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Crafting is a part of most frugal people's lives. In today's busy world, crafting not only offers a way to exercise our creativity, it is a constructive way to wind down--a way to use leisure time to its greatest advantage.

If we're not careful, though, any hobby can become a drain on finances, instead of a boon!

The best way to keep this from happening, is to find a craft that is frugal by nature. One that uses up what you already have or recycles things you would otherwise throw away. For example, making a quilt from scraps of your old jeans or your husband's shirts.

Any craft can be made more frugal by learning to modify projects to fit supplies you have on hand. For example, if your project says to use "wiggly eyes" and it's a painting project, learn to paint eyes on instead. If it's a sewing project, French knots can be substituted for eyes sometimes, or use buttons.

Always be on the lookout for supplies, even in unusual places. Train yourself to look at an object and see what it could be used for that might not be its original purpose.

Look closely at garage and yard sales for crafting supplies. Some things I have found are lots of yarn for crocheting and plastic canvas, plastic canvas kits, acrylic paint, felt pieces, polyester fiberfill, quilting pieces. Even crafting magazines can often be bought for pennies apiece. Watch for old clothing that can be salvaged for the fabric or fancy buttons.

If you are a decorative painter and love to paint on wood, check with your local lumberyard for scraps of wood. They might could put you in touch with area carpenters who would have scraps they would be willing to part with for next to nothing.

Learn to mix your own paint colors. Old 35mm film containers are great for mixing small amounts of paint.

Share or swap supplies with a friend. Be sure to be organized. All the bargains in the world are worth nothing if you can't find what you need when you need it! Find a place to keep all your supplies. Creatively use baskets, tins and plastic bins--all of which you can find at garage sales for pennies!

Hobbies can be lots of fun, and even more so when you know you haven't "busted the budget" buying supplies!

Cyndi Roberts is the editor of the "1 Frugal Friend 2 Another" bi-weekly newsletter and founder of the website of the same name. Visit to find creative tips, articles, and a free e-cooking book. Subscribe to the newsletter and receive the free e-course "Taming the Monster Grocery Bill".
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