Getting a tattoo is a big decision, not only personally but also financially.
It’s no secret that using a reputable tattoo artist won’t come cheap. So unless you have a stash of savings waiting to be used, most people will need to find a way to save money before booking an appointment for a tattoo.
But how do you actually save for this permanent purchase? Whether it’s your first tattoo or fifth, this guide will tell you how to save money for a tattoo without needing to take out a loan.
How to save money for a tattoo
Open a dedicated savings account
First things first, you need somewhere safe to keep your tattoo fund.
Using a dedicated account rather than keeping money in your current account will motivate you to meet your goal sooner because you can see the progress that you make every time you add to it. It’s easy to withdraw money that you intended to use for your tattoo from a current account and spend it on other non-essential treats such as dining out or new clothes. But a separate account set up purely to save will help you stick to your goal.
Use comparison sites to shop around for accounts that offer the best interest rates to meet your tattoo fund goal quicker. A fixed term account will give you a higher interest rate, however you won’t be able to access your money until the fixed period ends. Some banks even give you cash when you open an account, giving you a great head start on your savings goal.
Once your account is set up, go through your income and outgoings to work out how much you can afford to add to your tattoo saving pot each month. This will also tell you how long it will take before you can consider tattoo artists and book your appointment.
Use a savings app for your new ink
Put your savings on autopilot by setting up an automatic transfer every time money goes into your account.
Apps such as Digit will analyze your spending habits and automatically transfer money into your tattoo fund account without you having to make a single decision.
Sell your stuff
You probably have a lot of items in your house that you no longer need. So, why not sell it and make some money? These used items often sell quickly online:
- Old electronics and technology
- Video games
- DVDs and CDs
There are lots of places that you can sell online if you know where to look. Facebook Marketplace is a good place to start. eBay and Craigslist are other options to consider advertising your items on. If you don’t have many items to sell, you can still make money by reselling items online. Spot bargains at garage sales or in thrift stores and resell them online for a profit. You can also consider hosting a garage sale. Don’t forget to advertise your garage sale in your local community by posting flyers and using Facebook community groups.
Change your sending habits
Whilst paying for a tattoo isn’t going to be the biggest financial commitment that you make in your lifetime, it’s still important to consider what’s important to you and alter your spending habits to meet your financial goals sooner.
There are several ways to immediately change your approach to spending money, including:
- Choosing less expensive alternatives such as walking rather than getting the bus. Ditch the fast food and make your own lunches and dinners.
- Make lifestyle changes such as pausing shopping trips with friends and doing something less expensive instead.
- Stop paying for subscriptions services that you don’t actually use. Whether it’s Netflix, Audible or gym memberships, the monthly charge of these services can eat away at your income and prevent you from saving. TrueBill is an app that reviews your purchase history and finds forgotten subscriptions to help you cancel them or renegotiate for a cheaper rate.
- Shop around for a better cell phone deal.
- Buy used items instead of new ones where possible, for example clothes and books.
- Take a staycation rather than jetting off to Ibiza. Or put a holiday on hold completely until you’ve met your goal and got the tattoo you’ve always dreamed of.
If you’re still lucky enough to receive birthday and Christmas gifts from family members, tell them that you’re saving for a tattoo and ask them to contribute to your savings pot instead.
Start a side hustle
If you don’t have much spare income, starting a side hustle could be the best way for you to save and pay for a new tattoo or save for your next tattoo.
The following side jobs are a great extra source of income that can be done in your spare time and used to top up your tattoo bank account.
Start a blog – if you’ve got a passion or experience that other people would be interested in reading about, writing a blog could be a lucrative way to earn some dollars. An established blog will make money through affiliate marketing.
Participate in online surveys – one of the quickest ways to earn money for a short term goal such as paying for a tattoo is by completing online surveys in exchange for cash. Swagbucks and Branded Surveys are some popular survey sites to try.
Review websites – sites such as UserTesting.com look for people to give feedback about websites and apps. Simply sign up to get started.
Pet sitting and dog walking – if you love animals, you can earn extra cash from looking after other people’s pets and get one step closer to walking into a tattoo parlor.
Wash cars – advertise a weekend car washing service in your neighbourhood using signs around your neighbourhood and on local Facebook groups. The average cost of a hand car wash service is around $5 to $20 per car, and the more you wash, the more you earn.
Become an Uber driver – if you’ve got a decent car, a clean driving record and a smartphone you can earn cash by driving. You also need to be over 21 years old and have at least three years of driving experience before you will get accepted. You can work as much or as little as you want to, making it the perfect side hustle for short term goals such as getting new ink.
Take on a savings challenge
The no-spend challenge – one of the most popular and effective spending challenges. Simply set an amount of time and don’t spend any extra money on non-essentials for that period. Gas, groceries, rent/mortgage and other bills count as essential, but eating out, home improvements and shopping don’t.
52-week money challenge – this method gradually increases the amount you deposit each week for one year. If you feel that 52 weeks is a bit of a stretch, try 26 weeks to start with.
Week 1 = $1
Week 2 = $2
Week 3 = $3
Week 4 = $4
And so on.
Round up money challenge – each time you make a purchase, use the roundup rule to round up the price to the nearest $5. So, if your purchase was $16.30, you roundup to $20 and put $3.70 into your tattoo fund pot.
Other things to consider when saving for your tattoo
There are factors that affect how much you need to save, including:
When – summer is typically a busy time for tattoo artists because people are out more and want to show off their new ink. People often have more money during the winter months because they go out less, and some tattoo shops may offer a discount during their quieter months.
Where – some tattooists may charge higher prices to tattoo areas of the body that may be more difficult to draw on such as a finger or toe.
Size – it goes without saying that the larger your design, the higher the cost. Ask for a quote before making a decision to avoid any unexpected financial surprises after the job has been done. You’re not just paying for the tattoo, but also the artist’s time and equipment.
Which tattoo artist you use – whilst you may not want an inexperienced tattoo artist taking a needle to your skin, keep in mind that highly experienced tattoo artists will come at a much higher price. You may also want to consider leaving a tip for the tattooist’s time and expertise if the end result meets or exceeds your expectations.
Aftercare – you’ll also need to budget for products such as lotion and antibacterial soap to ensure your new ink heals correctly.
Getting your tattoo
Getting a tattoo is a great way to express yourself and savvy people should save for one in the same way as a holiday or a car. Quality ink is pricey but now that you’ve saved enough money and can afford your tattoo, it’s time to visit a tattoo shop and make a decision on the tattoo you want.
For the latest advice and information on saving for your next financial goal, visit our personal finance blog.