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Cricut for someone moving out of the stoneage. :)

Houston, United States(Zone 9b)

Does anyone have one of these machines? I'm seeing much better prices on Ebay vs. the craft store Michaels. A friend's trying to give me advice on getting one but heck I have no idea how they work etc etc I just know----it would be VERY nice not to have to buy sticker letters or die cuts all the time or worse----have to hand cut them myself. :( Told you I was archaic.

So---any help, suggestions?

Here was my friends:

NO stores accept coupons for the machines or cartridges. I suspect the price will go down because a new machine has just been released, I will explain that in a minute. I got mine in Utah at a Provo Craft store right before Christmas for $120, but you just can't find that here. (And that is with George- all brand new machines come with a new cartridge, blade, and cutting mat so don't be fooled by anyone trying to sell that as an extra bonus. Also, all cartridges work for all machines.)

The first choice you have is machine. There are three:
1. "Baby Bug" - the first released, cutting mats are 6x12 inches, comes with George. Basic Machine, highly transportable
2. Expression - second released, cutting mats are 12x12 and 12x24, comes with two cartridges. It also has great features the smaller bug doesn't have - you can cut smaller and larger sizes (.25 - 11.5 in as opposed to 1 - 5.5 in w/ the baby bug), you can print landscape or portrait, and some other things. I honestly wish I had these, but it is less transportable if that is an issue and it is more expensive. The best deal I've seen was online. It was about $350 for the machine, four cartridges, and markers. But you can probably find a cheaper price w/ less extras included on ebay.
3. Create - just released, only available at Michaels until later this year. Basically it is the Baby and Expression melded together. So it is the small size but has the extra features of the Expression. It comes with it's own cartridge as well. Sounds great, but Michaels is too expensive. I think I heard it is $300? So I'd say go with the Expression if you want the features.

Second choice is new or used. Many gals on my chat boards buy the expression then sell their baby. You can get a used machine for $100, but many hold on to the George cartridge. Even if you want to use the SCAL software you need to have one cartridge to make the thing work. I have George (and Celebrations and Paper Dolls) so you could borrow them if you ever wanted to use them and spend your money on a different cartridge you may want. The best price you will ever find for new or used cartidges is around $35 w/o shipping. And just so you know, "Solutions" cartridges are that price regularly but they have half as many items to cut. They are fairly new so you don't see them on sale often.

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