If you're like me and many others, the tough economy has forced you cut back on spending – especially on personal hobbies. It's possible that your scrapbooking has suffered as a result! I've come up with a list of ways to cut back on the spending of scrapbooking supplies to help you get back on track.

1. Invest in archival spray

Acid is a scrapbooker's arch nemesis. Existing in many paper products, it causes paper to yellow and become brittle over time. Many of the cheaper paper products out there contain acid, because it's cheaper to process paper with acidic compounds. Archival spray, or archival mist as it is also known, is an alkaline based spray that neutralizes the acid in paper products, extending the life of the paper and preserving your album pages – and allows you to purchase cheaper supplies and use other paper products to fill your albums.

2. Dollar Store/Supermarket Finds

A no brainer! There are a ton of gift and dollar stores out there, all looking to capitalize on trends. And one trend that has come up in a big way has been scrapbooking. You can now find tons of cheap stickers, embellishments, paper, and other craft supplies at your local dollar store, or even your local supermarket. And don't just stop in the craft aisle – the children's section is full of colourful books that can be turned into embellishments and same with the stationary aisle. Plus, stop by the plastics and kitchenware section to come up with colourful ways to organize your scrap space.

3. Be on the lookout for ephemera

Ephemera is just a fancy term for paper memorabilia, and is an excellent (and often free!) way to fill your scrapbook pages. For example, if you are on a trip to Disneyland or Disney World, you will find an abundance of brochures and pamphlets. Or, in the hotel room, there could be paper coasters with Mickey on it. You might absentmindedly pick up one, and later discard it in the hotel room, but hang onto them until you get home! You can cut out graphics of Mickey and friends, use a photograph, or even the text excerpt about a cool rollercoaster. Use a whole map as the background to your scrapbook pages, or bring home several to use both sides and tell a story.

4. Save your scraps

If you have any midsize scraps of paper that you would normally recycle, hang onto them! Dedicate a binder with some page protectors to organize by colour. When you're stuck for an embellishment, make your own – there are lots of paper piercing templates that you can download for free online to trace and cut. Or try a variation of the colour blocking technique – layer multiple strips over a base to create an interesting pattern or mosaic, and your photos overtop. Voila!

5. Use your computer to save on lettering

If you have a word processing program on your computer, chances are that you have tons of fonts! Instead of purchasing pricey letter stickers, die cuts, or chipboard, try lettering using your computer and paper – in any pattern.

a. First, open a new Word file and type out your text.
b. Next, choose your font and size.
c. Then, highlight your text, right click, and select Font. Choose Outline (if your font is a little thin, you might want to select Bold as well), and there is your template!
d. Now, select your paper – any paper, pattern or solid – cut down to the appropriate size for your printer.
e. Print.

Voila! Just cut out the letters (you may need a razor for some of the trickier cuts) and paste accordingly. To save on ink, try printing on a light or draft setting.

6. eBay

If you just can't resist name brand, try looking for items on eBay! At any given time, there are a plethora of scrapbooking items that can be found on there, for a fraction of the retail price. You can save not only on supplies, but other craft items and tools. For example, Cricut cartridges that normally sell for $70 - $90 at Michael's can go for just $30 on eBay. To save even more, look for items in lots (particularly by theme or by brand) and for sellers who ship in flat rate boxes to minimize on shipping costs.

7. Go Digital

With digital, there's no need to develop photos, buy adhesives, paper, or embellishments. There are no storage issues, except, perhaps on your hard drive. There are many options for inexpensive photo editing software, and lots of sites that offer free digital scrapbooking resources. Plus, there are also services that will print your digitally created page so that you can save your pages until such a time you're able to put them on paper.