I am a firm believer that we allocate money and that we make time for what is important to us. Another way of saying this is, we have the money for what we have the money for. We spend silly amounts of money on lots of things in our lives without even thinking about how much we are spending. Most of it is to provide comfort, to entertain us, or to make us feel good. Have you ever stopped to think how much you spend on coffee, craft beer, satellite/cable, or even your cell phone bill? It is astronomical. Here is the break down and these are just averages. They may not be your vices, but just replace your vice here and see how much money you are spending on consumption. Note that this is our disposable income and this is what we are spending our money on…
Cell Phone: Family of 2 $1200 – $1500 a year with 2 smart phones and data plans.
Coffee/Starbucks: $20 per week. $1,092 per year
Beer in Asheville: $1270 per year (and this is just beer, not alcohol in general)
Cable/TV – Average plan $64.41/month $800 per year
Total for just these 4 annually: $4662.00
Wow, that is a lot of cheddar. Almost 5 thousand bones just on things we consume, and this doesn’t even include the subscription services we all utilize. This post is not meant to make you feel bad or to point fingers. A couple years back, my wife and I decided an area that we could cut back on was cable/satellite. We found that most of the shows we really wanted to see eventually ended up on Netflix, so we decided to ditch our satellite subscription. We were paying around $40-50 per month once our 1st and 2nd year rebates ended. We decided for our family, that we would rather put that $600 towards something that is more meaningful to us. We started investing that money into something that is much more lasting, and much more meaningful to us. We put that money towards professional photography and high quality prints. One thing we realized though is that because the pace at which our lives move, we would never really sit down to look at our photos after a photo session. We would get that initial excitement and giddiness as we would see how our family was captured, but then we would never revisit the images after about a month. They would collect dust on a cd in a drawer or on a hard drive. Sure it’s nice that they are there, so we can look back on them one day, but when will that one day come?
This is why we decided it was paramount that we find a lasting way for us to be reminded of what really matters in life which is our relationships with our children and each other. The number one thing people say to me as it pertains to purchasing professional prints is, “it’s not in the budget.” So it is within most people’s budget to spend over 2 grand on beer and coffee in a year, but not in the budget to buy a $400 album or a $300 piece of wall art? Yikes.
If you are someone who doesn’t value photography, I cannot make you suddenly value it. But, if you are someone who values photography, someone who pays for a professional to take your photos, then for God’s sake, get something printed on a canvas, a metal, or in an album. It’s timeless, it’s an investment and it is something that will last much longer than a latte, beer, or tv show. I am not saying drop all these things from your daily life, but just start to think about ways you can curb your lifestyle so you have money in your budget for priceless memories on your walls. The best thing about having a beautiful peace of art on your wall of your family or your significant other, is that every time you look at it, it will remind you of why any of this matters, why life matters.