Budgeting – Question of the Day

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In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s January.  I don’t know what it is about the New Year rolling in, but I always look at my monthly budget in January so I can see how far outside my means I am living.  Let me tell you folks, I lived quite large in 2009.  *picking self up off the floor* 

Sheesh!  The main impetus for this year’s budgetary attention was to see how much fabric I could fit squeeze into the budget.  It turns out I can fit about $0.00.  That’s really unfortunate, because I just spent about $60 dollars I apparently don’t have on some from Fabric.com.  😦

Seriously though, I would be interested in hearing how the rest of you sewists come up with a sewing budget for yourselves.  Please leave me a comment and share your thoughts on this topic.  While you do that, I am going to cry into my $0.10 cent cup of french press coffee that I make at work to save money while saving myself from the dreck they call coffee in the office pantry.  And yes, I took the time to figure out how much each cup of coffee cost me.  Doesn’t everyone do that???

Oh and BTW, I now consider “budgeting” a four letter word.


13 responses to “Budgeting – Question of the Day

  1. I went a bit crazy with fabric purchases in the past year and a half (my first “serious” year of sewing) but now that I have so much of it in stash, I haven’t been buying much.

    I’m an accounting/tax geek so I actually keep an eye on my finances daily (I know) using Microsoft Money. I have it all set up to import and classify my debit card and Amex purchases as well as online bill payment transactions, so I can plan ahead as well as see how I’m doing so far. If I have a big expense coming up I can see that in advance and curtail spending prior to that.

  2. When I get the itch to buy, I like to “window shop” online. I fill my cart up on Fabric.com, hemm, haaaw, cry a little, look for online coupon codes, then shut the browser down without ordering. I do this probably 4 or 5 days in a row until I finally place an order which is generally smaller than the original, but not always.

    I agree the “b” word is a 4 letter word.

  3. I don’t believe in budgets or diets. But I put our household on a continuous stuff diet anyway.

    Last year, I spent over $100 a month on yarn, fabric, notions and patterns. (Perhaps it was as much as $200/month; I don’t keep track.) I don’t feel one bit guilty b/c it provides clothing and household textiles for our family as well as much appreciated gifts to our friends.

  4. Budget? Limit? no. Actually I am trying to figure it out too. Last year I bought a stack of fabrics at the beginning of the new seasons (first sale) with possible patterns in mind. I try not to buy inbetween seasons unless I have a special event. Not the best but it seems to be my habit. Right now I am trying to use up my stash.

  5. My budget is directly linked to my storage space. Both are currently at (well, really beyond) their limit and have been since about June.

  6. Here’s my budget:

    1. pay my rent

    2. pay my bills.

    3. put a minimum amount into savings.

    4. shop it out with the rest!

    My mama says you can’t take it with you and I plan on leaving as much fabric, patterns and sewing stuff as possible for my DDs to moan over and discuss my issues as possible when I pass on!

  7. That’s a good question. When I filled up my stash the first two years after I started sewing more regularly (roughly fall 2007), I wondered about this, too. In the end, I treat it like other puchases as well (clothes, book…) by asking the following questions: Do I have space for it? (In the beginning, a lot; now: hardly any.) Do I have something smilar already? (In the beginning: likely not. Now: more and more, yes.) Will it bring me happiness/satisfaction beyond what I have already? (Part of that is: will I ever get to sew it up? Or is it so beautiful I need to have it even if I don’t?) The larger my stash is, the less fabric I see that would really bring me satisfaction.

  8. My budget is the same as Dana’s – and I now have enough fabric to last me at least two years, so I am on a fabric fast.

  9. I consider sewing expenses both clothing *and* entertainment, so that category is quite large. In the past I have added up each month how much I spent by reviewing my credit card statement. Perhaps I should do that again so I don’t pretend that I’m not spending very much on it!

  10. Theresa in Tucson

    I tracked what I spent last year on sewing related items and it was a whopping $5,000 plus. In that total was tuition for two classes at the community college plus books; e-bay purchases of Threads back issues (collection now complete); a new (to me) Bernina 930; about $400 in repairs on the three old Singers (major overhaul time); and lots of fabric, interfacing, patterns and notions. This year I won’t be spending nearly as much, there’s too much in the stash to play with.

  11. Hi Elizabeth – Areas vary – but I find a lot of fabric in thrift stores. Sometimes it is actually a roll or folded up piece of fabric. Sometimes it comes home as a garment that I cut apart to make something new. (But be very picky or you end up with just a lot of junk.) I have found great patterns there for 25 cents (just check them for parts and instructions – and don’t be put off by the cover art – look at the actual garment lines.) I have also bought bags of zippers and other notions there very cheaply. I buy sheets there to make my muslins. I have even bought a really cheap dress (as in $1) just to get its zipper, buttons or other parts. By doing that for several projects I can save enough to buy fabric or patterns new when I need to.

  12. I’m a bit late, but as a seamstress on a budget I have thought of a couple of things. 1) I use my/my son’s “clothes” budget to buy sewing stuff. You’ll want to leave some wiggle room there though, in case you need to go buy a pair of jeans or some shoes–things you don’t make yourself. 2) Make more basics you know you’ll wear. Skirts/tops/jackets/slacks for work, t-shirts for everyday, etc. They’ll help you hone your sewing skills while not being so difficult that you need the sewing teacher, and you’ll actually wear what you sew on a constant basis. 3) Look for sales/coupons and use them. 4) Avoid buying a lot of new patterns–buy several basic patterns (such as Kwik Sew) and make your own design changes. It’s easy to make neckline changes and different sleeves to make a whole new look, and Kwik Sew has such good drafting and decent fit that you’ll hardly ever be steered wrong with them. 5) Trace your patterns that you’ll use frequently onto some medium weight non-fusible interfacing or other sturdy material so that you aren’t fussing around with tissue paper–it’ll make your patterns last longer too. 6) Try not to be tempted by obvious “fad” fabric and patterns–stick with classic lines and colors so that you’ll be less likely to spend money on fabric you’ll never use. 7) Lastly, never outpurchase your storage space–if your fabric “stash” is outgrowing it’s confines, it’s time to go on a fabric diet. 😉 I hope that helps some, I know I’m struggling with a few of these myself. :O

  13. I have a separate bank account for my hobbies and pay a set amount into it each month. I can then either save that up for a big item (new machine) or spend it on fabric, patterns etc. DH has one also for his hobbies so that works well for us.

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