Where Do I Spend My Scrapbooking Dollars?

This entry is part 34 of 37 in the series Minimalist Scrapbooking

In the comments section on my most recent post at Scrapbook Update, I was accused of not supporting Local Scrapbook Stores. I find this really troubling. I started out working in a Local Scrapbook Store. Besides the accusation being untrue, it missed the point of the post.

It did get me thinking about where my scrapbook dollars are spent. I’ve spent the last year keeping track of how much money I spend on scrapbooking and where it is spent. I report here each month how much I spend but my focus has been on the dollar amount. I have not been paying close attention to where those dollars are spent, though that information has been tracked.

Today, I created a spreadsheet of where my dollars have been spent from April 2011 (when I first started keeping track to today, May 24, 2012). You can read my most recent post and get links to all posts on the subject here.

Here’s where my scrapbook dollars have been spent:

Big Box Stores

Includes Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, JoAnn’s

Total: $148.50

Photo printing and photobooks

Includes Walgreens, CVS, Shutterfly, Snapfish, scrapbookpictures.com, persnickity.com, blurb.com

Total: $170.93

Local Scrapbook Stores

Total: $309.34

Online Education 

Includes Big Picture Classes, Balzar Designs, Ali Edwards, Ella Publishing, Get it Scrapped, Shimelle

Total: $254

Online Stores

Includes Technique Tuesday, EK Success, Scrapbooks Etc., Crafty Steals, ITunes, Amazon, Creative Memories, Stop and Scrap, Two Peas, Scrapbook.com, Adobe

Total: $528.27

Neither Big Box nor LSS (i.e., Archiver’s)

Total: $160.03

Random Offline Shopping

Includes: hardware stores, tourist shops, office supply stores

Total: $52.12

What does this really mean?

My online shopping totals are misleading. It includes purchases to Creative Memories (through my consultant who lives several hundred miles from me), mom and pop operations like Technique Tuesday, things that can only be bought online (like a kindle version of Scrapbook Workshop), a couple of purchases from big box online retailers  (Two Peas, Scrapbook.com), and computer software (Lightroom). I shopped so randomly for physical product online that I opted to lump all of these purchases together. It’s imperfect, but does make it my highest dollar amount on the list.

My big box retail shopping mostly included things that my LSS either didn’t carry or I was not willing to make a special trip there just to see (about 50 miles roundtrip). This includes paint brushes, speedy ball, and peacock feathers. Go ahead, judge me for betraying my LSS.

A large portion of my online purchases were for classes. Could I take these at my LSS? I could take classes at my LSS, but not the classes I bought and it’s not just because some were taught by industry leaders like Ali Edwards. Even if my LSS offered these classes, I most likely would not take them there. I have a full-time job and an almost 4-year-old in addition to other obligations. I need a class that I can take at 5 in the morning. Seriously. This is when I watch the videos to the classes I take.

My photo printing involves major corporations (shutterfly) and small operations (persnickity). I tend to go with the big guys when they run a really good sale or I need prints right now (hello, Walgreens and CVS). My favorite has to be Persnickity. I can get unusual-sized photos, which I like.

Is shopping outside of an LSS destroying local scrapbook stores? 

Sometimes, but this by far is not the only contributing factor to why some LSS close. That’s another post for another day.

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  • Jersey Girl Anne

    I was really sorry to see your post at Scrapbook turned around like it was.The whole idea for the post was totally missed. I shopped my LLS when it was still open as much as possible. They had many things that the big box stores would never carry. But when I have a 50% off coupon ,I go to the box store to but adhesive etc!! I thought the article was very thought provoking and totally understand how LSS  usually are not up/or are behind on trends and it is so true that that is important.  I enjoy your posts so keep it up!!!

  • Renee J.

    Stephanie, thank you for sharing your thoughts.  I find that I shop for scrapbooking supplies in various places like you do.  Cost and the distance to which I have to travel definitely factor in to my decision as to where I purchase my goodies!

    Oh, I would love to read a post on the last topic you mentioned.  I know that it will be interesting!

  • Thanks for the feedback and following me onto this post. It was definitely a good experience and is helping really get to know who the audience is at Scrapbook Update. I did recently use a 50% off coupon for some of the Jolee’s Boutique French General. They did have a tiny selection of this at my LSS, but I had extreme sticker shock: $20 for the big package of buttons and notions…nearly a dollar/piece. Then I went to my big box and it was half the price, plus I had the coupon. That made it a price point I could handle. I’d rather save the $15 and maybe I can put that towards a crop at my LSS this summer (of course I’ve been wanting to do this for a couple of years now…).

  • Thanks for the comment. I think I might write that post…so much to think about with why LSS close, while others remain open and open in the first place.

  • Mandy

    I don’t know if I would be as “into” scrapbooking if I didn’t have the local store less than 1o minutes from me. But, I don’t buy everything there. Most of my paper, stickers, and other embellishments come from there, but my more expensive items, that I know would be more expensive there, or that I know they do not carry, have come from bigger box stores (with coupons) or Ebay. Now that I am thinking about it, a lot of my stuff has come from Ebay.

  • Thanks for commenting. I probably would not have become so involved had I never worked in a store unless I lived close to an LSS. It’s just so hard to say how involved I would have become. 

  • Hodgewv

    I was one who noted that you wrote that you did not go to your lss much anymore.  It was not an accusation.  It is what you wrote-period.  One other point that really bothers me is all these people assuming that the lss is behind and not in touch with the newest and greatest products.  I spend hours going through catalogs and I attend the CHA events.  If I was not in touch I would not have been in business for 7 years with a Michaels, Hobby Lobby and AC Moore within one and a half miles.

  • Thanks for commenting. I think there is a difference between a store being out of touch or not following trends and not having what a particular customer wants on any given day. I think that’s an important point. I see a great deal of diversity at local scrapbook stores, which is what makes them so fun to visit when I’m traveling. I know what I can get at the big box stores for the most part. I rarely visit those stores “just to see what they have,” but I do that with LSS, even the one or two I frequent most often when I think I don’t need anything. 

    You’re right, I do shop at them less than I used to, and there are several reasons for that, which I discussed in the post at SU. Please realize, that I used to work in an LSS, so I could visit an LSS on a weekly basis and it would still be less than what I once did. Customer’s life circumstances change and their scrapbooking styles and reasons change.      My point there and here is that all customers are not the same and to treat them all as the same does them and the hobby a disservice.