The path of photography is not always cheap. As a family man and photographer, I really have to look at how I spend money. A person can go broke or in debt, trying to acquire and maintain cameras, lenses and other equipment. People today have less money to begin with due to the economic downturn. With patience, one could save money for their photography needs. To me it’s about anticipating what’s needed and wanted long before buying it.
What to Save For
Knowing what I am using my money for is important: It helps me set limits and goals. One has to make a decision where they want to take their photography. Camera bodies, eg the Nikon D90 or the Canon 7D, do not last forever and it is good to have more than one. People need specialized lenses for photography styles, like tilt-shift for architectural or and 85mm prime for portraits. A photographer, no matter the level, must also consider accessories like lens pens and filters and cleaning supplies. I keep a list of all this, marked needed and wanted. It helps me from being impulsive, and helps me decide how I am going to save money for things.
Limits & Goals
Saving is a perpetual thing. However, you can set limits for particular items so that you can have goals. Once an item is completely saved for, funds can be diverted elsewhere. You shouldn’t just save for one thing. Rationally break up what you need and divide your savings between them. I separate my savings three ways, “new camera fund”, “needs”, and “wants.” My new camera fund receives most of the money, on the other hand I keep the other two savings files funded for things for emergencies and supplies. Example: I needed a new DK-21 Rubber eyecup for my Nikon D90 DSLR. I looked up the price, grab cash went to B&H in New York and got it. What camera and I saving up for? I am saving for the successor to the Nikon D700 (Rumored to be called the D800).
How to Save
Sacrifices may have to be made. You have to look at your spending habits, and decide what can be cut back on. You will be surprised how much a few cuts, in your spending, can you save you. Changes in your financial lifestyle can also help you out a lot.
Learn to Cook
Cooking has been one of my biggest money saving tools, not just for me, but also for my entire family. Investing in a good all-around cookbook and cooking my favorite stuff at home has put money into the family’s pocket especially my camera fund. One of my biggest ways of saving is not eating out. If you factor in how much eating out cost, lunch every day and various other meals, you could be saving $100 a week.
How much money do you spend on coffee a day? A week? A year? Do you know?
I did not until I actually stopped and started buying coffee beans and grinding them myself. I was spending around $5-$10 a day. Now that I have purchased a French press cup, and a grinder, I’m spending around $10 a week. This leaves more money for the family and photography. Yes, it takes a little more time, but I like putting the cash away.
Go Cash Only
Happiness, for me, is not being in debt and respecting money. I am fond of not paying extra on an item. I prefer keeping what would have been interest in my pocket. I only use a credit card for purchase I have to make a purchase online and have the cash, available to pay it off right away. When spending cash, one could take the change, acquired every day, and just put it away, in a jar or something of that nature. This will build up quickly. It’s a reasonable assumption that going cash only will force you to pay attention to where all your money is going, therefore giving you a better image you’re spending habits.
In the End
If, like me, you are not rich, but take your photography very seriously, you can get the good gear. Time and patience mixed in with saving money is indispensable. The less you are worrying about paying of bills, the more you can get out, shoot, and enjoy photography.
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