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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Digital Scrapbooking on the Cheap Part 1: External Hard Drives

Lots of people want to try digital scrapbooking, but they’re worried that between the software, the hardware, the digital elements, and the printing and storing of their designs, it’ll end up being just as expensive as traditional scrapbooking was. It’s true that digital scrapbooking can start racking up costs fast, but there are several techniques that can keep costs down. In this series, I’ll explore frugal options for software, hardware, materials, printing, storage and display. Stay tuned, and prepare to get hooked.

Many digital scrappers use external hard drives (EHDs) on which they store their materials and projects. Starting at fifty dollars and going up to 400, EHDs can put a serious dent in an aspiring digital scrapper’s wallet. Fortunately, there are several ways to save space and avoid needing an EHD.

Be selective about the kits you download. Once you find out about the world of free scrapbooking materials (don’t worry, that post is coming soon), you’ll be tempted to go download crazy. Instead, be selective and choose only the kits that you really love. Reserve your precious hard drive space for the best of the kits and for your projects. The truth is that if you download too many, you'll never use most of them anyway (ask me how I know this).

Choose one or two kits and use them for multiple themed layouts. Instead of collecting a variety of kits to make different-themed pages, use just one or two kits to create an entire series of pages. Not only does this cut way down on your need for kits (and the space to store them), it makes an excellent unified theme to put in a photobook or album.

Use a kit and delete it. If you prefer to use a different theme on every page, another alternative is to use a kit to make the perfect page and then delete it to make room for a fresh one.

Delete your design files. Each digital scrapbook page has two files: the design file in which you made the page and the jpeg you saved it as in order to print it. Once you’ve perfected—and I mean perfected­—your page, delete the space-hogging design file. (But seriously, make sure the page is perfect because once you delete the design file you won’t be able to modify the image anymore; you’ll be stuck with the jpeg you have.)

Using these techniques, you can put off needing the extra space provided by an EHD. If the time comes that you decide you absolutely must have one, here are a few tips for saving money:

1. Check shoplocal.com for deals on external hard drives. Shoplocal searches your local ads for sales, so if you find a good deal there you can just run to the store and get it.
2. Check shopzilla.com for deals on external hard drives. To support PYP, you can come back and use PYP’s affiliate links to make your actual purchase.
3. Newegg.com and Amazon.com have generally lower prices for electronics. If you can’t find a great deal at either of the above sources and you don’t want to wait for one, they’re the best places to buy hard drives.

Join me in a couple of days for frugal talk about scrapbooking software. See you
then!

If you're interested in other aspects of frugal digital scrapbooking, you can read the entire series.

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