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Saturday, 17 September 2011

Sometimes 'old school' is just easier

My supplies listed alongside their costs
 A few months ago I spent many hours trying to work out how to set up an Access database to organise my supplies and finances exactly how I wanted them. At the same time I spent additional hours researching bookkeeping software and all the options available.

Eventually I was forced to conclude that to get bookkeeping software that would do what I wanted would mean spending more money (more than $0) than I wanted to. I also concluded that Access either didn't do what I wanted or I didn't have the knowledge to get it to do what I wanted.

I don't think that my requirements were radically different from those of any other crafter:
Effectively I wanted 3 lists - A) the supplies I purchase regularly and their costs B) the materials needed for each item to calculate total cost to make C) my purchases and sales for in and outgoing money.
Keeping track of how much it costs me
to make each item

Easy so far. However, when I listed a supply in list B (such as a clasp) I wanted list B to pull the data on price from list A so I didn't have to look it up myself each time. This is the part that I just couldn't get Access to do. In bookkeeping software its all about the Bill of Materials but unfortunately, the free versions of all the decent programs I found did not include this feature.

So what did I do? After feeling like I had wasted hours and hours of my life I decided to forget all about modern technology and go old school. I've always preferred tangible items anyway, you won't catch me getting out my phone to write a shopping list. So I bought a stack of notecards and now, when I need to price up a new item I just made or lookup how much wire to cut for my latest order, I can easily grab the relevant cards.

If you were actually reading my woes above you will probably be saying 'but you still have to manually look up the cost of each supply'. That is true but I find it so much easier and somehow more enjoyable to do that on a notecard rather than a screen.

My new notecard box with handmade dividers
Are you all about electronic gadgets or do you prefer a pen and paper, like me?

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