Tracking Expenses

Do you know how much you spend every year for quilting? I don’t. Quilts, Inc. has defined a “dedicated” quilter as one who spends at least $500 a year on quilting. While I don’t doubt I spend that much when including batting, thread, and books, I don’t have a clue how much it really adds up to.

Last fall I decided to track my spending in 2015. Some people monitor yards used and yards purchased. I really only wonder about the bucks. Today I made my first purchase of the year at a local quilt shop (LQS).

  1. 5 yards for a backing, at half price.
  2. 1 yard for binding and stash.
  3. two 1/2 yard pieces for stash.
  4. a ruler to replace my 24″ ruler. This one has better markings and a ledge to stabilize it against the mat edge. I’m hoping for more ease in cutting with it.

Total? $74.08

Don’t worry — it would bore both of us if I report every purchase here on the blog, and I promise I won’t do that! This tracking is just for me, ultimately.

Are you a “dedicated” quilter? Do you track your quilt spending? Do you keep track of your yardage purchased vs. used? Why or why not? I’d love to hear about it in comments. 

 

 

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22 thoughts on “Tracking Expenses

  1. Yanic A.

    I don’t think that is a fair assessment… why does dedication have to equal dollars spent? I have a friend that quilts more than anybody I know, but she prides herself on salvaged fabrics and thrift finds. I bet she doesn’t spend more than a few dollars on each quilt, but she spends more time on the machine than anybody I know!

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Quilts, Inc. is concerned with dedication measured by dollars. They make their money on our money, so that is the only measure important to them. But absolutely, dedication doesn’t require any output of money, as long as resources are available from another means. AND I know women who spend a lot of money and don’t do a lot with it. hmmm… where is the dedication there, except to shopping and hoarding?

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  2. allisonreidnem

    I find it difficult to track expenses – should I count the petrol money visiting quilt shops or the train fares to a quilt show? It’s tricky! I am trying to earn a little money from P&Q and keep earnings separate to spend specifically on more lovely fabrics and supplies! As Yanic says maybe we need to track hours as much as cash – but then how about the hours I spend thinking about P&Q but not actually creating something?!!!

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I haven’t done this before, but certainly have considered the cost of shopping (travel, etc.), as well as the purchases. It is tricky. I’ve decided NOT to include gasoline/car cost. I will include purchases, including shipping when I order something. Also quilt show entrance, museum entrance, cost of staying if that is the only reason I’ve gone, etc. My sister and I are going to a show together early in the year, so I’ll add in that, also. (That will bump the total up quickly, just due to hotel!)

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  3. QuiltinGram

    Maybe I don’t cause it would give me a heart attack! So far in January: spent $63.50 today and at least another $100 last week. No wonder I am always broke!

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Do you use what you buy? Does your stash stay about the same, or go down over time?

      If you take out my ruler purchase today, this was a pretty typical buy for me. I am usually shopping for a particular current project, only AFTER I have shopped my stash. And while I may add another yard or two specifically for stash, as I did today, I almost never have a shopping trip that is just for stash replenishment or addition.

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  4. snarkyquilter

    I think my quilt related expenditures go in waves. I tend to buy fabric on sale, and try to pay no more than $6/yard for good quality fabric. I did buy a bunch of fabric at the beginning of January due to online sales. That’s right, “they” made me buy it. Right now I’m looking at sizable (like $50) thread purchases as I’m running out of many of my basic colors. Again, I buy thread online and buy lots at a time to take advantage of shipping cost efficiencies. I do favor Aurifil, and have found it at $8.50 for a large 50 weight spool online. My LQSs charge at least $12/spool and have a limited color selection. I don’t spend $ on rulers, templates, etc. That’s one advantage of art quilts. I do spend $ on fabric dyes and paints. However, they last a while. I’m really afraid to add it all up, but I guess it’s at least $500/year, excluding workshops.

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Yes, my purchases are lumpy, too. I might spend $10, or I might spend $100 (rarely!) This ruler is the first gadget/notion I’ve bought in years, other than blades and needles. Okay, I’ve also bought a couple things for the long-arm. I guess that’s why I don’t have any idea. Seemed worth checking once, and perhaps never again!

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  5. Andi in Arizona

    I am a binge spender…I don’t shop very often, so when I do, I can easily hit the $100 mark. I have a large stash, which makes it hard to justify the spending. Sometimes it is not worth the hassle to piece a backing though! I find I am most likely to spend on basics, like white/neutrals, or for a planned quilt with a particular color scheme. Since I like the design process, I try not to buy books or patterns, and I have (or can borrow) most of the tools I need.

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I don’t buy pattern books anymore, but I still buy ones on design and probably always will. And I’m fortunate to have good library resources around, so I can borrow most other things I’d want for shorter term.

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  6. Pingback: First Finish for ’15! | Deep in the Heart of Textiles

  7. TextileRanger

    I am sure I spend over $500 a year, but that includes dyes, paints, and yarn as well. I am lucky to live in Houston so I go to the International Quilt Festival every year and splurge on supplies — but I plan that splurge. One year I buy different brands of batting, one year different brands of thread, one year fabric. I always buy something from the “Fair Trade” type booths, to support artists in other countries.
    I buy sale fabric for backing at the quilt shop that is behind my mom’s house when I go to visit her. The closest quilt shop to me is 20 miles away, so I only go once or twice a year but I spend over $100 when I do go. I scour thrift stores – I buy men’s XXL shirts and shoeboxes full of scraps. The best thing I ever got was a beautifully maintained Montgomery Ward sewing machine, with all the feet, for $6!
    I never feel guilty. Some women spend more than my entire craft budget on a pair of shoes or a purse, and around here, the men all spend thousands on deer leases and fishing trips. Crafts are a bargain in comparison! 🙂

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Yes, I don’t feel guilty for what I spend. It’s cheaper than a lot less productive ways I could spend my money. Thanks for stopping over and commenting. And really, I can’t think your husband would find your purchases excessive, either ! 🙂

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  8. Thread crazy

    Well, I do the tracking each year as I have my tax license and need to report to the state. It’s a real eye opener at the end of the year, believe me, especially while I worked at the shop. Since leaving, I don’t buy as much but rather use my stash and only buy IF I need something to add to my project or need backing or thread. I try desperately to use what I have. On the other hand, if I see fabric that really speaks to me I’ll buy some as I’ve learned if you don’t you loose out. I do try to hit the good sales and look for fabrics that can be used in backing. So guess overall, tracking expenses is a good thing and I learned one thing – you can “justify” anything you buy!

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I go to stash first, too. But there’s something about that which implies I only buy for a specific need. That’s not really true. When I shopped Tuesday it was for need — backing and binding. But I got more than I needed of the binding fabric, which will go into stash. And I got a little more. Though I have a project in mind for the other yard, even if I use them that way there will be leftover, which is stash! My intention is not to grow stash, though. hmmm… justify? 🙂

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  9. Nann

    Since 1998 I have recorded fabric acquired and used. Several years after that I began to keep track of how much I spend on fabric. I do not keep track of thread, notions, books, magazines, memberships, travel to shops or quilt shows. This record-keeping is automatic now. It’s fiddly but it’s not difficult. As for the Quilts Inc. survey: I’ve designed surveys, and I’ve hired professional pollsters to design surveys. It is hard to create questions worded in such a way to get meaningful answers. And the pool of respondents needs to be big enough to be truly representative. That leads to some survey results that seem skewed to those “in the family.” Case in point: the Quilts Inc. report says that dedicated quilters have “fabric collections valued at $6000” [note I am doing that from memory and I may remember it a little wrong]. WE know that a $6000 fabric stash is about 1000 yards. That isn’t much for a person who’s been quilting/stash building for more than a couple of years. And spending $500 per year? You can drop that much in one day of one quilt show. I guess the path from “considering” to “dedicated” is a short one!

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