How to Save up for a Tattoo – and Support Your Artist

As the UK enters its second month of lockdown, there has never been a better time to distract yourself with daydreams of new ink, and getting serious about planning for that amazing piece of body art. 

Plus, should you be in the position to book in with your artist and pay a deposit during this time, you will be supporting them as they cannot perform their work when studios are forced to stay closed. 

Cheetah Black Grey Tattoo by Andrei

By Andrei from Vivid Ink Sutton

Break it down

While the sum you will pay for a good quality original piece of art may seem daunting when seen in one full figure (but as you know by now, with tattoos, you most definitely get what you pay for), when broken down into a budget, it doesn’t need to hurt your spending habits too much. 

Let’s say you have researched, googled, and Instagrammed the hell out of hashtags such as #dotwork, #neotrad, #thightattoo #fullsleeve or #underboob. You have a folder on your computer with photos of your favourite animals/rockstars/flowers/superheroes/mandalas for reference and have a rough idea of backgrounds/colour-scheme. So by now, you have an idea of the size and placement for your tattoo and your artist can give you a good estimate of time and price. 

Example day sitting

For example, I have a pretty sizeable black and grey snow leopard cub on my thigh surrounded by cherry blossoms and with a dark moon for a backdrop. I had it done in Denmark, having booked in about 6 months before, and the piece took two full days, back-to-back. The artist’s daily rate was about 700 Euros. So take that times two, and as previously stated, at first it may seem a little steep. But it is honestly my favourite piece (I have five more, including a half-sleeve) and it makes me incredibly happy and sort of in love with life every time I see it. I have also had a half sleeve done in one day for £450. So let’s take a number somewhere in between and break down the investment for a moment. 

Floral Hummingbird Tattoo by Jamaine

By Jamaine from Vivid Ink Hagley Road

Weekly savings

So let’s dream kind-of-but-not-too big for now and imagine you have something made that is about half the size of my snow leopard and would require a full day sitting and your artist charges about £500 for it. And that you have booked in… about 3 months in advance. Seems a reasonable time frame at the moment, and some artists only take bookings that far in the future normally anyway. So let’s say you have around 12 weeks to save that amount. That means you need to save about £41 each week. While of course still not unnoticeable, all of a sudden, at least it doesn’t feel quite so insurmountable. Of course, if you are not looking for something that takes a full day the number drops quite quickly.

Take a week to look at your daily expenses. See where you could potentially shave off a few pounds each day. While right now is undoubtedly a stressful time for everyone, it is also a good time to take stock and assess our habits with time we might not usually have. Perhaps it is also a time you are cooking at home more than eating out and so you are in more control of what you are spending on meals. 

Moth Butterfly Black and Grey Tattoo by Dan H

By Dan H from Vivid Ink Walsall

There are a ton of apps that could help you budget and make sure that you save the amount you have intended. A really good basic one for budgeting beginners is Mint, or you could manage it with a little Excel spreadsheet. Or just good old, basic, analogue pen and paper. So start planning, and you can have that new gorgeous piece to show off when we are all back to being social again.