Does craft save money? May 12, 2019 10:54 4 Comments


I often get asked for my professional opinion on why craft is becoming so more and more popular. The second part of the question is usually, "is it because it saves so much money"

The answer is unequivocally "No"

Not here in the UK, where access to fast fashion and cheap furniture means that it is almost impossible to make something more cheaply that you can buy it. You can't get the raw materials for a dress for less than a high street skirt costs. And then you have to consider the time spend on making it. Creative skills have value, and to many of us in an increasingly freelance/gig-economy, our time literally has a cost. So if you tot up the cost of making the skirt, even working at minimum wage, it's going to be way over £15.99

But that doesn't mean that there is no saving to be made by crafting.

Most upcyclers do it for the creative challenge first and foremost. But you can save a lot of money if you have the time. Skip-diving is going out of fashion but eBay, local auctions and charity shops yield all sorts of good stuff. You have to spend to get the stuff, and some of the materials. It may end up costing the same as some cheap furniture - but not buying new furniture is a great way to reduce your impact on the planet. So you have saved! 

Making skills
If you made something, and it took you 8 hours, and cost you £50, you will value it dearly. It's unlikely to go into landfill! It makes you value things in general so much more. As Zoe said recently - if you know the real cost of making a thing, then you tend to ask yourself who or what was exploited in order to be able to sell it so cheaply. So perhaps spending money with care is better than buying cheap. 

A huge stash!
One of the big expenses of craft is our stashes! There's just so much gorgeousness to buy, and we justify it by saying we'll use it. But increasingly I am trying to avoid this, and to clear out my stash. Since starting The Big Craft Swish, my personal stash is tiny! I have a one in one out rule - i have to make a project up before I can buy for  new one. It keeps the cost of my hobbies down, keeps the number of UFOs (unfinished objects) in my craft cupboard down, and stops me buying for the sake of it. 

So - if you've got a brilliant up cycling project hat saved you money, or an example of something you've made and used a million times to get a load of value out of it, let us know!