When it comes to bargains and living on very little then I like to think I'm pretty good at it. I love sewing, it's a great stress reliever but a lot of the fabrics I love are well out of my price range and can make a simple project very expensive. This is where there is a need to think outside the box as to where to source fabric, ribbons, cottons, embroidery threads, etc.
My first stop for fabric is always Spotlight. I only ever buy fabric that is on sale and my upper limit is $10 a metre but it would have to be pretty good fabric for me to spend that. I always check out the clearance section, I think about what could be made from fabrics I'm drawn to and I take my time.
Next stop are emporiums. We are lucky that there are a few emporiums filled to the brim with fabric (although I rarely buy fabric from there), buttons, ribbons, trims, zips, threads - absolutely everything you need for every type of craft (or so it seems) and it is all much cheaper than other outlets.
Secondhand stores are a great source of fabric - look for things like sheets, blankets, curtains, tablecloths, and sarees as they all make cheap sources of large amounts of fabric. If you're lucky you might find projects that others have passed on - I have found a large pack of roughly cut fabric pieces obviously ready for a quilt. While it wasn't any type of fabric I would seek out, it actually ended up making quite a nice quilt.
If you live in a small town sourcing items cheaply may be a bit more difficult but it can be done. Try Trade Me for bulk fabric purchases and online fabric stores in their clearance section.
Friends, Family & Neighbours
It may sound strange to source fabric from neighbours but if they know you are interested in sewing then they may just offer you something. Let family and friends know you're interested in any old linen they may be thinking of throwing out - you will always find a use for it.