What’s better than making jewelry? How about saving money while you’re doing it? Beads, wire, stones and tools can add up to a mighty sum. Jewelry tools and jewelry supplies can add up to a small fortune if you let it. Here are some great ideas for saving money on beads and such.
1. Shop Around and Do Some Research.
It’s good to shop around and see where the deals are. Us creative folks tend to be quite loyal, but there is nothing wrong with looking outside your usual supplier for your beading needs. There are a lot of great sources online, and be sure to sign up for newsletters to get those money saving email notices.
2. Buy in Bulk When You Can.
Buying in bulk can save you a bundle. This doesn’t only apply to rice and toilet paper. You’d be amazed of how much you can save by buying a certain amount of beads, wire, chain… My favorite supplier has deals at certain price points for beads, and if you are buying sterling silver or gold sheet or wire, I don’t have to tell you about the bulk price breaks there, do I? You’ll need this stuff eventually, so in the long run, you save time too!
3. Watch for Garage Sales.
Other people’s junk can be a jewelry maker’s treasure. Don’t necessarily look at an item “as is”. Remember that everything can be taken apart and used for its spareparts.
Old costume jewelry necklaces for example can be taken apart and components can be reused. What about old watches? The Steampunk movement has made watch parts a hot commodity. Even if you don’t do the Steampunk thing yourself, you can barter watch parts with another crafter to get stuff she doesn’t need, but you do!
4. Check out Thrift stores.
Other than bell-bottoms and romance novels, there are other great finds in those mothball-smelling treasure troves. They are one of the best places to find old costume jewelry, and I’m talking CHEAP! And if you’re really lucky and determined, you might even find some actual vintage pieces.
5. Think Outside of the Bead Box.
As my 6-yewar-old daughter says, we need to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle more. Jewelry can literally be made out of anything, so look around. Bits of ribbon, bottle caps, game pieces, and those old watches once again… getting creative will save you money and result in a truly one-of-a-kind piece.
6. Shop at the Hardware Store instead of the Bead Store.
If you need wire, chains, links and the like, head to the source! Amid countless racks, rolls and hardware bins you will find jewelry fixings at rock-bottom prices. My favorite hardware store jewelry supply is black annealed steel wire in 18 gauge. There’s usually a good supply of copper wire in different gauges at my local harware store too. You will also find other things you can’t live without, such as storage bins and baskets, small hand tools, and soldering equipment.
7. Barter and Trade.
Don’t forget the best way to get stuff for free – by trading your worthless junk for someone else’s treasure. Of course what’s worthless to one isn’t to another, so those beads and wire that you hate might be just the ticket for someone else. There are many jewelry making forums online that have a “barter board”. See if you can’t find someone to trade with there.
8. Group Buys
Another ways to save money is to buy in bulk with others. If you don’t need 5 troy ounces of sterling silver wire but still want that price break, see if you can find someone to go in with you. If you are part of a Bead Society that is a great place to inquire. You can also post classified ads, look on jewelry making forums, or post the request on twitter to see if you can find some thrifty buying partners.
9. Ask for Supplies for Christmas or Your Birthday
Have you ever gotten a birthday gift that just wasn’t all that useful to you? What about that ugly vase or those Halloween seasonal towels that you never remember to take out during the Halloween season. People often hate trying to find the “perfect gift” and would love to have you tell them what you’d like. Don’t be shy with friends and family. They would rather get you something you love and enjoy than buy you another Santa mug at Christmas. Once they know you want bead store gift cards, they’ll be thrilled to not have to think about what to get you.
As you can see, there are tons of ways to save money if you are resourceful. Don’t get stuck thinking you can’t afford the good stuff, because you can if you take some extra effort.