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Going Broke Buying Arts & Craft Supplies? Use These Money-Saving Tips

woman selecting yarn in a craft store
frantic00/Shutterstock

Whether you’re crafting for fun or you’re a professional artist, arts and craft supplies can add up. There are plenty of ways to keep from breaking the bank; you just need to know where to look for savings.

The Good and Bad of Brick and Mortar Craft Stores

Let’s start with the big craft stores, like Michael’s and Hobby Lobby. Whether you’re hitting up JoAnn’s for some fabric or you need some jewelry making supplies, the bigger store will carry with them some of the higher prices. Then again, there are locally-owned hobby and craft stores that may be even pricier. It helps to shop around.

Your local chain craft stores will offer some benefits—From member’s rewards to great sale prices. Make sure to shop the clearance sections. Use coupons, even if you find them through an app like RetailMeNot.

Look for craft outlet stores as well. If you’re lucky enough to have an outlet store that focuses on crafts in your area, you can find excellent discounts every day, as well as additional sale prices with coupons.

Four things to remember when shopping at craft stores in person:

  • Find out about rewards memberships (which will get you more coupons).
  • Look for coupons for the items you need before you head to the store.
  • Check their sales adds to get the most for your money.
  • Look at the clearance aisle as well as the back endcaps in each aisle to find all of the clearance items.

Online Craft Stores May Offer Better Benefits

There are online options for artists and crafters, and they often offer much better bargains. Of course, you don’t get to see the quality of an item until you have it in your hands, so it’s important to look at customer reviews.

Oriental Trading Company has a plethora of craft supplies, for creators of all ages. Some of their items are of better quality than others, but they have reasonable prices. They offer coupon codes regularly.

Darice is a crafter and artist’s dream website with wholesale pricing. You don’t have to have a business license to get their great deals, and with a membership as a crafter, you get free shipping on top of the low prices. You do have to order in bulk, but that’s beneficial if your art and crafts are made for resale.

Wish.com is stocked full of some amazing craft supplies, as well. Many of the items on this site ship from China. It’s another site where you definitely want to read reviews before you order.

Three things to remember when you’re shopping online for craft supplies:

  • Look for online coupon codes.
  • Find out if they offer wholesale pricing to makers without legitimate businesses.
  • Don’t forget to find out where your items will be shipping from, so you know how long you’ll be waiting for supplies.

Check the Big Box and Dollar Stores

Not all big box stores have noticeable sections of arts and crafts supplies, but some offer significant deals on what they do have. Walmart is a great option for affordable craft supplies, whether you’re sewing or gluing things together. They have a wide array of yarn, fabric, kid’s craft supplies, and jewelry making supplies. They also have a decent collection of craft display supplies and lots of paints and canvases.

Dollar stores also offer a great place for discounted arts and crafts supplies. It’ll vary by store, but you can find canvases, beads, and even stuff for creating floral arrangements at Dollar Tree. Locally-owned dollar stores also have craft supplies, which may be more than $1 each, but will still help you save money over the cost of buying at Michael’s.

Buy Your Arts and Crafts Supplies Used

You can find used supplies online and off. Here’s a breakdown of some of the best places to find used arts and crafts supplies.

Thrift Stores

Thrift stores are an excellent place to come across art supplies of all kinds. Plenty of folks try out new hobbies only to find it doesn’t work for them, or they just don’t have the time for crafting. What do they do with the stuff they aren’t using? They donate it to local thrift stores.

Not all thrift stores are created equal when it comes to what they sell or how they price stuff, so it’s important to know the retail prices of the things you look for. Watch for deals and pass on overpriced supplies you can get for new. Of course, you’ll come across brand new supplies at thrift stores as well.

Rummage Sales

Rummage sale season is a great time to look for craft supplies. You’ll find much the same stuff as you do at thrift stores, for varying prices. You’ll want to follow the same rules as with thrift stores—Watch prices and know how much the stuff you shop for is worth brand new.

eBay

eBay is often one of the cheapest online shopping options out there. You can find new and used goods posted for sale on this shopping site. You will find “buy it now” items and stuff you’ll have to bid on.

The best deals on eBay are those that come with free or low shipping. Check prices in other places before locking onto something on eBay, just to make sure you’re getting the best price possible.

Etsy

Etsy used to be strictly for vintage and handmade items. Now you can find craft and art supplies for sale as well. As a creative, you know that it’s easy to stock up on more stuff than you’ll ever use, and Etsy is a great outlet to make some money back on all of your extra stuff (and buy other people’s extras).

Again, check around for prices and make sure you’re getting the best bargain. Many sellers in the United States of free shipping on purchases of $35 or more. If you’re buying in bulk, or need a lot of different items from one seller, that free shipping can save you a good deal of money.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow has been a professional writer for almost two decades. Yvonne has worked for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and much more as a writer and editor. She's also a published poet and a short story writer. Read Full Bio »

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