Should I? Shouldn’t I?

My husband got a sweet little bonus from work this week. It wasn’t that much, but ANY amount of extra money is considered “sweet” and also “like winning the lottery” up in this mutha. Because we are perpetually “broke.”
When he showed me the check, he said “I know you’ve been wanting a new camera, SO, I want you to put away $500 of this to save for a new one.”
My first reaction was “Wow. REALLY?” and then “No way, I can’t. I just can’t.”
He kept insisting that I take it to start a little savings for a camera. (Because $500 isn’t going to cut it.) It’s his way of relieving his guilt for all of the birthdays, anniversaries and christmas’ that I’ve gone without a gift. (See:”perpetually broke” above. And also See: My husband is a jerk in the gift giving department. His excuse usually goes something like this “I’m sorry, babe. Your birthday just “CREPT UP ON ME” and I “ran out of time.” But mostly? it’s the “perpetually broke” thing, HOWEVER, a card only costs a couple of bucks, howza’bout getting me one of those next time? )
I really WANT to take him up on his offer, because MY GOD, A NEW CAMERA! But! And it’s a BIG but! THE GUILT will not let me accept that offer.
The kids need things. We need things. There are bills. And so on and so forth. How can I justify taking almost half of the bonus for something for myself?
I can’t.
Or can I?
Perhaps I can! I mean, it’s a camera, which means, I’ll be taking pictures of my children. Pictures that I can pass onto them when they have children of their own and that will be around for hundreds of years. So, this camera really isn’t a “toy” for me, but rather a tool that I’ll use to document their lives!
Damn, that was good. And yet? The Guilt I feel about spending money on a camera that NO ONE ELSE IN THE DAMN WORLD will be allowed to touch except for me, myself and I is still alive and kickin’.
That said, just in case I am able to get past the guilt and actually use money on something really cool for myself, any suggestions on affordable, yet totally awesome D-SLR cameras?

61 thoughts on “Should I? Shouldn’t I?

  1. Sarah

    Oh you should, you should. I love my Nikon D50 and they’ve plummeted in price since I bought mine a year ago. The results are stunning even at first when you have no idea what you’re doing or pressing. So, yeah, I’m the little devil on your shoulder hissing “buy it, buy it” into your ear 😉
    Plus, if you get yourself a bright and shiny DSLR, maybe the kids could use your current camera to capture their memories too. Some of the most fun pics I’ve seen on Flickr are from young children.

  2. Michelle

    Do it. You deserve to gift yourself every now and then too. Your husband works hard but so do you- you deserve a little sumpin’ to keep you going too.

  3. sweetney

    totally what sarah said: you can now get a d-50 for like just under $700. so you’re less than $200 away!
    i say go for it. you so totally fucking deserve it.

  4. Itchy

    I love my Canon Digital XT camera so damn much. I was stuck at home without power today (damn you Ernesto!!!!) and I took pictures allllll day long. Documenting storms is important work!
    I had the guilt, too. But I figured “fuck it.” :) Eloquent, no?

  5. Princess of Power

    Do it do it do it! My huband got me my long yearned for Nikon D70 for our 5th anniversary this past May and while I still don’t know how to use it well, I love the hell out of that thing.

  6. Lisa G.

    Please read your previous post – you deserve a hell of a lot more than a camera!!! You can take a pass on the next bonus if it makes you feel better;). Life is short – so go for it!
    joy unexpected = unexpected camera= joy!

  7. Helen

    Lurve my Canon Digital Rebel. Obviously don’t exactly know how it works yet, but it does have an automatic setting… And I know that sort of defeats the point but the photies it takes are grrrreat.

  8. Jennifer

    You could take the money, and put it aside for a set amount of time, while you figure out what camera you want… that way, if something unexpected comes up and you really need it for the kids or the house, you’ll still have it. After your set amount of time, if nothing has come up, you can buy it!
    I love how I can come up with these plans for other people, but not for myself.

  9. Beth

    Oh yes you can! You DO deserve it! When your husband tells you to put away $500 for something you really want- you NEVER say no!

  10. Kristie

    OK, first of all, the “but I’m doing it for THEM!” is totally the excuse I use to justify the money I spend on scrapbooking supplies. Because after all, I’m preserving precious memories, for generations and years to come. It’s amamzing how I can take a hobby that *I* enjoy and twist it around until really, shouldn’t my husband be paying ME to do this scrapbooking stuff???? :)
    Same with the camera. It’s pretty much every bit as essential as a microwave. Or vacuum cleaner. Or air. I mean, you NEED to provide this service for your family!!!
    Personally, I’ve had my Canon Digital Rebel for about two and a half years now and I couldn’t be happier with it. I’m sure there are newer models out, but I have no intention (or need) to upgrade. I use the automatic feature with different modes, so I get really great pictures without doing the work of figuring out shutter speed or aperature or any of that other stuff that is way too complicated for me. My one big splurge (after the camera, of course) was a telephoto lens. But once you see pictures of your kids …. taken with a high-quality camera …. even if you’re only a medium-quality photographer like me …. you’ll know it was worth every penny!
    Do it! It’s not like you’re pilfering $500 out of the family savings — he’s TELLING you to do it! Take his blessing and RUN THE HELL WITH IT TO BEST BUY!!!!! :)

  11. Ozone Ferd

    I have the Canon Rebel XT, it’s da bomb. It’s a shade under a professional camera but 1000 times better than point and shoot or those pseudo SLR cameras. Great for us professional amateurs. Check out the Flickr groups (if you havn’t already) for comments on cameras, there are groups for every brand with sample pics taken. I bought mine over a year ago for $900 (I had a Canon SLR so I had lenses already) but I see it is in the $500-$600 range now.

  12. Michelle

    I didn’t read through all of the comments, so I might be repeating myself here……
    For two years, I’ve wanted a Fuji s7000….then, when I’m at the end of my rope….not to mention, threatening my husband…I bought the a Fuji S9000….It’s a lot of camera for one thing. Sometimes when I take a picture and I’ve had too much green tea and am all shakey, the pics come out blurred. But, I always take about 20 pics of the same thing, so it’s no skin off of my nose. I’ve had this camera for almost a month and I’m loving it more every day. You have to consider though, it’s the first (yes, the first) digital camera that I’ve owned. I’ve always been a shutter bug, but for me, this takes the cake!
    Sorry that I’m not much help!!!!
    Oh!!! One thing I’m going to get soon (my husband just got a raise) is a tri-pod. The Fuji S9000 is extremely sensitive!!!!!!
    Now I’ll go and read the other comments and realize that I should have bought a Sony or a Cannon! Heh!

  13. wdc

    I also have the Canon Rebel XT and am in love. LOVE. I had a lot of guilt about spending that much money on a camera. Then the husband went and bought it for me as a surprise.
    Put the money aside for the camera Y. You deserve it. And the pictures are amazing with a good quality camera. Imagine the joy you will feel when you push the button to take a picture and the picture is taken with NO delay. Think about how happy the boys will be to not have to do the same thing over and over hoping you get the shot!!! This will make everyone happier, not just you. When the Mama is happy everyone is happy. Do it.

  14. stephanie

    Go for it! Here’s my argument…
    a) You take AMAZING photographs. Perhaps when Gabby is a bit older, you could do some freelancing. Or maybe even just offer up your talent for kids’ birthday parties or something and make some extra cash. Think of a new camera as an investment.
    b) Sure, it’s technically a bonus from HIS job, but he’s totally right that you should get some of it too. After all, what perks (monetary, I mean, of course) do you get from being a mom? Not damn near enough.
    c) If you feel really guilty about taking the money, after you buy your new camera maybe you could sell your current one. I know it wouldn’t make up for it completely, but then you could turn around and take that money to pay the bills.

  15. Dani

    I used to work in a photo lab, and I currently do freelance digital retouching, etc. Honestly, nothing can touch how nice Canon image quality is. I like Nikon, they make a great camera, but IMHO, Canon just puts out better skin tones and colour range. Just my opinion, but I can -always- pick out a Canon photo.

  16. DeannaBanana

    I also have the Nikon D50 and LOVE it to bits. Feel free to go and look at my flickr page (there is a link on my blog), if youd like. There are a few pics there.
    Affordable and delicious, in my humble opinion. Also, regarding the guilt, it truly is an investment and not a toy. It helps too that it compatable with all of their lenses, which you could inverst in over time, via Ebay and the like.

  17. Gina

    Why not meet him half way? Take $250 set it aside, use the other half for bills. It’s a start on saving for a camera of your liking. :)

  18. The Wooden Porch

    Ever heard of Terri Hatcher’s new book “Burnt Toast”? She says women don’t ever take what they deserve. Why do we eat the burnt toast when we feed our family the good stuff? Throw that crap away and respect yourself enough to make some good toast too.

  19. Kymba

    I say go for it. Knowing absolutely nothing about DSLRs, I ended up with the D50 based mostly on Dooce’s amazing shots of Jon and Leta, and also because Costco (!) had them on a big blowout sale that included the regular lens plus a telephoto.
    I completely admit, I am still way intimidated to turn that dial to ‘manual’ and actually start taking creative shots – mostly I stick to the safe territory of ‘auto'; I can actually hear the microcomputer inside my D50 snickering derisively.

  20. Type (little) a

    I’m going to say “TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN HONEY”, but I’m a total friggin hypocrite. I would TOTALLY feel the same way as you do.
    But consider this: Tony obviously WANTS you to get something you want, to make you happy. Think about how good you feel when you find someone the “perfect” gift.
    So if you buy the camera, you’re not just making yourself happy, but your husband, too.
    And I’m still a hypocrite.

  21. Becka

    I think you take some pretty damn good photos Y, of a professional standard. Is there any way you could make a bit of money using the camera? Perhaps photograph some of the local scenery and make cards to sell, or prints for framing? Canvas prints have become really popular here in the UK, maybe they’re catching on in the USA too?
    Just a thought :)

  22. Shaunta

    I have the Nikon D50, too. I used similar justifications…including convincing my husband that we’ll save tons of money if I take pictures of the baby instead of us going to Sears or something.
    I love my camera. It’s super easy to use, on Auto or Manual. I do notice that sometimes I have to go in to photoshop and adjust the color slightly, but nothing big. Just me being picky.
    I paid $800 for mine, but I know they’re cheaper now *shaking my fist*
    Go for it Y…I’ve had several things happen in the last few weeks that really prove that you only live once.

  23. Jenna

    I’ve never commented on here before, but I love to read your blog. Anyway, first off, TAKE THE MONEY! You deserve it! I always have to convince myself that I deserve a little treat. It’s hard when there kids to feed and bills to pay, but you have to do it! And second, I also have the Fujifilm S9000, and even though it’s not a D-SLR, it’s a great camera. But as for D-SLRs, I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Canon Rebel XT.

  24. Laura

    I got the Canon Rebel XT in October and have already hit 25,000 pics! I’ve even made money photographing other peoples’ kids! It’s totally worth it and we never again have to pay someone else to take our photos. Get some fleece at walmart and voila, backdrop that’s perfect and professional looking when you take pictures!
    Check my blog to see pictures I’ve taken with it! Although my latest aren’t up yet..
    http://www.girlonfire.net/sebastian/2006/August/30 there’s my latest and new favs!
    I recommend the book Understanding Exposure as well to learn more about how to use it!

  25. Skatemom

    I got a Nikon Coolpix 8800 for about $800 complete last year, with extra lenses, two carrying cases, etc. It is an amazing camera. You deserve the right tools, and if he’s offering it — TAKE IT. No martrydom allowed.

  26. claire

    Canon Rebel XT — my husband totaly raided our tax account to get this for me for our anniversary. “because you totally deserve it and would never spend the money on it yourself” which is totally true, I would have paid our taxes, or bought a new printer, and maybe had the house painted so we don’t look trashy like we don’t take care of our house… but whatever I LOVE MY CAMERA. I had the film SLR of this camera since I graduated highschool, and loved it, so there was no question for me on which digital camera to get.
    I am not sure I would say it is a shade below professional. The settings and possibilites of this camera are incredibly and it is as nice or nicer than the cameras the professional photographers at my work use.
    http://www.purplehouseonpearl.com/sheSaid.php
    that is a detailed picture I took of a grass at my mom’s. actualy all of the pictures I have onflickr just about are from that camera.
    I am pretty sure the price is under 1000 even for the newest greatest best verion of the camera not onsale. And I bet you can get a year old model for only 600!
    SO GO FOR IT! your husband knows what he is talking about it when he says you deserve it, and let him take the responsibility out of your hands, because of course it is hard to let yourself buy yourself something that nice when there are family obligations,but you still deserve it and can manage it??!!!!

  27. Nina

    My husband does a little work “on the side” to make up for his crap pay at the big orange box. So yesterday he comes in and says, “the money I get from these 2 things is MINE and you can have my bonus check when I get it.” He’s so nice (because he knows I’ll pay bills with it).
    Okay, my point is, put the money in the savings. That way, you’ll be working on the camera, but (and this is how I’d justify it) you could use it in case of an emergency. Of course, if no emergency came up by the time you have enough for the camera, then by all means, get the camera. haha

  28. Carrisa

    I’m sure all 30 of these other comments are people telling you to get a camera. I agree with them. My digital is the basic cheapest non zooming kodak you can get. My hubby bought a Canon Rebel. It’s the shiz… but now I want a small but nice digital. What’s my point? I don’t really have one I guess. Just go for it! You deserve it!

  29. stepherz

    (Shaking fist at computer **Remember Me, darnit! I’m sick of typing that in everytime I post!**)
    Anyways, Y, I think you should love yourself a little and buy the camera. Those youngins aren’t hurting for anything major; they look well taken care of and loved. You have no reason to feel guilty about doing something good for yourself…

  30. Cheryl

    I vote for the camera too. He probably feels guilty for all the times he didn’t get you anything, not even a card and so he’s trying to make it up to you and relieve himself of guilt. Don’t you want to help him not feel guilty anymore? Of course you do! (how’s that for another justification? lol)

  31. Ayesha97

    I just came across this site and I’m totally inspired. You need to check it out if you are debating getting a better camera.
    I love checking out your photos on flickr… so I’m not gonna tell you no. 😉

  32. buzz

    Have you ever tried to make money with your pictures? Because, honestly, I think you take fantastic shots. Granted, you have some of the best models EVER living in the same house with you but you seriously have a great eye. I love your photography! And I love you too! WAY more than you could ever love me. *grin*

  33. Jenny

    Another vote for buying yourself the camera. I’ve always owned Canons and just got the Digital Rebel XT for my birthday in July. LOVE IT. Go for it.

  34. Joe P

    You take wonderful pictures Y, and although I am of the opinion that its not the camera, its the photographer, with a Nikon D50, you will positively lose your mind.
    I am NOT exaggerating.
    I picked up my factory refurbished Nikon D50 for $379 from Beach Camera, and bought a 50mm lens for 40 bux from a pawnshop. This allowed me to get the camera NOW (well, last april) instead of waiting for christmas as I had planned. Unfortunately, I got it just as the world discovered how great the D50 is, and the price went up a week after I got it.
    My point is that I got the camera sooner than later, and I wish I hadnt waited. I dig the need to take care of the kids and the bills, but your husband wants you to be happy.
    As I said, this camera will make you lose you everloving mind, and your kids will run away from you even more for you will be taking FAR more pictures, if that is possible. :)

  35. kristin

    Just to make you feel better, I thought I should let you know that my husband is also a sucky, sucky gift-giver. He got me NADA three Christmas’s in a row and then recently gave me the shaft on our anniversary. And I don’t mean that in a double entendre way…all I mean is I got nothing. Not even a card. And so if he came to me and said “Here honey, you deserve this money” you betcha I’d take it and buy me something I really want/need/love. Go for it.

  36. Laura

    As a photographer, naturally I say take the money and buy a camera. I take the opportunity to spend any extra money on photography related items. It’s like crack to me though. It will bring you much joy!!
    As for which model, you will find that everyone has their own opinion of what “brand” is best. Oddly enough I like several for different reasons. For the price range you are looking for, I’d go with the D50 also. A bit higher priced than that is the D70, but it may be more than you need as the D50 is great for less.
    A previous poster showed their camera on the “dpreview” site. I strongly reccomend this site for checking out cameras and features. There is a “comparison” option that rocks, shows prices, specs, everything. http://www.dpreview.com (I looked on there for probably 6 months or more debating on which camera to purchase when buying my first DSLR.
    Good luck and have fun when you get it.

  37. mmc

    You HAVE to take the $$$!!
    There will always be things they ‘need’, things you ‘need’ for the house…etc.
    It’s found money…use it on something fun.

  38. geeky

    dude, my dad sent me email for my birthday. he said “it was the best he could do on short notice”. wtf! my birthday comes every year at the SAME TIME. you have a YEAR to prepare! gah.
    anyway… if i were to have $500 to save for a new camera (and believe me, i know The Guilt, which is exactly why i don’t have a dSLR yet), i would save it to buy a canon d20 or a canon rebel XTi with some sweet lenses. but that’s just me.

  39. melly

    Oh for the love of God, buy your stupid camera! When is the next time the pig hunter is going to be so gracious with his money?
    Oh and buy me a new vibrator while you’re at it. I think I accidentally donated mine inside of a huge bag of clothing. And NO I am not kidding.

  40. de

    I waannnnaaa SLR toooo! Am currently in love with the XT, but ya know, I have no leverage since we bought a house! As if!!
    Anyway, I’m delurking to tell you to check out CheapStingyBargains, you can find awesome coupon deals! Especially electronic equipment, which Yaayyyaaah! http://www.cheapstingybargains.com/ Also, that I love reading your blog… when my monkey lets me.

  41. Lilly

    I use a Minolta Konica DiMage Z2 and I love it. It takes great pictures in and out doors and has a 10X zoom. I wanted something that could take photos in low natural light and this works for me. I bought a brand new one on ebay for $140 and it came with a case and a second lens. They normally sell for about $350 these days I think. There’s a new version of this camera but I think the old Z2 is great.

  42. Maria

    I hope you are able to get passed the guilt. You deserve the new camera. Perhaps, you can think of it as long overdue OT pay for your 24/7 job. 😉
    And Ebay is a good place to save some dollars. I read the small print and have not been disappointed yet.

  43. chris

    yet another vote in favor of the d50. as a mom of 5 whose kids first learned to recognize my face, my boobs, and my lens– although maybe not in that order–i’m here to tell you that you can’t take too many pictures!

  44. Izzy

    Dude…you’re a mom. You work hard every day. You SO deserve to get a treat. My birthday was yesterday and guess what I’m getting (and I’m not even flinching because I work my fuckinbg ass off)? A new flash for my totally awesome Nikon D-50. Get the D-50 or the Rebel. They’re both great. Do it!

  45. culotte

    Dude, Holly from Nothing But Bonfires just posted from Vietnam to tell you to buy the camera.
    The signs! Look at all of the signs telling you to buy this camera!

  46. Lucy

    I have a Canon Digital Rebel XT and I love it!! Since they are coming out (or came out recently) with a new model, the older model is bound to be dropping in price.

  47. Belinda

    OK, coming from another “perpetually broke” household? I have to say, I vote firmly “SHOULD.” My logic? Well, you’re being responsible about it. You’re not entering into a high-interest, revolving credit-card debt in order to achieve the immediate gratification of having something you can’t afford. NO; you are wisely *putting away* money TOWARD a goal of something that will last for years and bring you a great deal of pleasure plus memories that will last FOREVER.
    AND there’s this. You’re talking about putting that money in a savings account and adding to it, gradually, until you have enough for your camera. Which means, the money is not getting SPENT yet. It will BE there, in your bank, should some totally unexpected thing come up for which it is desperately needed. So it’s not like you’re taking anything AWAY from your kids or anyone else. Until the moment you make that camera purchase, that money will be there in case of emergency. And if it makes you feel better, don’t buy the camera until you have saved $500 MORE than the cost of the camera! And then it will be like you did BOTH things! ha-HA! 😉 Everybody wins!

  48. Robbin

    The Nikon D50. I absolutely LOVE this camera. LOVE. And I don’t toss around that word lightly. I justify it by the fact that every single day of my child’s life has been chronicled.
    But maybe I should have saved that money for his therapy…

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