I’ve got $250 worth of art supplies sitting in my basket at the Dick Blick website. I want to buy all that stuff but I haven’t pulled the trigger just yet. That’s because $250 is a lot of money to me and I’m not sure I 100% need all those art supplies right now. I want them, that’s not in doubt, but do I need them? That’s the question we artists are always asking ourselves. At least we artists who aren’t made of money.

I think I ought to buy the art supplies right now because I really do have the money. My bills are paid and I have two checks coming in this week. There is the rub. The checks aren’t here yet. I have no doubt that they will be but as a freelance artist there have been many times I haven’t known when the next check will come. That includes just a few years ago when I turned 50 and then went through the longest period of not being able to find work of my life.

All my adult life I’ve had to be cautious with money. Most people have to be but as a freelancer I often get paid when I finish a job and don’t always have a regularly scheduled check. So I don’t like to spend my money before I get it. And sometimes I don’t like to spend it even when I have it. I never know what the future is going to bring.

It’s weird to that sometimes I can buy bigger things, like computer stuff, but have a hard time buying art supplies. Last month I spent $600 on a new film scanner. I admit that it took me at least two months to pull the trigger on that one but there is something about buying a big thing that makes it easier. Art supplies being a collection of smaller things seems more frivolous. It’s thirty seven things that add up to $250 in my basket.

Adding to the decision is that I also have to save up for a new laptop. My current laptop is ten years old, won’t run the latest Apple operating system, and as of just this month won’t run the latest versions of the Adobe programs. I bought a new Mac Mini last year so I don’t have to immediately replace the laptop but maybe within the next year I’ll have to. That’ll cost me at least $1800. Putting this art supply money towards that would be a good sized chunk of it. But do I want to?

I like art supplies. I love making art and I love trying out new things. Some artists always buy the same stuff and do things the same way but I don’t. I work in watercolor, acrylic, gouache, markers, ink, pen, pencil, digital, and anything else I can get my hands on. That’s a lot of stuff and a lot of supplies. I’m used to stocking up during the good times so I have art supplies to use during the leaner times. I think these are the good times right now but it’s been a while so I really not 100% sure. Thus I hesitate.

One of the reasons I think this is the good times is because I bought something completely useless and silly yesterday. I bought a football card. I like football and watch the New York Giants every week but I don’t collect football cards. I paid $20 on eBay for and autographed card and I don’t even collect or care about autographs. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it. It was an impulse buy.

When times are lean I don’t make any impulse buys. I barely buy anything. That makes sense when I barely have any money. But I find that when I’m spending a lot of time working for money I will make impulse purchases. Not all the time and not expensive purchases but it seems like after working long hours for a paycheck I want to buy something with that paycheck. That’s the impulse. What is the point of working for pay if not to buy stuff? That’s the feeling that goes away when the work goes away.

I also have a bunch of comic books on my “mycomicshop.com” wishlist. I go the my local comic shop every week so I don’t have much of a desire to buy back issues but occasionally I do. They’re not expensive back issues and I don’t really need them so I end up making an order about once a year. I probably spend $50-60 a year at the website. I spend that much in 2-3 weeks at my local comic shop but somehow that seems like a lot more money at a comic book website. That is probably because I get my fill of comics from my local comic shop and collected editions that I buy off of Amazon.

Just this week I bought a collected edition from Amazon and one from my local comic shop. They ran me about $25 a piece so why does spending that much money on a website seem like more. It could be the $10 shipping. Any order I make turns out to be ten dollars more. Money not spent on the actual comics. I can get two or three extra comics at my local comic shop for that $10.

One more thing I saw this week that I want to buy is software. There is a company called Affinity that makes inexpensive graphics software. It’s made to compete with Adobe’s software. I don’t use the Affinity stuff much but I own the version one of their software. They just came out with version two and to buy all the different programs it will cost you $100. That’s not that expensive but it’s a big chunk of those art supplies. Especially for programs I don’t use a lot.

One more thing on my radar is a Nintendo Switch. I only want one to play the old NeoGeo Pocket game “Cardfighter Clash.” They run about $400 and the odds of me getting one are really slim. I’m not even sure if I’d ever really play it. I mostly want the game for nostalgia purposes. It’ll make me feel like it’s the late 1990s again. That was a pretty good time for me. Most times were really okay. But I can always use more times with impulse purchases. Maybe after those checks clear. I’ll have to see.