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How to find art supplies and inspiration on a low budget.

As a starving artist, you need to pinch pennies whereever you can. One of the best places to get great deals on art supplies when you are on a budget is yard and garage sales on Saturday mornings. It's mind-boggling how many people get fired up about some craft project or another and go out and buy all sorts of brand-new art supplies. Then, when they are over it, the supplies get thrown out or they end up in a yard sale box (yay!!!) If you are feeling crafty but don't know where to start or what to do, yard sale art supplies can be a great inspiration.


A saturday morning yardsale with people shopping
This looks like a yard sale with good deals!

Some of the art supplies I have gotten a great deal on at yard sales are yarn, beads, sewing stuff, fabric, paint, stained glass supplies, embroidery floss, and much more at prices that are practically a steal. As far as inspiration goes, I came across my first cross-stitch kit at a garage sale. I had never seen a cross stitch and had no idea how to do it but I was attracted to the beautiful colors of embroidery floss and the lighthouse and sailboats motif. Now, I am a cross-stitch pattern designer which is great when you are living on a budget because it's all digital and does not require supplies!


A completed cross stitch with lighthouses and sailboats
Cara's first cross-stitch kit found at a garage sale.

Tips for getting good deals at yard sales:

  1. Observe the scene - If it is clean, organized, displayed on tables, and has price tags on it you probably won't be able to haggle or get a better price. These people are probably attached to their stuff and trying to make some money. Look for messy bins, piles, and boxes. These people are most likely just trying to get rid of it and will be more willing to haggle.

  2. Don't be afraid to ask for a better price - My motto is "It never hurts to ask". Sometimes, if something does not have a price on it you can make an offer before even asking. You will be surprised how well this works.

  3. Don't get distracted. If you are going to look for art supplies, use your best self-discipline to stay focused on just looking for art supplies. It is really easy to spend your money on things that you didn't know you needed just because they are cheap. Also, you can hit up a lot more sales and find more stuff and better deals if you keep moving.

  4. Let your friends and family know that you are on the lookout for supplies. I have been hooked up!


Although it is fun to get great deals and good for the budget, the very best part of this is that you are using these items post-consumer. That means you are not supporting consumerism or large corporations. Living this way is much better for the Earth! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

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