Saturday, March 1, 2008

Craft Store Savings

In preparation for the wedding, I've been frequenting craft stores far more than I usually do. I'm going to be make my own wedding invitations, programs, and pew bows. I could have just gone in and bought everything I needed at once. However, the two big craft stores in my area (Michael's and AC Moore) have 40% off coupons in their weekly sales flyers that come in the newspaper. At both stores, the coupon is only good for one regularly priced item. Doing a little comparison shopping, I've discovered that AC Moore has lower prices for the same products that Michael's has. So, of course, AC Moore is my new favorite store!

Here are some tips on how to make the most out of saving at the craft store, especially when you have more than one item to buy:

1. Plan in advance. Since these coupons don't let you take 40% off of your entire purchase, I've been only buying one item at a time. It's taking some time to get everything I need, but it's worth the wait.

2. Take other people with you to the store. Since you can only use one coupon per person per day, on some trips to AC Moore, I've gotten help from friends and family members who have been with me at the time. Everyone gets a coupon and an item to buy.

3. Gather coupons from others. Neither AC Moore nor Michael's offers the sales ad with the coupons in their stores. So, ask friends or family if they will give you their unwanted coupons from their paper.

4. Look online for additional coupons. AC Moore lets you print as many of their coupons that they have online as you want. They usually have the same 40% off coupon that you can find in the paper. So, if you need to stock up on items quickly, print as many as you need for one week of shopping. Of course, keep in mind that you'll still need to get other shoppers to help you or go over the course of several days because like the newspaper coupons, you are limited to using one per day per person. Here's the link to find the AC Moore nearest you and to their online coupons. Hobby Lobby also offers coupons online that you can print to use at the store.

5. Watch for additional coupons you may receive at check out. On several occasions, I've gone to AC Moore to make a purchase with a 40% coupon, and they give me a 50% coupon to use on a future purchase! These 50% off coupons have only been good for one specific day, usually a Saturday. A few weeks ago I was going to be out of town on the Saturday for which I had a 50% off coupon at AC Moore. I looked online and found the nearest store in the town where I was going to be. I printed off directions to get there, and I was still able to use that valuable coupon! This week, my mom had two of those Saturday-only 50% off coupons for AC Moore. However, she's going to be out of town and in a place where there is no AC Moore. So, she mailed me her coupons to use.

6. Watch for when the items you want are not on sale. Since AC Moore and Michael's only let you use these coupons for regularly priced items, having what you want go on sale actually isn't always a good thing. Sometimes they might run a sale for 50% or more, which would definitely be a better deal than using a 40% off coupon. However, sometimes the sale isn't the best bet. For example, the other week I wanted to buy the invitation kit I had been eyeing. However, AC Moore had it on sale for 30% off. I had a 40% off coupon. I could wait until it went off sale!

7. If you aren't looking for a very specific item at a craft store, check out their clearance sections. They often will deeply discount discontinued items. For the wedding invitations, programs, and bows, I have had very specific things in mind that I wanted. However, my future mother-in-law (who is also a bargain shopper) called the other night to tell me that she was at Hobby Lobby, checking out their clearance section. She found invitations that she will use for the rehearsal dinner for 80% off, and they even go with our color scheme. She also picked up a flower girl basket and a ring bearer pillow for 80% off. She said that even if I didn't want to use them for the ceremony, she would find a way to incorporate them into the decorations for a bridal shower or other pre-wedding event because they were only a couple of dollars each.

Happy saving and happy crafting!

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Suzanne said...

AC Moore and Michaels' both take competetors' coupons. So you can use the coupons at whichever store has the best price or is most convenient.

Betsy said...

Thanks, Suzanne! I didn't realize that. It's a great tip!