Blogging is hard. It takes a lot of determination, ambition, and discipline. When you first start blogging, it can feel like you’re never going to make it. You spend hours thinking of ideas, making them come to life, and then *crickets*. Nothing. Sigh.
As a DIY blogger, I was ready to give up on blogging after 2 months. I found myself spending a lot of money on projects, and not seeing any money actually coming in for me. Blogging was actually making me broke! I kept thinking, what is the point to this hobby?? It wasn’t ’til I had a casual conversation with Melyssa sometime in May last year, when she made me realize that we all spend money on our hobbies, and this was the hobby I wanted to spend my money on. It was something really simple that stuck with me. Since then, I’ve learned a few tricks to save myself a few doll hairs. It’s taken a while to learn what works for me, but hopefully I can save you some time (and money!) with these tips if you’re just starting out as a DIY blogger.
1. Beg, Borrow, Steal.
K, so don’t actually steal anything, but definitely keep your eyes open for treasures you might be able to borrow from friends and family. If you stage photos often for recipes or DIY projects, you will probably agree that staring at and photographing the same props over and over again gets really old. In an ideal world, I’d own a crazy amount of cake stands, table cloths, vintage plates, and vases, so that I can switch them out often for photos and projects. Unfortunately, I am not Beyoncé and do not own a home big enough to store these things (or have a large enough wallet to afford said things!). Instead, I borrow certain items from my mom and aunts. They always have the best stuff and I can borrow with confidence because they’re my family, and it’s completely free! Using other people’s pretty plates and bowls not only makes you feel like you’ve got something fun and exciting to work with, it also makes the person you borrowed from feel pretty great too! I love being able to share the finished photos with my mamma after I’ve used some of her stuff. She gets a kick out of it and it’s really cute.
2. Keep a detailed list of what you already own.
I’m the worst at keeping my shiz together. I’m constantly losing my scissors, and I own more hot glue guns than is acceptable because I lose mine every other month. I also tend to forget what I already own. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve strolled through a craft store, picked up more glue “just in case” and gotten home to find 5 other unopened glue bottles. Talk about a waste of money. To keep myself from making these unnecessary purchases over and over again, I started a list on my Evernote app. In it I keep notes on all the basics I already have, what I need more of, and which products are my favorite to work with. Evernote is my favorite app to organize this because I can bullet point everything, and I can also leave direct links in my notes to coupons for the things I continually buy.
3. Know your 99 Cent Stores.
Dollar stores are my favorites for picking up fun seasonal items to work with. At $1 per product, you can really let your mind explore! Did you know that certain dollar stores take coupons, too? It’s true. Do your research on your local dollar stores! 99 Cent Only Stores will take manufacturer coupons for Elmer’s Glue, Scotch Tape, and many other basics. Dollar Tree and smaller dollar stores don’t take coupons. When it’s things you’re constantly buying, a few dollars saved at a time will really add up.
4. Stack your coupons.
It’s not often that Michael’s has “20% off entire purchase” coupons, but when they do, I like to stock up on as many specialty craft items as possible. When these coupons are available, don’t forget to stack as many as you can! Michael’s won’t advertise it, but you can still use your “40% off one item” coupon along with any special coupons they have available. Instead of looking directly at their site, I check the Retail-Me-Not app to figure out what the best coupons are. Also, this is an obvious tip that doesn’t need it’s own section-ALWAYS use coupons at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby! ALWAYS!
5. Give your projects new life.
Sometimes you get a crazy project started and you’re so excited and proud when you’re done. After everyone has swooned over it on social media, you’re left with something totally awesome…but not really functional. Example: I wanted to practice making pinatas a while ago and got really carried away. After a day I had 3 medium sized pinatas taking over my very tiny room. Instead of trashing them (I am not a monster, after all!), I took them to my local Boys & Girls Club. My cute pinatas provided their kids with an afternoon of fun and it made me feel less crazy for having made so many! Sometimes it’s fun just to make things, even if they don’t really serve a purpose in your life, and that’s okay! That’s what creativity is all about, really! Realistically though, it can make you feel like you’re wasting a ton of money. So give your projects a new life by donating them somewhere, gifting them to friends, or hosting a giveaway on social media (if you’re down to pay for the shipping, that is!).
6. Keep your head in the game.
Raise your hand if you’ve gone to a craft store with a list in hand, totally determined to buy only what you need, and ended up leaving with a pound of confetti, a ton of artificial flowers, and a weird amount of ink pads. *raises hand* I’m like a kid when I go to craft stores, it’s so fun to wander! Unfortunately that’s when you end up with a ton of random items that don’t really serve a purpose. When I go in to buy things for a certain post, I force myself to shop off my list first, and then I give myself permission to browse for a bit. To keep myself from getting lost in there for too long, I set a timer. It limits my spending and makes me feel more in control of what I’m doing.
What are some of your tips for saving money as a DIY blogger? What’s worked best for you?
p.s. DIY Edge-Painted Business Cards