Frugal Friday - Stamps

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hello there!  Thanks for stopping by for another Frugal Friday.  If you are new to Frugal Friday, click here to read what it's all about.  So far we've covered PAPER and INK, and today we are going to be sharing some of my opinions on STAMPS.

I've been blogging for about two and a half years now and I don't think I've ever had more than 15 stamp sets at a time.  Here's a picture of the stamps I have right now:
Right now I have 11 Papertrey Ink sets, 2 Stampin' Up, and 2 Hero Arts sets.  I do have a few individual stamps that I didn't include in my total.  I also didn't include any stamps that I received for being on design teams, which are just a few.

My stamps fall into 3 basic categories: All Occasion, Must Have, and Special Occasion.  Let's go into the details of these categories, shall we?

All Occasion
This is pretty much the category that 95% of my stamp sets fall under.  These are sets that can be used for Birthdays, Babies, Thank Yous, Weddings, Anniversary, Sympathy, Hello, I love you, Congrats, etc. -all in one set! I gravitate toward these sets because I know I will get the biggest bang for my buck.  They are usually not trendy and most likely will not be going out of style anytime soon.  Here is one of my favorite all occasion sets:
Signature Greetings by Papertrey Ink
I've been able to use this stamp set for the obvious occasions, but also Father's Day, Mother's Day, and Graduation.  I don't ever really find myself not having the right stamp for the occasion.

Must Have
These are the sets that you see and instantly fall in love with.  Here is the one big piece of advice I have regarding buying stamp sets just because you like them.  Do not buy a set of stamps when you only truly LOVE one or two stamps.  Be realistic about how you are going to use each stamp.  I have been known to go to Michaels with a gift card and coupon, stare at the sets for half an hour, and walk away with NOTHING.  I have learned the hard lesson of buying a set of 10-15 stamps and only using one or two.  Here's one set that I love and had to have the moment I saw it:
Pocket Silhouettes by Stampin' Up

I think flowers are one of those all-occasion type of images that you can use on pretty much any card, except masculine ones, of course.  

Special Occasion
I only have two of these types of stamp sets right now.  They are sets I bought with a specific occasion in mind.  The first one is a Christmas Set that I was able to use for my 60+ holiday cards I made, plus I was able to use it from Sept-Dec.   The other set is below and I bought this when I had a group of pregnant friends the were expecting boys.  I bought this set with the idea of making baby boy cards, but it would also work to make baby girl cards as well.  This set makes a cute kid card as well.
Precious Baby Boy by Hero Arts

What do you do with your stamps after you've grown sick of them?  I sell them on Ebay.  Then, I use that money to buy new stamps.  It's kind of an endless cycle.  I know I'm not going to have the same 15 sets forever.  That would be so boring.  But, I know I'm also not going to be ordering the "I want it all" package on release night.  It's just not practical, even though I may want it all.  

Since I submit a lot of cards to magazines, I can't use any stamps that are retired.  When I first started submitting my cards, I found that a lot of my Stampin' Up sets (I pretty much had only SU at the time) retired at the same time.  I was able to sell all of them and buy stamps from companies that don't retire their stamps.  Sometimes you can sell retired sets for more than you paid for them!!!

If you are on a tight budget like me, trade stamps with a friend for a few weeks.  My sister-in-law loves making cards (and Papertrey Ink) as much as I do and we borrow each others stamps quite a bit.  It's the best of both worlds. I get to use the stamps like but not have to pay for them.  

Digital stamps are also worth mentioning.  You can find a lot of FREE images out there.  You can resize and print them out as many times as you want.  I don't think all stamps will be digital in the future, but if they are FREE, you have nothing to lose.

If you like a particular brand of stamps, know all the places you can buy them.  Subscribe to newsletters so you know when they are on sale or when they are offering a coupon where you can get your stamps at a discount.  Combine your order with a friend to save on shipping.  Don't forget to use coupons at Michaels, JoAnn's and Hobby Lobby.  

Stamps are one of the most expensive parts of card making.  Spend your money wisely on stamps that will give you the most mileage, the most bang for your buck.  

Thanks so much for listening to all that!  I hope there were a few helpful tips in there for you.  Next week we'll be talking about EMBELLISHMENTS!

PS.  I would love to answer any questions you may have or share your suggestions!  Just leave them in the comments section.  Thanks!  I love hearing from you!!!
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Bonita Rose July 2, 2010 at 12:22 PM  

great post gf.. and yes SIGNATURE GRETTINGS by pti is one of my faves too! I too always think about how much will I use this set?? before I choose to spend my hard earned money buying it... Great advice!

Judy Miller July 2, 2010 at 1:20 PM  

Hi Dana, It's me again. Great post. Now you are making me think about my tons of stamps that I have, mostly SU, that I haven't use for some time. I'm going to clean out my stamp collection and get some $$ so I can get the PTI Signature Greetings, I think that is a perfect set. I'm on a tight budget now and have to be frugal about the stuff I buy. I'm being good about using up the stuff I have now to make cards and not buying anything new unless I really need it. Thanks for helping me get cleaned up in my craft room. Until next time.

Rachel July 2, 2010 at 1:42 PM  

Great idea Dana! I need to really purge what I am no longer using.

Basement Stamper July 2, 2010 at 5:54 PM  

I wish I had success getting rid of some of these SU stamps that I haven't open the case on in years. I still have far too many stamps, but I use a lot of them too. Great article!

Maureen Merritt July 4, 2010 at 6:30 AM  

I do the same thing!! I don't have a ton of stamps, but I buy, use, sell!! It's a great way to update the supply w/out breaking the budget :)

JenE July 4, 2010 at 12:41 PM  

Great advise once again Dana..thanks! I don't have many stamps but the ones I do have I really think about before purchasing them. Like you said, will I really use all of them or just a few. I've been toying w/buying some PTI stamps but I'm trying to figure out which ones I'd use most often. I scrap more then card making but if I had the right stamps, I'd probably make more cards!

Anonymous July 9, 2010 at 9:51 PM  

Hi Dana! thanks for all your advice;
I have wasted a lot of money on stamps that I do not use. My budget is very tight but I couldn't resist buying some stamps from PTI. I was wondering which sets you have?

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