Money Matters: Your advice, summerized!

money matters

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!) 

Sewing Budget: 

  • 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. 

budget types.jpg

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 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!)

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