spain, my trips to London and Japan, a scrapbook to Paul for his Navy Days and our early relationship as a gift, and a few other scrapbooks as gifts.

The downside to scrapbooking is the potential cost involved. Anyone who has perused the scrapbook aisle at the local craft store can attest to the hundreds of stickers, tools, albums, and other neat mementos available for purchase at costs that can quickly add up. Over the last few weeks I have been working on an all-in-one pre-wedding, wedding, and honeymoon scrapbook, and thought I could offer a few insights on how to save money on your own scrapbooking adventures.

Save Mementos

One of the ways I love to bring memories alive without costing anything extra is by saving mementos. Some of my favorite items are ticket stubs, napkins/cardboard bar coasters, matchbooks, ribbons, flowers you can dry, maps, business cards, invitations, labels, old passports, luggage tags with old addresses, receipts, rip out a pocket from a favorite pair of jeans you can no longer use and stash some of these mementos inside, etc. You don’t need to worry about the bulkiness mementos will add to a page because you can purchase extenders for screws on the scrapbook.

Get Free Prints

One of the ways I save the most money on scrapbooking is by getting the majority of my prints for free. I’ve detailed in an article before about some great deals where if you sign up for a new account with a photo service, you score free prints. Several of these services give you the option of picking the prints up at a local store, so you might even get free shipping. I know that Shutterfly in particular offers free prints throughout the year, so be sure to check your inbox.

Purchase Half-Off Supplies

If you shop for your scrapbook supplies as you go, then you can always use a 40% off coupon for the craft stores (Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, etc.). These are found in the Sunday paper, by signing up for emails, or on their websites, and most craft stores will accept competitor coupons.  Also, each craft store has a week where all scrapbook supplies are on sale for 40-50% off anyway—it would be great to wait until this week so that you can still purchase everything in one trip, but get it at a great discount.

Media Clippings

You can add context very cheaply to scrapbooks by clipping a newspaper article, internet article, or magazine article of an event that is very prominent or helps to tell the story. For example, in my Japan scrapbook, I have a newspaper clipping from the first earthquake I felt (this was the first earthquake in my life). And in our wedding scrapbook, I am adding an article about the volcano eruption in Iceland, since this occurred two days before we got married and caused us to postpone our honeymoon for half a year.

Add Some Journaling

Another way to really bring memories alive is to add little notes about what your life is like at the moment. At our farm our ancestors were pack rats, and so we have wonderful collections of magazines, newspapers, bottles, hair tonic, journals, etc. from hundreds of years ago. One of the most fascinating reads is a journal simply because they list the cost of items at the grocery store, the weather, crops planted, and other seemingly mundane items from everyday life. Capture your day to day life (in the future, it won’t be the humdrum, but rather a precious time for you) by taking a page to list your likes/dislikes, what your schedule looks like at the time, your transportation, your address, favorite places to eat, and really anything that you are into at the time. For our wedding album, I also used the back of our invitations to have Paul and I both write out the story of how he proposed.

Background Paper

There are so many varieties of gorgeous papers in the craft store, and they can cost $0.19-$2.49 each. I like to purchase paper that can be two-sided to immediately cut some of my costs while still enjoying the fancy pages. It is also nice to have a mix between fancy pages and homemade ones where you really get to use some creativity. White paper can be tea-stained for aging, used as a background for mementos, you can dress it up with ribbons from gifts, cut-outs from color paper, you can stamp it with your baby or child’s footprints/handprints, make a page of magazine clippings, glue old scrabble pieces onto it, glue seashells, grab some lipstick and leave kisses along the edges, paint your own hand or thumb and leave prints on a page, etc. You can also use the following as background paper for your photos: gift bags (just cut along the seam), paper bags (again, cut along the seam), newspapers (perhaps the comic section), wrapping paper on hand, draw and/or color with crayons, paints, or anything else on hand, etc.

A Few Other Cost-Saving Measures

I have just a few more suggestions. If you print out smaller photos, then you can fit more per page. The bonus is that the smaller sized photos optimize digital prints anyway (if you have a digital camera). I have always purchased the actual scrapbook from a craft store with a coupon, but for our wedding album I actually snagged a beautiful book from CVS on clearance for $4.99, so you might want to keep your eye out in other places. Not every page needs to be a masterpiece; you can add in pages of white with photos among the mix and cut down on costs while finding a good balance. Finally, always keep scrapbook scraps from previous projects (random stickers, leftover sheets, cut-outs, etc.) as you never know when you can use them next.

In an increasingly digital age, I find it more important now than ever to save my memories in a tangible format. Who knows, perhaps all of my scrapbooks will someday be put into the attic at the farm as well, and some of my ancestors will find them one day while perusing the stacks.

P.S. Some of you might not be into paper scrapbooking; for those of you who enjoy digital, there is also digital scrapbooking. Could be a lot of fun!

4 comments… add one

  • I’ve never kept a scrapbook, but based on how you’ve described it, it sounds like fun. It looks like a very therapeutic activity, and I might just try it. Love your photos.
    Anthony Thompson recently posted..Self Manager – How to Cultivate Your Creativity in a Noncreative World

    • FruGal

      Hi Anthony!

      Thank you–it’s really putting a smile on my face to work on this.

  • Congrats on the Dairy Queen win!!! I’m impressed :). I love crafts. I usually fill my creative urges through home decorating and household projects. I’m way behind on the digital photo albums I make from my photos.
    Barbara Friedberg recently posted..A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A TRADER

    • FruGal

      Thank you!

      You do digital scrapbooking? I have been curious about it, but never tried it out before. Do you use a website, or software?

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge