Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Kira at Penny Foolish has written an interesting post about the economic considerations of getting a tattoo, and people have left some good comments. Kira wonders about the financial impact of a tattoo in terms of how it might affect your employment prospects. But I am also interested in how people justify the cost of the tattoo itself.
As I commented on that post, I have a small, inconspicuous tattoo myself. (I kind of like to keep my freak flag furled.) I got it almost 20 years ago. For less than 1 square inch of ink, I paid $35 (plus the cost of a bus ride to where the tattoo parlor was, since it was illegal where I lived.) For a college student, $50 or so can be a significant amount of money. So whenever I see young people whose bodies are covered with tattoos, I not only wonder if they will regret them someday when they need to get a job-- I wonder how much they must have cost and how they could rationalize spending that money on body art instead of all the other things one might prioritize as a college student, like books and pizza and beer.
I have no idea what tattoos cost nowadays, but if one square inch was $35 almost 20 years ago, then a full arm's worth of ink must cost over $1,000 today, wouldn't you think? Please leave comments if you have more accurate price info about tattoos.

So here's a poll for today: Assuming you have some interest in having some sort of tattoo or piercing or other body decoration, how much would you be willing to spend on it?

How much would you spend on a tattoo or other body art?
Not a penny but I might accept it as a gift
Up to $50
More than $300
Free polls from Pollhost.com


Brian said...

I have an orange tiger paw outlined in purple on my back that I got 2 years ago for $150. It's probably close to 3" by 3".

If you're really interested, you can see it over at my site. Also, send me links to your tattoo(s) and I'll post them up by mine.

Kira said...

Mine was $40 but that was the minimum amount for any tattoo. I probably could have gotten it three times as large for the same price. =) But yeah, the large tattoos and anything with color is incredibly expensive. Red is the most expensive, I think. And oftentimes if you get something complicated, they'll ask you to come back a second time a few weeks later to have it colored, to allow your skin to heal. So a second visit means a second set of expensive needles, new ink pods, etc etc.

collegesaver said...

Mine is about a square inch and costs $60. I got it when I graduated high school (three years ago) in a small place in my lower ab. I can cover it up easily, even when wearing a bikini. It's kind of like getting a permanent motivational quote to keep reminding me. Since it's in a inconspicuous place it's not going to affect my job search at all.

~Dawn said...

I paid $50 for mine in a college town in Iowa, 12 years ago. I was told it was a little more (normally 35) because of the location of the tat on my wrist.

I think it comes down to this, especially religious symbols. People will pay what is necessary if they really want that tat'.

For business I would definately get some concealer. But if you are working on getting sleeves of artwork, then you probably aren't going into a mainstream job anyway or are already thinking of ways to cover it up.

I think time will tell as tats become more and more mainstream, I don't think it will really be THAT big of a deal.

And here is my tat
(cross post Penny Foolish)