The scrapbook expo is coming to town and most likely to a town near you too! Click the link above to get the dates and locations of the expo for this year.
I've been going to this expo almost every year for the last 12+ years. I've been pressed for time and had a crafting budget each time I've gone. I'd like to share with you a few tips from my experience to help you have an enjoyable experience, stay within budget, get supplies that you will actually use, and did I say stay within your budget? Check out my video below. The tips I mentioned are listed out here in my post. I hope this is helpful for you, especially if this may be your first time visiting the expo. Please let me know if you go to the expo and how much you enjoyed it. I'd love to read your comments about it.
CLICK HERE to see my original post on what to expect at the expo as well as my original tips from 2012. The tips I shared in today's post is more up to date with the 2015 Expo in mind.
TIP #1: Shop around online before the expo to get an idea of prices. See what is the 'normal' cost of paper, stickers, stamps, etc. That way when you're at the expo you'll know more for sure what is a good deal and what may not be a good deal. Also, if it's available online for a cheaper price - you'll know so you don't buy it at the expo. Here are a few online stores to check out.
SIMON SAYS STAMP
TIP #2: Look for coupons. You have to sign up for the expo newsletter on the scrapbook expo website in order to get coupons. They will email you with the coupons before the expo, so be sure to check your inbox before you leave. Read the entire coupon since there are usually limitations or certain amount you have to spend before the coupon could be redeemed. The website also will list nearby craft stores that may have a discount coupon for admission. Michael's also carry these. Call ahead of time to see if they have any before you make the trip.
TIP #3: Wear comfortable shoes and comfortable clothing. A light jacket if necessary - one that is light and can fit in your bag so you don't have to carry it. You will be bending down to look at things and possibly squeezing between people. You don't want to have any wardrobe malfunctions or mishaps. Be sure you're comfortable to shop and have your hands free not holding your jacket. You will get hot, especially if your expo is during the summer.
TIP #4: Bring water and snacks. There are booths with snacks there, but why spend your money on food when you can buy more paper?! Bring your own snacks and drink so you can continue to shop comfortably and not have to use your time getting food.
TIP #5: Bring a backpack or a large fabric shopping bag that fits 12x12 papers. It is much more enjoyable to shop with your hands free. Purses tend to fall off your shoulder or hit people or products hanging in the booth. Try to downsize your purse to be just your wallet and snacks. You can use the fabric bag to put your purchases in without having to have a bunch of plastic bags in your hands. If you plan on buying 12x12 paper, be sure your bag can fit it without bending your paper.
TIP #6: Bring cash - small bills. Most booths accept credit and debit cards but there are fees if your purchase is less that $10 or $15 dollars. Most scrapping products, like paper and buttons and such are less than $1. So having cash is nice for those small purchases. Plus you avoid the fees. Also, some booths have a separate register just for cash and you can get out of there much faster since most people do not bring cash. Cash can help you stay in your budget too.
TIP #7: Make a shopping list with your budget on it. I'll explain how to create this list so you don't get overwhelmed and hopefully don't buy things on impulse because it's pretty. You'll see so many cute things but you can't possibly buy it all. So have this list ready with your reminder of budget to help you control the "cute impulse shopping". Scroll down to see my suggestions for making a shopping list.
TIP #8: If possible, try not to bring small children. There is not much space for strollers and there are a bunch of small products hanging or on tables that could be easily knocked over by little hands. I think you will enjoy your experience more without the little ones. Plus standing watching a demonstration with a little one is definitely a challenge. Find yourself a sitter and see if you can pay with some cute paper. =)
TIP #9: Rolling shopping carts are not allowed - only for the classes. There is a baggage check available, if you happen to buy something heavy or if your bags are becoming a burden to carry. Use this baggage check if you need to.
Shopping list tips:
These are tips and suggestions based on my own personal experiences. You are free to ignore me if you choose.
A shopping list helps you to do a few things:
- manage your spending
- keep your focus so you're not overwhelmed
- helps you get products you will use not stash or hoard
Example: I'm scrapbooking my vacation to Hawaii. I have lots of Hawaiian or tropical papers, but no embellishments. So on my list I will put "tropical/Hawaiian embellishments".
This will prevent me from buying paper that I may not ever use or end up in my 'stash' that gets stuck there until our next vacation.
Another tip is to think about the items you may have said to yourself that "I'll need to get more of that", or "I just used the last of that". Replenish your stash of products you frequently use or have used up. These items that you 'need more of' are definitely worth price checking online first - so you can look for deals at the expo or know to wait to order online instead.
If you've been browsing the web and saw particular products like stamps sets, paper pads, stickers, etc. Jot down the brand name and product name, and if you can, jot down the price. That way you get to compare prices and remember the items you had on your online wish list and don't regret not getting it at the expo. Plus, you save on shipping by getting them at the expo. REMINDER: some new collections will not be available for retail sales at the time of the expo. Don't be disappointed if the newest collections are not there.
If you have a budget, write that down on the top of your list. If you feel the urge to splurge on something, you can see if you got most items on your list or not...and how much you have spent already. Then you can make a better decision if you are to splurge or not.
Of course, you can deviate from your list once you get there. But at least you have a guide of sorts and a reminder of what you 'need' vs what you may want - and you are reminded of your budget. This year, budget is especially important for me to stay within, so I will be extra picky on what I buy. But using these tips especially with my shopping list, has allowed me to leave the expo without spending more that $30-$40. Now that's truly something for us scrapbookers, right?!
Leave me a comment on your experience at the expo this year and any tips that you have from your own experiences. I hope I was able to help you stay in budget and have a fun shopping experience at the expo. Happy shopping!