In learning the best way to buy beads, you need to address making selections, finding sources, keeping an inventory and of course, saving money.
Of course if you are following a pattern or trying to copy a piece of jewelry, it is probably advisable to buy the exact beads that have been suggested or used. For first-time beaders, it is often easier to copy than to use your own creativity and color combinations, but with more experience and confidence you will start choosing your own bead mixes. Following patterns can teach you how the correct sizes of beads being used work together for a certain composition. It also shows the importance of considering the weight of the beads because this can affect the type of string you use for the project. I always suggest that if you are trying to make a piece of jewelry to match a specific outfit, bring the outfit into the bead shop. It's amazing how you can remember that the color combination was maroon and pink, but when you see the range available, then your memory is suddenly not as good as you remember! It's also good to see the fabric together with the texture of the beads. At home, set out your beads as you want them on the table and play around with them before stringing. Your final piece of jewelry will express your personality: the color combinations, variety of shapes and different textures used are what makes your project unique!
The reason that the bead store is probably the first place you should go to find your beads, is that there you can see and touch the products, as well as feel the weight and size of the beads. This does not necessarily mean that you have to buy the beads at the store, but now you know what you want and need. Beads are available by mail order, catalogs and on-line. One just needs to be aware that often the photographs shown by these options are not that accurate. It's advisable for inexperienced beaders to order a small quantity first, in case the colors or sizes are not what you expected.
At home, it is a good idea to keep your beads color coordinated and displayed, so that you don't keep buying the same ones because you forgot you had them! You need to keep a selection of basic beads, such as gold, silver and copper, which you can mix and match with everything. Always have an assortment of findings in a separate box, with a few special, focal beads.
It is cheaper to buy in bulk and at wholesalers if possible. However, if quality is important to you, such as the quality of gemstones and crystals, then price is not the primary issue and you need to have extended knowledge about beads. Exclusive, handmade beads are usually sold individually, as they are expensive. But ultimately, no-one wants to spend more than less for the same product, so you always need to check around for the best prices.