Shopping Habits

October 20, 2010 at 11:04 am 2 comments

I make a lot of references to frugal knitting, but I’m not sure I’ve ever really defined my principals for how I buy, well really anything, but knitting supplies in particular. They’re not rocket science, but from my observations, they’re not really the norm either.

1) Have a set budget

It’s really hard to know if you’re spending too much money on knitting (or any hobby) if you don’t have a pre-determined amount you intend to spend. You could have a recurring budget where you alot yourself a certain amount on a monthly or yearly basis. Or you could have a project budget where you got $50 for christmas and want to spend it on yarn for a sweater you’ve beeen dying to make. Either way, be sure to PLAN how much you want to spend.

2) Only buy what you need now

I know it’s hard, but only buy yarn for projects you intend to start and finish now. It’s so easy to buy adorable sock yarn to have on hand to make some baby leg warmers for whichever of your friends has a baby next. I mean it’s only $15 and then I won’t have to trouble myself to buy the yarn later. If it’s on sale or clearance, it’s even more tempting! But keep 3 things in mind. one, there is always beautiful yarn to be had. There will always be something butter soft that’s the perfect shade of pink for your best friends 1st daughter. Two, buying new yarn is fun, it’s especially fun when you get to come home or open the box to tear of the ball band and immediately cast on your new project. Buy buying yarn you don’t have intentions for, you steal all that fun from yourself. Three, you may never end up making the hypothetical project for that yarn, and now you have $15 sunk into yarn you don’t have a plan for instead of saved up for a 50/50 silk/merino blend for that sweater pattern you’ve been drooling over.

3) Keep WIPs to a minimum

I can’t stress this enough. Neglected WIPs are money you’ve invested that is just sitting there, you’re not getting any knitting joy out of it, and it’s not keeping anyone warm. You may as well have torn up the $20-$50 you spent on materials. I’m not advocating utterly monogomous knitting, but we all know we can only work on so many projects at once and make any kind of progress. Make sure you have at least an easy project, and a challenging project. But beyond that, try very, very hard to not have too many projects sitting in your knitting closet as moth bait. If you hate the sweater, make that decision, frog it and save the yarn for somehting else. That’ll be a nice treat the next time you want to make something, but don’t have enough in your budget to buy a sweater quantity of anything. If you hate the yarn, sell it. Ravelry makes it so easy. Someone may be looking for that exact yarn. If you can’t or don’t want to go to the trouble of selling it, give it away to a little girl who’s just learning, or donate it to a charity knitting group. At least the money you’ve invested will have some return, even if it’s not a return you reap directly.

4) Buy exactly what you want

When you have enough in your budget to buy the sweater quantities of yarn for a project your totally psyched about, buy the most luxurious yarn you can afford. The whole point of being careful in how you spend money is so that you have money for the things you want. So save, then go crazy!! Shop around, enjoy the guilt-free feeling of shopping knowing you have money to spend. Buy that 50/50 silk/merino, and delight in every minute it slips through your fingers onto the needles.

5) Keep sample yarn of different weights and fibers on hand

This is a helpful in choosing what you want yarn to spend that $50-$75 on. If you have a pattern calling for worsted weight yarn, you’ll have both alpaca, silk, and merino worsteds on hand. Swatch them up, see which ones you like better, or would work for your specific pattern. You’ll be a lot more confident in buying all that yarn for your sweater when you’ve already played with a similar yarn. If you order much yarn online, this can be a great way to get your order over the requisite $50 or $60 you may need to get free shipping. If there’s a yarn you think you may want to use for an upcoming project, throw one ball in your cart.

6) Treat yourself to little luxuries

If you have a little money in your budget and have a larger project in the works, and won’t be spending it soon, feel free to do a tiny bit of impulse shopping. Buy that exquisite sock yarn you’ve never seen before. Buy soveneir yarn on vacation, it’s a lot better than a t-shirt. Don’t indulge too much as you don’t want to develop this habit, it’ll bite you later. Keep you impulse buys well under $20 and to yarn for items that are often impulse cast on type projects like hats, socks and mittens. It’s great to have cute yarn on hand when you really want to make a hat cause it got way colder way sooner than you thought it would this October (but I don’t know anything about that).

7) Save up for splurging

This is a wierd one. But basically if you know you’re going to something like a fiber festival and you have no idea what will be there, but you know you’re going to want to drive away with the whole festivals worth of products in your trunk, save up for that event. If you know you you’re going 6 months ahead of time, save up for 6 months so you have $200 to just blow on whatever is yummiest. Spluging is fun, just plan for it! You’ll have even more fun, because you won’t feel a drop of guilt when you buy $50 worth %100 alpaca, 4 skiens of sock yarn from an indy dyer and are still shopping strong.

Frugal knitting is all about being wise about how you spend money on what you love to do. You love to knit, it keeps you sane waiting for a flight or in a doctors office, gives you mental peace and calm when life took a turn you never expected. It’s worth spending money on. But knitting itself is so much more fun when you don’t feel like your poor management of your knitting budget is affecting how fast you’re meeting your other financial goals, like saving for a kitchen floor or a chest freezer, which (let’s face it) sometimes takes priority over our knitting.

So this is how I spend my money on knitting. Any other thoughts or ideas? Any counterpoints?


Entry filed under: Knitting. Tags: , , , .

Quick Knits? Meh… A Welcome Break

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. asmplelife  |  October 20, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    I try to finish one project before starting another. That’s worked well for me. It keeps me focused on one project UNTIL IT’S FINISHED. Key word: finished. As a result, I don’t have to many WIPs hanging around. Plus it keeps me from buying extra yarn. I only buy what I’m using for that project.

    That’s not to say I don’t have a small stash. Because you’re right, you have to have some freedom for impulse purchases. But it’s only a small stash and I can keep it all in one small plastic box.

    I don’t really budget money for knitting. My LYS lets me store all the skeins I need for a project and I buy them one at a time, as needed. Thus, no extra yarn purchased by miscalculation! That’s a good thing. And buying it one skein at a time makes a project much more likely to fit into my weekly spending allowance!

  • 2. asmplelife  |  October 20, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Oops, grammar error: “to many WIPs” should read “too many WIPs”. As an English major and librarian, I can’t let that slip by!


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