Resolve to just buy things as you need them, not as you see the next shiny thing. Remember the Cricut craze of 2010? Or the Sugarveil Airpen craze of somewhere around 2003? You don't? It doesn't matter, because there will always be the next big thing coming along once the current big thing loses its luster.
We were just at Disneyworld, which is a thriving example of the genius of marketing. The funniest thing I saw there was this play area, where on the left you had a "splash zone" where the little kids could play in squirting fountains and get soaking wet. On the right was a towel stand, where the little kids' parents could then buy a towel to dry off their soaking wet children. That, my friends, is the genius of filling a need that you created. But that's a real need. No parents would buy the towel if they didn't have to wrangle a dripping child.
There are plenty of things that cake decorators see that immediately seem to be needed, but they're really only a need because someone is telling you they're needed. I know as well as anyone that decorators love their toys, since I too am a decorator who loves cake toys. I have too many things that I've bought and have never used to deny that shopping from a want list instead of a need list is a budget buster.
You have to be very firm with yourself about what's an actual need and what's something that you just want because it's so new and shiny and you can't live without it even though you didn't know it existed until five minutes ago. Disney sells a lot of towels because they created the NEED for them, but nobody's forcing you to buy new cake toys, that's just a WANT.
I get plenty of people who buy things from my shop last-minute, or who ask me to design a custom mold for them, so I know that there are people with self-control who only buy what they need as they need it. I don't happen to be one of those people, but I'll try to keep the spending on things that I don't need to a minimum this year.
So the next time that you see that shiny new lace mat that nobody has asked you to use for a cake, or the expensive class on how to make a life-sized stand-up cake that nobody will want to pay for, think about it. If you actually have an order for that specific lace design, or that specific cake design, maybe it's worth it. But if it will just be something that's going to gather dust on the shelf next to the Cake Cricut, save your money.
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, online cake supplies www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com