Enjoying Art on a Budget

As somebody who consumes a lot of art and media, I can tell you first-hand that it’s financially frustrating. I’ll hear about a book that I want to read, or an album that just came out, or a new video game that is stunning, and I always have to come to the same conclusion: I can’t have it all. This is easily attested to by the many lists on my phone of things I would love to get, and also by all the items saved for later in my Amazon shopping cart. Perhaps it’s something unique to me, but I doubt it; I think anybody who enjoys art wants something physical that can serve as a reminder of how great a work of art was. In this way, art is inherently nostalgic, and that’s a quality that I greatly appreciate, being a sentimental person myself. For example, the first video game I ever remember playing was Pokemon Sapphire on my brother’s GameBoy Advance; I absolutely loved it even though I had no idea what was going on (to be honest, I’m pretty sure I was stuck in Mauville the whole time because I didn’t know how to progress).

It was a combination of the style, the game-play, and the interesting Pokemon that kept me entertained, but more importantly, the game came to represent a simple time in my life. Eventually the game was sold, as it became obsolete in the face of iPods and iPhones, and I gradually forgot about it. Then a year or so ago I started to feel nostalgic about the simplicity of the GameBoy; it didn’t need internet, the battery lasted for days, it wasn’t cluttered with apps and social media, and it was a reminder of one of my first great experiences with art. Needless to say, I ended up finding and buying a used GameBoy and started collecting the Pokemon games, which eventually led to buying a used DS Lite for the nostalgia of playing Pokemon Diamond and Platinum. However, the cost was adding up, and I started to realize that I had forgotten the point entirely; I never wanted all of the games, I just wanted the one that was sentimental to me.

I learned a lot from that experience, but most importantly that art can be appreciated and enjoyed in small quantities. When I thoroughly enjoy a work of art, I no longer try to buy everything related to it, instead I focus on the one thing that I loved about it and try to find something that will represent that in a nostalgic way. As a result, I have a little bit from everything: the seventh book of One Punch Man (the style of the fight scenes in this book are especially impressive), the first volume of One Piece, a deck of tarot cards, and a poster from the anime Akira, just to name a few. Each of these things I would love to indulge in, but I’m glad I haven’t; it is essentially quality over quantity, which is perfect for somebody like me who already enjoys so much art to begin with. And as far as cost goes, I can appreciate a work of art without having to waste money; for example, if I wanted to own every manga from Akira, it would run me about $170, when instead I can appreciate it and remember how much I enjoyed it with a $15 poster. Obviously this is just my personal philosophy, and some people might think it’s outrageous to only own one book from a series. I can’t say they’re entirely wrong, and in a perfect world I would want the whole series too, but realistically this is what works for me. So consider this an alternative way of thinking about and appreciating art; perhaps you can find the same value in this philosophy as I do.

(Image Credits: Google Images)

Money

Money. This thin green paper with some famous person’s face and a number printed onto it. Smaller than a letter-sized sheet of print paper, yet people say it is valuable enough to purchase happiness.
Money is a funny thing. It comes and goes. It goes more easily than it comes. Especially when it comes to college. Need money? Simple, right? Get a job! Yeah… not quite so easy. I was a research assistant for a lab last year, and it was great, I earned a considerable amount of money. This year, I stuck with the lab, but more assistants were hired and now we fight for shifts; money came less easily from that one job. So I looked for another; I applied to many. Heard from none.

Am I really that awful a candidate? So awful that people won’t even respond to my email even to say “no” to me when I ask for an internship?

It makes me realize how much power money has over me, and many other people in the world. Money drives so many of people’s decisions.

It’s the holidays. Need gifts? Spend some money. Don’t got money? Go get some! Yeah… some people are stuck with robbing or thieving.

So, you’re a college student and you finally made some time for fun! Oh right, it’s Ann Arbor, what is fun here? Eating? Drinking? The arcade? How about the mall? Hmmm my wallet’s empty, so are my friends.

You’re moving out of town soon to go home for summer break. Awesome right? Well jeez, I’ve accumulated so much stuff, now I need to get rid of it… But how? Donate it? Hmm I need some money still… Maybe I’ll sell it! ‘$5 New without tag shirt from Macy’s’: customer reaction: ‘Can I get this for $3?’ It’s just a two dollar difference! One discount that I really don’t want to make, but I know I should or else I won’t get any money back for the things I’m selling, and I feel petty for not reducing! But then, shouldn’t the customer also know I’m super broke and need at least some value back for the things I’m selling, as I am already selling at a super low cost? It’s crazy, a dollar, or even two, makes such a large difference in determining how much stuff I can sell.

Money. So small, yet so powerful. It can make me happy, it can make me sad. Is money an antagonist to my story?

 

Shopping on Campus

It literally just blows my mind how much money we spend as students here in college!!
For those of us who live off campus, we have to account for monthly rent, groceries, and commuting to class!! Or, if we have a pet, we need to coordinate our time to them too!
Or even with those of us who do live in one of the dorms, we still spend on snacks, occasionally/always going out to eat when the dining halls don’t suit our tastes, and even clothes!!
Speaking of clothes, I am going to do a shameless plug for the Facebook page I just made!! Its name is “Wolverine Women’s Free and For Sale.” Long story short, I had difficulties with another similar Facebook Page to this, so I created my own!! Unfortunately it is only for ladies, so guys, if you’re interested in a similar page you can create one yourself and invite people to join you!! 🙂
So, I started off college not knowing this page was a thing. I discovered this page around sophomore year. It is called “Ladies of UofM Buy, Sell, and Trade.” What I loved about this page was that it welcomed everyone to sell things, and the things that people posted were usually lightly worn, as in they’re still in good enough condition to be re-worn and purchased by someone else. However, what I did not like was the atmosphere of the page- or at least the atmosphere that the admins created.
In the beginning of my time on this group/page, I loved it! I was able to get the things I wanted for free or for a way cheaper price than at the mall. However, as time progressed, sometimes I had to cancel transactions because I needed to save money for my architecture class supplies,or it was just too inconvenient to keep attempting to meet with the seller(s). The page rules, which is highly patrolled by the unforgiving admin, said “no flaking.” To me, and several other women I have talked to, “flaking” means to cancel a transaction without notifying the seller, or simply not showing up to purchase. My situation is technically not flaking because each time, I very politely told the seller whether or not I was available to purchase! Unfortunately, the admin did not understand my point and banned me from the page, deeming to never un-ban the banned members.
However, I still had stuff to sell, since I was broke and in need of money in college! So, I decided to create a new, better version of that page. In this page, I wanted to punish only the rude and actually flakey people, while preserving a safe, relaxed selling/buying environment that wasn’t so choosy on what you can and cannot post about!
So, this page, unlike the other page, allows for students to post about housing offers, ticket offers, events, and pretty much anything school-appropriate!
I aim for this page to become more popular than the other page because it is much more flexible in the posts’ contents, nobody has to feel bad for trying to save money by cancelling transactions, and whoever was also removed from that page in the past can now re-join this community!
Sorry if this post was more of a rant, but for anyone who is about to join the Ladies of UofM BST page, you can choose to still join that group with caution! I just wanted to share my terrible experience, which I hope nobody ever encounters, and promote my new page!

The link to this page is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1635983953155156/

NOTE: You must be in the Michigan Facebook group, in order to find and request to join!!

Happy shopping and thanks for reading all of this! 🙂