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How much cash do I need for a craft show?

Crafty Scientist Crafty Tool Belt

Crafty Scientist Crafty Tool Belt

Q. I’m doing my first craft show this weekend. I’m not sure how much cash I need to bring with me to make change for people. I’m selling sets of magnets for $8, and pillows for $25.

A. Remember, most people shopping at craft shows will probably have just gotten cash from an ATM, which means twenties, and lots of ’em. This means most of them will not be giving you exact change for what they purchase from you.

If your items have a price that isn’t divisible by $5 (like your magnet sets), you will probably need quite a few one dollar bills. It’s a good idea to have at least $20 in ones, or more if possible.

You will also need a good number of five dollar bills, say $30-40 worth if possible. You could also include a couple ten dollar bills if you had the extra cash available to do so.

Coins: I advise against pricing anything at your booth anything other than flat dollar amounts. Ditch the coins in your starting bank. You already have enough to keep track of during your show!

A conservative till: $20 in ones, $30 in fives = $50
A generous till: $40 in ones, $30 in fives, $30 in tens = $100

If you can’t scrape that much together for change, then just do what you can. Anything is better than nothing, and as you sell things in the day, you will probably sell enough to make some change.

Broke as a joke till: $10 in ones, $10 in fives = $20

It’s a good idea to have a consistent dollar amount in your “till” at the start of each craft show. Write down the amount of your till on a slip of paper, and at the end of the day, subtract the till for the total amount of sales. I also recommend keeping track of which items are selling at your show, but that’s a post for another day.

At the end of the day, take the money you used to start your till out of your sales, put it in a zip-top bag and keep it in your file cabinet labeled “craft show change” so you’ll be ready with change for your next show.

For keeping track of your money during the show, try a “crafty tool belt” from Crafty Scientist (shown above).

I also like this version from riknits/kerrimade. She also has a great tutorial for making a pleated crafty tool belt on her blog.

Kerrimade Crafty Tool Belt

Kerrimade Crafty Tool Belt