About six years ago, a dear friend of mine introduced me to scrapbooking. I was instantly hooked… and the scrapbooking stores loved me. My initial foray into scrapbooking was definitely NOT a frugal time in my life. Of course, I didn’t have kids yet either, which is probably a good thing or I would have gone bankrupt!
Two years ago, I discovered digital scrapbooking. Since the twins have been born, I have gone completely digital and I don’t know that I will ever go back to traditional paper scrapping. If you’ve never heard of it, digital scrapbooking is simply scrapbooking done on the computer. You use a computer photo editing software (I use Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0) to design your pages.
What I like about digital scrapbooking are the cost savings. I never run out of adhesive, patterned paper, stickers or embellishments. In fact, you can find plenty of things for FREE online. A simple Google search for free digital scrapbooking supplies will find you lots of great freebies. One of my favorite sites is DigiFree. I also like Shabby Princess. You can download background papers, embellishments, fonts, tags, brads, etc… anything you can imagine…. off the internet for free. And you can use them over and over again – unlike a piece of paper that can only be used once. You can also design your own papers and embellishments or change the color of existing ones. Digital scrapbooking means you always have the perfect color or design for your page.
I also like that there’s no mess in digital scrapbooking. I don’t have to worry about my toddler getting into my stuff, or cleaning up paper scraps. If I get interrupted, which happens a lot, I can simply save my work and come back to it later without worrying about it getting messed up.
I love that there is an “undo” option. When you scrapbook digitally, it is easy to fix mistakes or to completely change a layout. It is a lot of fun to play with design. Oh, and you can also do some cool design tricks that you can’t do in paper scrapping, too.
I have also found that once you get over the learning curve, digital scrapbooking is faster than paper scrapping, especially when you factor in clean-up time. You can also duplicate your work easily. I designed one digital scrapbook that I gave as gifts. I designed it once, and printed it three times. This year, I made photo calendars for Christmas. I designed three different calendars and gave it to 14 people. I also do a small amount of duplication in my personal scrapbooking. For example, I do a page layout for each of my babies’ scrapbooks. The layouts are the same – I just put in different photos for each baby. Sometimes I will print an extra layout for my family scrapbook as well.
The only cost is printing… I estimate that it costs me about $1.50 to $2 a page. With paper scrapbooking, it is easy to spend $3-$7 a page. I don’t have the extra cost of printing my photos and then attaching them to the page… I simple print everything at once, which also saves me time.
One of my favorite resources (for its online community, tutorials, and freebies) is Two Peas in a Bucket. It’s a great place to get started. I also recommend checking out Renee Pearson’s books, Digital Designs for Scrapbooking. They’re loaded with how-to’s. You can also pick up a copy of Digital Scrapbooking magazine for information. If you’re not sure if digital scrapping is something you would like, you can start by downloading a free trial of Adobe Photoshop Elements, and then download some free kits to get started.
What I love the most about digital scrapbooking is the freedom it has given me. I am no longer burdened by the bleak selection of scrapbooking items at my local Wal-Mart or JoAnn’s. (we only have one scrapbooking store in my area and it is small and doesn’t have very good hours or prices). I can find or design items any time of the day and I can get them instantly. I am also no longer burdened by the need to have money in my checking account. I can enjoy the art of preserving memories without decimating my budget.