Clipping coupons for craft stores can leave you feeling like your head is spinning! But when you're shopping for craft supplies, coupons are your friends! However, they can also be really confusing, because each craft store in your location likely has completely different policies. If you plan ahead, you'll be able to save more, and learn to use coupons strategically.
Acquaint yourself with the coupon policies of each craft store in your area. They're probably all different. Writing them down will help you keep all of the different policies straight--although it's entirely possible that stores will change them over time. Once you have them all sorted out, it's time to move on to some strategies!
Keep a list of items you need.
A list of craft supplies you need is important when approaching coupon clipping strategically. Coupons can't be used on all items.
Pay attention to sales flyers.
To me, if something is on sale, it's not on sale. One craft store I went to used to let you use a sales coupon on any item, even if it was on sale. A skein of yarn on sale for 20% off, for example, could instead have 40% off with a coupon. Most stores are choosing to no longer honor this. What this means, oddly enough, is that when an item is on sale, it's no longer on sale . . . at least not as much as it normally could be on sale for. The store is saying you can't use your, let's say, 40% off (the standard for chain craft stores) coupon. I personally use the flyers as a way to find out what's not on sale, rather than what is, and avoid the items on sale! Remember that a coupon is you creating a sale, on your own terms, for exactly what you want.
There is an exception to the rule above.
Let's say you need five skeins of yarn for a little lap blanket, and you want them all to be the same dye lot. It makes a lot of sense to buy the yarn all at the same time. Often, this is the kind of experience where you'll choose not to use a coupon, and instead want to see the item listed on sale in the flyer. On rarer occasions, stores may offer a percentage off coupon for your entire order--but it's usually no more than 10%. You may do better to wait until the yarn is on sale.
Can you use more than one coupon?
The coupon will say on it how it can or can't be used. While it's not the norm, one of the main craft stores currently will let you use one coupon per item! The coupons have to have different numbers on them and not be identical coupons. Stricter stores will typically allow you one coupon per day on a non-sale item. But be careful--there are exceptions. Books are often excluded from coupon discounts, as might be licensed and more expensive items.
If the store will allow you to use more than coupon--either at a time or one per day--there are ways to find extras. The three main chains each have their own methods, including printable coupons on the official website, e-mailed coupons, coupons in weekend newspapers, and coupons in the mail! If you join craft stores' mailing lists (e-mail and snail-mail) and watch your newspaper and their websites, it's possible to really stock up on coupons for craft stores, to the point where you can potentially end up with far more than it's possible to use, even as an avid crafter! Keep your eyes peeled for their ads, and acquaint yourself to how, and how often, each store offers coupons.
Some stores honor competitors' coupons.
Maybe a store you really like, that has the perfect item you just need for your project, doesn't have a coupon that week. The scheduling of coupons can be confusing at times. Ask a sales associate at the store: "Do you accept competitors' coupons?" Once you know for sure, write it down with your list of stores' coupon policies!
Now, use that first coupon to buy a good pair of scissors to clip coupons . . . you're going to need it!