Even after doing the legwork, and despite the urge to collect, you may still find it hard to justify buying original art on, for example, a young person’s entry-level salary. The Rubells started their collection on a monthly budget of $25, and their families told them it was nuts to be spending that much of their meager income on art. “It is about prioritizing money. So maybe you don’t buy the fancy shoes that year, you know?” Mera said, referencing the need to play budgetary Tetris when cash flows are tight.
“If art collecting becomes your priority, you won’t need to see it as a sacrifice, because how can you compare owning an original work of art to having the fancy whatever-it-is?” she added. “Maybe you’ll give up soda. We waste a lot of money on stuff.”
Collectors can never afford to buy absolutely everything they’d like to, anyway, so making tough decisions about your spending is key. “If you’re a young collector with limited funds,” Mera said, “you have to really examine what makes your life more meaningful—what makes your blood boil, what turns you on.”