How much should I spend on art?

If you have extra money, and you’d like to learn to make decorative art, use that money to take an art class at a local community center or college. You can make decorations yourself, as can any person at any income level. Classes in art making are an investment in personal joy, not an investment in art as an asset for your investment portfolio. However, the firsthand knowledge of how things are made can help you make wiser art purchases.

If you’re living on very little money, you can spend very little money or get art for free. I once was walking in Greenwich Village on garbage collection day and found a beautiful sculpture that someone had put out with the trash. I’ve also bought wonderful art at thrift stores for less than five dollars.

If you’re making ordinary money and have some left over at the end of the month after you’ve paid your bills (including saving for retirement), then you can have your extra money be art-buying money. You can buy like the person who lives on little money (above) or you can take it a step further. You then have to choose whether you want to invest in art, just buy appealing stuff for your walls, or some combination. See the documentary Herb and Dorothy for more information. 

If you’re managing a diversified investment portfolio and you’re considering art as an investment, please be sure to have your primary assets invested in safe, secure, long-term vehicles. It’s important to invest prudently for your retirement. You can then buy art like the person living on little money, or making ordinary money, and that’s a good place to start. You also have the opportunity to spend more, once you are an educated consumer. Please do not throw your money away by buying art before you’ve educated yourself.

If you’ve been “bitten by the art bug,” you’re in love with art…. In that situation, it’s a good general rule of thumb to make your mortgage payment before your buy art each month. You can afford to lose a little weight, but you need a roof over your head–and a place to put your art.