Although any hobby can become expensive if one buys everything in sight, it does not have to be. Digital scrapbooking is one of those hobbies where you CAN spend a fortune in programs, plugins and supplies, but there are ways to gather supplies for free.
If you find a designer that you like, check out if they have a newsletter or a blog. Often, designers will offer some free samples, some mini-kits or quick pages to show their work and encourage you to purchase their kits or supplies. Of course, they would love if you made that purchase but they also know that some people will just take the freebie and be happy with it. That is part of the marketing (just like tasting those samples at the grocery store, even if you don't end up buying the product).
Blog trains or blog hops
There is a common activity where designers get together and create a "blog train". It consists in a series of blogs that you are asked to visit in order to download supplies. One interesting feature of those blog trains (or hops) is that all the supplies created by the designers are based on the same theme and palette, so in the end, you can mix and match papers and elements from different kits you downloaded and they would likely coordinate.
Some stores have forums where they hold weekly or monthly challenges. The challenge might be about creating a layout using a particular color, or word, or phrase, but sometimes, they will provide a template or a mini-kit that you are asked to use to accumulate points or rewards. Although they would love for you to complete the challenges, there is no obligation to do so, even if you downloaded the supplies. You had the intention, right?
If you follow some designers, either on their blog, with their newsletter or their Facebook page, you can learn about various giveaways they offer. Sometimes, you have to add a comment. Sometimes, you have to share something (on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.) in order to be entered in a draw where you can get something for free. One example is the sister site to the Campus, Creation Cassel, where there is one can win free product every week, simply by commenting on the posts.
Always free sites
There are some sites where designers always offer a collection of supplies for free. Those are fun ways to start digital scrapbooking or continue without having to spend a penny. Among the sites I like to browse for free kits is this French site: Au coin de l'objectif. You can find a monthly kit and monthly blog train for templates.
But be careful
Although it is easy to download everything you find that is free, you have to be careful and select what you really want to download and use. We'll look at some precautions in a future post. Come back.
Do you know of some sites where you can get good quality freebies? Share the links in the comments below.