Hey everyone! I got so much helpful feedback from my recent posts about budgeting for sewing. I’ve been having a bit of trouble thinking how to reply to all the comments without starting to feel defensive, overwhelmed, or saying more than I care to about my finances on the internet… but rest assured I appreciate the input. I thought instead I’d do a round-up of the ideas that came up over and over, so that we can all benefit from the great advice!
Debt and Savings:
- Plan for how long you want to take to pay it off, and stick to the plan!
- Pay your bills and savings first, then live off whatever is left.
Budgeting in General:
- Be honest with yourself about what you spend, even when you don’t want to!
- Try using software to track your expenses. (I found it really useful to track every penny for a month… now I just have to check in to make sure we are more or less on course!)
- You can live just fine on less than you might think! (To a point, obviously. This is a good one for me to remember, as we head into 2 months of both of us having no income!)
- Give yourself (and your partner, if you have one) a budget for fun. No guilt about how you spend it, and no justifications needed!
- Develop criteria for what supplies are worth buying. (For me it’s quality jersey in the right colours for my palette, but maybe for you it’s fabric for a pattern you have in mind or a deal that’s too good to ignore!)
- If you sew for money, keep those finances totally separate from your personal spending. (Sounds obvious, but I didn’t do this!)
- Make room for sewing in your budget, even if it means giving up take-out coffee or other little luxuries.
In my second post, I was also wondering about giving myself a monthly budget instead of a week one, and possibly spending that bigger chunk online instead of being restricted by what I could get locally. You had some great advice on this as well!
Lots of people suggested I shop in Toronto, which certainly is an option… but when I do go to the fabric district, i find the jersey selection overpriced, dusty, and unappealing! Plus, it’s still an hour and a half each way to get there, plus $7 parking… so in the end, no cheaper than driving to Buffalo.
The big issue with ordering online is the unreliable quality… but I think I’m ok with that. If I do go the ordering online route, I’d really like to start ordering from higher-quality places like Mood, Emma One Sock or Marcy Tilton, so quality is likely to be less of an issue.
Errors are another issue… but this past fall I had to have Fabric.com reship me some fabric that they sent in error, and they did it without complaint. Even though I’d had the fabric delivered to an American friend over a month earlier, they reshipped the fabric to Canada with no problem.
The last question then, really, if do I pay for shipping or get a post box across the border? Realistically, I think a bit of both! I put in an order this past weekend to be shipped to Canada… but since I know we’ll be in Buffalo in both early July and August, I’ll probably test out a post box then.
I’ve really enjoyed hearing from all of you about your budgeting strategies! It’s given me a few ideas, and reassured me that we’re already in line with most of you. Thank you!
Which just leaves me with one question I’ve always wanted to know: For you, is “stashbusting” code for “saving money”? Or would you honestly be happy with less fabric? I’ve been wondering about this for months!
(In my books more is better. I sew such fast projects that i can never have too much fabric!)