Should I Get a Tattoo?

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Get a Tattoo

Happy Friday friends! Most of the usual readers of Frugal Rules know that I’m going to Vegas next month (in 30 days to be exact…but who’s counting?!) with my wife for my 40th birthday.

I’m wanting to present you with a question I’ve been pondering the past few months. You see, Mrs. Frugal Rules has been on my case to get a tattoo. To be fair, my lovely wife doesn’t pester me much, but when she wants something then we ALL know about it. Since we’re going to Vegas, she sees it as a perfect opportunity for us to go out and get matching tattoos….cue cheesy music!

Why I Have Never Gotten A Tattoo


I’ve had plenty of friends who have tattoos and have family members who have tattoos, so I’m definitely well aware of the cost, risk, pain level, etc. None of that really has held me back or is holding me back now. In regards to cost, we can afford it so that’s no issue.

I’m not really concerned about any kind of risk as we’d do our research to find a good tattoo artist. In terms of pain, I’d like to think I could endure a few hours of pain while getting inked.

Since those aren’t really issues, then what is holding me back from getting a tattoo? Honestly, getting a tattoo is something that has never crossed my mind as something I was wanting to do or even sounded appealing to me. I mean, come on, I’m turning 40 and we all know what happens when you get a tattoo and become older.

I don’t want to be that guy who has something that once looked like a tattoo, but now looks like some sort of Rorschach test gone awry. When asked about getting a tattoo in the past, I’d always say something along the lines of “If God wanted it there, then he would’ve put it there” and went on my merry way.

All that said, there’s something different about this latest request from Mrs. Frugal Rules for me to get a tattoo with her. I don’t know if because turning 40 is supposed to be some sort of milestone or something, or if it’s the simple fact that I’m seeing exponentially more so each day that we only have one life and we should live it to the fullest.

Anyway, those are some of the thoughts going through my mind in regards to if I should get a tattoo or not. As an aside, Mrs. Frugal Rules got a tattoo before we met, so she’s not the most objective person to ask.

What Kind of Tattoo Would I Get?


People get different kinds of tattoos for different reasons. People get ones that are spiritual in nature; they get names tattooed on them; some even get their wedding rings as a tattoo. I’d like to say that I’d consider something important or spiritual to have inked in to me for the rest of my life, but I’d be lying.

You see, this is where my wife knowing me has turned against me…She brought up a month or so ago that we could get matching tattoos of the symbol for my Alma Mater – Kansas State University. That was the moment where it went from “No way on earth will I get a tattoo” to “Wait a minute, that could work.”

Powercat Tattoo

While this one is temporary, I’d be looking to make something like it a permanent addition to my body.

I know what you’re thinking…why would you want to get some stupid symbol or mascot in ink on your body for all time? Well, I love K-State football. It is one of the few things I’ll actually spend my own money on and I really do enjoy it. We all need things to enjoy in life, and this is one of them for me, thus the reasoning.

Do You Think I Should Get a Tattoo?


Now that you’ve heard some of my thoughts on getting a tattoo, I thought I’d ask you, my readers, to weigh in on the topic. If you take a look below there’s a nice little poll to fill out with a simple Yay or Nay on whether or not I should get a tattoo when we go to Vegas next month.

You can also let me know in the comments section what your vote would be. Not that the vote will determine my decision, just looking for a little objective thoughts on the issue.

Those of you who have a tattoo, what is the favorite one you have and what tips do you have for finding a good tattoo artist? Those who don’t, why don’t you have a tattoo? What do you have planned for this weekend?


Photo courtesy of: Jhong Dizon

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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.


  • Brian @ Luke1428 says:

    I have no interest in ever getting a tattoo. If I did, I would consider my favorite college school or sports team. Please post pictures when the deed is done. πŸ™‚

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says:

    LOL, tattoos always remind me of a friend who worked as a nursing home attendant while she got her RN degree. She said that for entertainment, they’d try and stretch the old folks’ tattoos out and figure out what they were before they turned into a pile of unrecognizable, wrinkly mush. πŸ™‚ Case closed, at least for me. I’m having enough work trying to figure out how to handle cellulite and crows feet. πŸ™‚

    • Kathy says:

      Oh Laurie, your imagery is such a hoot! Too funny. I always think about women who get a tattoo on their breast and wonder what it will look like when they are 80.

    • John says:

      Lol, that’s awesome Laurie! Good thing I wasn’t drinking my coffee while reading your comment. πŸ˜‰

  • Mrs. 1500 says:

    I have 7. Many were acquired with little to no thought beforehand, and I regret most of them. I have both girls’ footprints from the hospital when they were born, and I love it. I think all the others could go and I wouldn’t miss them.

    Moral? Only get something that means the world to you. Also, many people say tattoos are addictive, once you get one, you get more than one…

    • John says:

      I can imagine that would be really neat to have Mrs. 1500, the footprints that is. πŸ™‚ I’ve definitely heard the same thing about tattoos and my brother has fallen into that trap – he has three of them and wants more. I don’t really see myself doing that IF I do get one as I think I’d be satisfied with one.

  • Grayson @ Debt Roundup says:

    While I have no interest in getting a tattoo, I don’t think there is anything wrong with them. Now, if you plan on getting the K-State mascot to fill up your entire back, then I think it might be too much. My wife is planning on getting one to remember her father. I think that symbol is important to her and I think it will be good.

    • John says:

      Lol, yea, it wouldn’t be on my whole back. It likely would be on my arm or my calf. That’s cool your wife is doing that. My younger brother did something very similar to remember our son that we lost and it’s really cool.

  • JC @ Passive-Income-Pursuit says:

    Make sure it’s something you want as it’s pretty expensive to get removed. I’ve wanted to get a tattoo before but I’ve never really found anything that I wanted to get. Seeing as how it’s permanent and all.

    • John says:

      Yea, I’ve given that a lot of thought as well. This is something I’d want, though the whole permanent thing is what is holding me back right now.

  • Mark Ross says:

    If I were you, which clearly I’m not, I would NOT get a tattoo. It will cost you money and it would stay on you for the rest of your life. Although, I really like yor idea of putting your Alma Mater’s symbol all over your body.

  • Kathy says:

    I’m so sorry if I offend someone but you asked and here’s my answer. I think tattoos make a person look dirty. Especially when someone’s entire arm is tattooed. And don’t even get me started about those who get their necks tattooed. If I owned a business I’d insist all tattoos be covered up.

    • John says:

      I’m not offended Kathy and you’re certainly entitled to your opinion…I did ask you for it after all. πŸ™‚ IF I do get one it would be high up on my arm or on my calf. I guess i have the benefit of working from home so don’t deal with clients face to face much and if I do, it would be covered up.

  • Alexa says:

    Personally, I don’t have any tattoos and would never get one. I just can’t think of a single thing that I want on my body permanently. However, I don’t mind them on other people. I just think if I got one I would totally regret it. I know many, many people who do.

    • John says:

      That is honestly what I’m thinking over right now – will I regret it. It can be fairly simple to solve something you regret, but this is permanent and want to make sure I truly want it because there really is no going back afterwards.

      • femmefrugality says:

        I wouldn’t either. I love the Steelers (yes, even this season,) but I would never get their logo tattooed on my body. To me, the best tattoos hold some type of emotional or spiritual meaning to the person getting them. Those are the ones that I’ve liked on my friends the best. That being said, I’m a tattoo virgin and I probably always will be for the reasons Alexis talks about.

  • Andrew@LivingRichCheaply says:

    I have no interest in getting a tattoo though I did think about it back when I was in college. I would have the same concerns about the tattoo not aging well! Tell us what you decide and hope you have a great birthday! Would never have thought you were turning 40!

    • John says:

      Yea, it’s a bit crazy knowing I’ll be turning 40 in a few short weeks. That said, age is just a number in my opinion and if I listen to my wife, I’m going on 4 instead of 40…at least where having fun with our kids is concerned. πŸ˜‰

  • Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies says:

    If forced at gunpoint to get a tattoo (which for me is the only way I can see it actually happening), I’d get a tattoo of a potato. (You know, like in Sideways Stories from Wayside School?). A small one, hopefully that can be mistaken for a mole or freckle.

    • John says:

      Lol, I like your thought Mrs. Pop. I always told my wife there wasn’t enough booze out their to get me inked, but then I read that many places require you to be sober. So, I’d have to be thinking clearly, on some level at least. πŸ˜‰

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach says:

    Here’s my two cents. If you really wanted one you’d know. There would be nothing stopping you. If you are on the fence, it’s best not to. You might possibly regret it. I think it’s probably a tough situation to be in because you’re wife is pretty cool and since she never bothers you for anything else…but at the end of the day ultimately it should be your decision.

    • John says:

      Thanks for your wisdom Tonya, that’s basically where I’m at right now. Which do I do, and the whole permanent thing is what’s playing on me right now.

  • anna says:

    Tonya took the words out of my mouth. πŸ™‚ I have a couple of them, and while one of them I should have thought about a little more, another one I absolutely love because it was a tribute to a friend who took his life away (a few of us got the same symbol on different body parts). It’s a personal decision, so just do what feels right! πŸ™‚ P.S. For what it’s worth, I think that’s pretty cute that you and your wife would get matching ones on a trip.:)

    • John says:

      That’s awesome you and your friends did that Anna! My brother did the same thing for our little one we lost and have thought about doing that at some point myself. I know, leave it to my wife to come up with something like this because I’m not that thoughtful. πŸ˜‰

  • Michelle says:

    I have several (4 to be exact). They are all medium sized and placed strategically in places people would not see unless I was in a bathing suit. I love them all! They are a part of my history and all represent major happenings in my life (like graduating from college, running a half marathon, etc.)

    • John says:

      That’s awesome Michelle! I think it’s really cool you’ve been able to do that, though my concern is it becoming addicting. But I guess you never know until it happens, right? πŸ™‚

  • Broke Millennial says:

    I’ve wanted a tattoo for many years (even have what I want all planned out) but the permanence of it kind of freaks me out. It’s a symbol I know I’d never regret and it would be small, but the aging process, the fact that it discolors and you have to get it touched up and making sure it can easily be hidden all concerns me. I’d probably go rib cage if I got one just so it’s easy to hid.

    As far as college tattoos — SO MANY people I went to school with got our mascot etched on their skin. In HS I remember one of my teachers/basketball coach had the Duke logo on his bicep.

    If it’s something you want go for it, but remember it’s addictive. All my relatives and friends with tattoos either already got second ones or have started plotting them.

    • John says:

      That permanence issue is really what is holding me back too. I know my Dad would hate it as well, but I’m turning 40 so I think I’ll be fine on that aspect. πŸ˜‰

      I know many have said they’re addictive. I believe I’d be fine with that, but I guess you never know until it happens.

  • Micro says:

    I never really saw the point behind a tattoo. Hearing the comments about what they look like when you’re older reminded me of a joke by Daniel Tosh though. “Why would you ever get a tattoo, what do you think it’ll look like when your 90. Nobody who ever gets a tattoo is going to live to see 90. You’ve never been searching for life’s answers and thought, you know who I should consult, that wise old man with the snake coiled around his neck. If ever there was a guy batting 1000, it’s the one with the spider permamently etched on his face”. Hopefully I didn’t offend those with tattoos, but I thought it was worth the share.

    • John says:

      Lol, thanks for sharing that Micro, it was good for a laugh. There is definitely that concern about what it’s going to look like when I’m old and wrinkly. That said, i don’t ever seeing myself getting one on my face or around my neck. πŸ˜‰

  • retirebyforty says:

    I wanted to get some kind of Hawaiian tat when I was in college, but it was so expensive. After I got married, the Mrs. doesn’t want me to get tattoo so I gave it up. Now that I’m older, it’s not important at all.
    Happy 40th! You’re just a bit younger than me. πŸ™‚

    • John says:

      Yea, I’ve always known they can be expensive and wouldn’t want to get a tiny one just because I was being cheap – which I have been known to do with other things. πŸ˜‰

  • Kim@Eyesonthedollar says:

    I got a small tattoo on my 22nd birthday, and I’ve never minded it, although it’s hard to explain to a six year old why someone would want to take a needle full of ink and mark on themselves. I don’t have a KY wildcat, but that would have been a great idea. Maybe I should get one for my 40th as well?

    • John says:

      Lol, Nicole has gotten the same questions from our daughter. Her tattoo is on the small of her back so it’s pretty easily covered. Sure, it could be a blogger rite of passage. πŸ™‚

  • Rebecca @ Stapler Confessions says:

    I don’t have a tattoo, because there’s nothing I want to permanently etch on my body.

    That said, I *do* have a nosering, which some people would say “no way!” to. It’s really tiny and it’s not permanent, so if I ever had the desire to remove it, I could. Although, I haven’t had the desire to remove it in 14 years.

    • John says:

      That’s a great correlation Rebecca. I’d never get a piercing myself, but at least you can remove it relatively painlessly if you wish. πŸ™‚

  • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse says:

    Tough one, John. I have nothing personally against tattoos but don’t have any. Partly because of the permanence factor but also because of the aging factor. LOL!! If you’re going to do it – then Vegas and your 40th birthday are good reasons to do so. I mean if goes awry, you have an excuse – right? I was in Vegas and I thought the tattoo was going to stay there! πŸ™‚

  • Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial says:

    I think Tonya put it best – if you wanted one, you wouldn’t be on the fence about it. I have one on the inside of my wrist and the meaning behind it is why I like it. Read one way, it says “to love” and read the other way, it says “thyself.” I got it when I finally accepted myself and felt like I knew who I was. And you’d think the placement would be hard to hide, but no one ever notices it. I’ve had several people who I knew for a very long time miss it for years – it’s always so funny when someone I’ve been around for months or years finally notices it and goes “oh my god, when did you get a tattoo?!” and I say “uh.. five years ago?” I haven’t gotten another one yet, but I’ve always been tempted to – I’d love another one on the back of my neck (where it would be easy to hide thanks to my long hair).

  • E.M. says:

    I also agree with Tonya. I don’t personally have any tattoos, mostly because I have no clue what I would ever get, but my boyfriend has three. None of them have any special meaning really, though he did draw one of them up. He is an artist and enjoys the look of them more than the meaning. He wants to get more, but seeing as they aren’t exactly cheap, he’s been holding off on them. He doesn’t regret them and he’s hoping very much that he ages well! I would say if you’re hesitant right now, to wait it out and give it some more thought.

    • John says:

      That is always how I’ve been, until my wife started working me against myself. πŸ˜‰ That’s cool he was able to design one of them himself.

  • Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life says:

    I just can’t imagine being so committed to something that I’d want it on my body FOREVER. The boyfriend has a massive tattoo along the entire side of his torso, I think he’s gonna regret that someday, of course he got that when he was 19.

  • Peter says:

    To me tattoos have always seemed like a fashion accessory that you could never get rid of – like a pair of shoes that you’re forced to wear forever more. For that reason, and the fact that I can’t think of anything that I’d ever want to have on my body permanently, I just can’t see myself ever getting one. For others, if they want to, I have no problem with it, just make sure you know what you want and what you’re getting into. I have friends who have gotten them and then regretted it later, and it’s not cheap to have one removed.

    • John says:

      That’s a great comparison Peter! That’s my fear right now, that I’d regret it though I believe if I got it that I wouldn’t try to remove it as I wouldn’t want to spend more money to get rid of it. πŸ˜‰

  • DC @ Young Adult Money says:

    My wife has two tattoos and is planning on getting at least one more. Actually my cousins (5 and 7) who said “what’s that behind your ear?” and they are now introduced to the world of tattoos : ) I don’t have one and don’t plan on getting one, but I will say this: you only live once! If you feel like it’s a good idea, go for it!

  • The First Million is the Hardest says:

    I don’t have one mainly because I can’t think of anything I’d want on my body for the rest of my life. I don’t have any problem with people that get them, although I rarely think they look good.

    • John says:

      I think they can look good, though to be fair, I’ve seen very few people in their 80’s with them so that could impact it some. πŸ˜‰

  • Kurt @ Money Counselor says:

    Whoa–it’s 50-50 after my vote. Your wife better recruit some like-minded friends to vote for her side!

  • Dear Debt says:

    I am terrified of needles and I change my mind often, so I don’t know what I’d put. I do like tattoos that have meaning. In Portland, i am a minority for not having tats. Different culture here, but do whatever works for you!

    • John says:

      I imagine you’d be in the minority there in Portland where I would be in the minority here in Omaha with a tattoo – especially one that is K-State related!

  • Andy@artofbeingcheap says:

    EMAW! I have no opinion on whether our not you should get a tattoo. I briefly thought about getting a powercat tattoo when I was in college, but now I’m glad I didn’t.

  • Pauline says:

    This about the tattoo 18 year old you would have gotten and what you feel about it today. That is how 50 year old you will feel about today’s tattoo… for me that’s a big no.

  • Jacob says:

    DO IT!

    That is all.

  • Chad@thestockmarketandi says:

    Here is the thing with tattoos. I have one. I have had it since I was 18. I put it in a place that I could forget about it if I decided that I never wanted to see it again. With that being said, mine does mean something to me. As a matter of fact, I am thinking about adding to it to reflect some of the feelings that I have around my daughter. Contrast that with the “I have to have a tattoo society” that has emerged over the last five years. People are seemingly just getting them to get them. Really when and where did white people become tribal? I’m not sure but there seems to be a lot of Anglo descended people who seem to believe they are. This is the type of stuff that drives me crazy. If you WANT one and what you want MEANS something, then get one. But don’t get one to join the herd.

    • John says:

      That’s awesome you have one that has meaning to you Chad and are thinking of adding to it. That said, I would never get one just to “get one” or to join the herd. I’m pretty independent thinking, so would never get one just because all the cool kids are doing it. I still haven’t decided on it and still requires some serious thought about it. It would be neat to go through it with my wife, just not certain that I want something that’ll be permanent.

  • C. the Romanian says:

    I too considered getting a tattoo earlier this year. I’m almost 30 now and never gave it too much of a thought. Still unsure if it would be the best thing to do and if I would still like it 20 or 30 years from now. That’s why I personally decided that I will skip the tattooing for now… and since we’re talking about something that’s there to stick with you for the rest of your life (most likely), I think it’s just you who should decide if it’s worth getting one or not.

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