Hobby Lobby Shopping Tips from a Former Employee

Did you know I used to have someone on the inside feeding me information? That’s right, my brother worked at every woman’s happy place: Hobby Lobby. Much to his chagrin, my mom and I would pry him for shopping tips. There are several things that make Hobby Lobby unique, one being that their store stays pretty consistent over the years. So even though it’s been a little while since he worked there, I recently sat down with my brother to get a refresher course.¬† Today I’m sharing the best way to score your most-wanted items and save money at everyone’s favorite place to accidentally spend two hours.

The Weekly Ad: Cue the angel chorus. Every savvy Hobby Lobby shopper knows that the Ad is everything. You should almost never have to pay full price for something at Hobby Lobby, and the Weekly Ad is your guide. Here’s how to use the ad to figure out when to shop:


  • The main categories that go on sale (50% off) alternate every other week. As a general rule, the same categories will be included on a bi-weekly basis. So, if a category goes 50% off and it’s not on sale, it will be on sale the following week.
  • The sales are grouped by what material the item is made of, so make sure that’s what you’re paying attention to. For example, glass decor may be on sale a different week that wood decor. The weekly ad will list the categories in detail. With this in mind, it is SO important to put your items back where they belong, as putting them in the wrong place can make it very difficult for other customers to determine what is on sale.
  • The custom framing department has sales in the weekly ad. This is a great thing to keep an eye on if you have a framing project, as custom frame jobs can get expensive.
  • Wedding items are marked 50% off every other week, so if you need wedding stuff, don’t pay full price. However, note that if an item doesn’t have the “His & Hers” logo, it’s not included in the wedding sale.


The 40% off coupon: Hobby Lobby always has a coupon available for 40% off one single item. You can cut the coupon out of a paper ad, print the coupon off their website and bring it in, or use your smartphone to pull up the coupon at the register. Here are the best ways to utilize your coupon:


  • Arts and Crafts items normally only go on sale for 30% off. If you need a single item from these categories, shop on a week they’re not on sale and use your coupon. If you need multiple items, it would be better to shop during the sale so that all items will be 30% off.
  • Fabric goes on sale by sub-category for a maximum 30% off. If you only need one item, it would be better to shop on a week fabric is not on sale and use your coupon for a better discount.
  • If you have any non-sale item in your transaction, you should use your coupon on it, no matter how small. 40% off a small-ticket item is still 40% off.
  • Note that the coupon is only good for non-sale items. Any item marked on sale can’t have the coupon applied. Picture frames and furniture are considered “always on sale,” so they are not eligible for the coupon.
  • The coupon can only be used once per person, per transaction. If you have multiple non-sale items, use the coupon on the highest-priced item.

Seasonal decor: How else would we mark the seasons if not for Hobby Lobby’s holiday decor section? From Valentine’s Day to Christmas (which they roll out in mid-summer), Hobby Lobby has enough decor to fill every square inch of your home. Be advised that seasonal sales are not the best in terms of savings. Most seasonal items are marked up because they will spend so long at a 50% markdown. Eventually, seasonal items will get marked down further. However, seasonal items do tend to get bought up quickly, so if there’s a particular piece you have your eye on, it may be best to go ahead and snag it at 50% off. If you’re on the fence about it, wait it out and see if you can score it at a better discount.


Items that never go on sale: There are two categories at Hobby Lobby that never go on sale: party items and greeting cards. You can use your 40% off coupon, but note that it is only good for one single item. If you need party supplies, consider ordering from somewhere that sells in larger quantities.

Avoid the crowds: The store tends to be fairly quite in the mornings before 11:00 am and on weekday evenings. If you’re interested in Christmas decor, make your selections during the fall. November-January is Hobby Lobby’s busiest time, so if you shop there during those months, expect a crowded store and a long wait at checkout.

Be patient:¬†Remember, please be kind to employees regarding sales and coupons. Hobby Lobby is one of the few stores that doesn’t have a UPC (bar-code) system. This means employees don’t have the ability to just scan an item and have it ring up automatically on sale. Employees have to manually enter every item and check their sale ad to verify discounts. Combine that with the fact that many of the items purchased at Hobby Lobby are breakable and have to be wrapped, and you can expect to spend a few minutes in line. Knowing that going in can help you avoid frustration if you aren’t able to pop in and out of the store quickly.

Regarding returns, keep your receipt! Employees will have to verify the date of your purchase to confirm whether your item was on sale and therefore how much money you get back. Also, Hobby Lobby receipts do not print item numbers due to the lack of bar-codes. So the employee processing your return has to wade through each item by department and price. In short, Hobby Lobby is not the place to buy it all and just decide at home. If you need to fill a certain space, take measurements. If you need to match a certain color, bring swatches to compare. Save yourself as much time as you can by avoiding impulse buys, knowing the return process is not as simple as scanning a receipt.

There you have it, folks! Everything you could ever want to know about Hobby Lobby shopping! Was this post helpful for you? Are there other stores you’d like to see tips for? Let me know in the comments!