Since I learned to knit in the past few months, I have also learned that yarn can be expensive! I don't like paying full price, so I do what I can to save money on yarn when I can. Here are some tips to use so you can save too!
1. Coupons -- scour the Sunday paper ads for coupons to use. You will typically be forced to shop on a specific day to get the maximum savings (for example, 40% off an item), but planning your trip around that may save you a few bucks. Whenever possible, use these high value coupons on larger skeins of yarn you plan to use. For instance, I purchase the cone of cotton yarn for dishcloths in color schemes I like rather than buying them by the ball where the discount isn't as much.
2. Mill ends -- some stores do package up the mill ends, but the selection will vary. I have seen a pound of mill ends for approximately $2 less than buying a pound of regular yarn. Use a coupon and save more.
3. Goodwill/2nd hand stores -- sometimes people will take their leftover yarn to a second hand store or donate it to the Goodwill. I've gotten lucky and picked up perfectly good and unused yarn dirt cheap. Yard sales are also a good place to check for cheap yarn.
4. Craig's List or Free Cycle -- you never know... someone in your neighborhood might be wanting to have their yarn stash go to a good home. Post an ad looking for some and you may be overwhelmed with responses.
5. Shop different stores -- Walmart sells a cotton yarn I prefer for $1.77 per ball, whereas they typically retail at places like Hobby Lobby for $2.29 for the same yarn. You won't get the selection at Walmart that you do at other craft stores; however, you can pay less on some yarn you do use by buying it at Walmart. Walmart also sells the cones of yarns in very select color schemes for less than craft stores. Compare prices with and without coupon to get the best deal.
6. Clearance rack -- Though rare at least in the stores I shop at, yarn is sometimes clearanced out. Check the clearance sections of craft stores to see if they have yarn at discount. You may be pleasantly surprised!
7. Sell your wares -- If you are able to sell some of what you knit, the proceeds can help offset the cost of new yarns. A friend of mine sells beautiful crocheted cloths on Etsy, though you could just as easily sell items at a local craft event or even at work to co-workers.
8. eBay, baby! -- Knittingforcharity.org suggests scouting out eBay for yarn deals and steals. See their eBay yarn buying guide article here for some tips on pursuing that route to save money on yarn.
9. Design patterns -- A different friend of mine lists her one-of-a-kind, original knitting patterns for sale on sites like Ravelry. She sells her patterns at a nominal fee and voila! Yarn money! If you are able to create a design that appeals to other crafters, you may be able to finance your yarn habit with selling your original patterns.
10. Share your stash -- I think we all have a few (or more than a few) miscellaneous balls of yarn lying about. I suggest finding a yarn buddy and doing a yarn swap! Trade your loose ends with a friend and come home with some of their yarn that you can use. Alternatively, if you have far too many yarn ends, you can always donate them to your child's school. Their art teacher will appreciate the donation.
Do you have a way you save on yarn that isn't listed above? Don't be shy! Share with the rest of us frugal crafters. Did this post help you? Please share with friends who can use this information.