Cost is indeed a factor in scrapbooking. You can obtain free scrapbook supplies from places like Digi Free; Ikea Goddess; and other sorces. Just use your search by typing "Digital Scrapbooking Freebies". You can download free kits and boom you are off. Except: The one investment I made was in a graphics program called "Paint Shop Pro". I would love to coorespond with others using this program. PSP is less expensive than Photoshop and does nearly all the same things. I never bothered with instructions, I am adventurous and just started pushing "buttons" to see what happened. That started in "03 and I have not looked back. There are plenty of either free or very low cost programs for digital scrapbooking. Since I want to also use my program for digital art pieces I did not get just a scrapbook application.
One great benefits of digital scrapbooking is that you can't make a mess. (Grin) I do both hands-on and digital, frequently combining them for what is now called a "hybrid piece" If you would like more help, I will be glad to help you with PSP--I have PSP version 8. They are now up to version10. If you get that you will just have more options than I have. But when you begin to realize what is out there, you will go nutz. Frugal is great, but free is better.
If you want to use your free scrapbook kits by printing some of the things out and doing hands-on, you can do that too. Digital has ALL the supplies you would have in real life. Ribbons, brads, "stamps" meaning brushes;bows, household items, colored "paper", torn "paper", jewlery chains, pendants, lace, alphabets, quick pages (prepared designs--you just add your photo); animals, real and drawn, paper piecing people, leaves, flowers, wreaths, stick pins, bows, glitter, jewels, food items, baby items and kits are color coordinated for the theme of the kit. Of course, one usually has to use either an 8x8 or 8.5X11 paper in the printer. There are 12 inch printers, but they are very very expensive. I think digital scapbooking is really fun and it does go quickly.