How do you guys afford buying guitars???

I was 19 in 1976... I had sold my Guild electric, My Yamaha 12 String and my Ovation Balladeer and bought my Martin D-35...

That's all I had until the mid 90's when I had finished school, residency and was established in my career...

Then I bought a Fender Mexican Strat (still have it) and in '99 I bought my first PRS...

Then the flood gates opened...

Just relax. Your time will come...
It’s a poorly keep secret around these parts that the PRS SE lineup is more than sufficient for any personal or professional musical endeavor.

But to throw one more anecdote on the, “work hard and save” pile: at 19 I played budget Schecters while dreaming of PRS. Didn’t get my first core until late 20’s after landing my first real job in my degree field (engineering). Even then it was a decently used P22 that I still have.
Well…… at 19 I was giving my wife lunch money, as she was a 16 year old junior in high school. I did start putting away as much money as I could & continued that trend for more than 40 years. I still have never touched that money. Find something you can be good at, work your ass off, & you will be fine. You want cool toys….. find a way to make enough to pay for them. For the record: I do not have a college degree
I bought almost all of my PRS guitars used, and I know none of that money goes to PRS.

PRS relies on new guitar sales to stay in business.
True, but: if no-one sells any of their gear used, then fewer people buy new to replace it.

So if you buy used gear, chances are good that it was or is going to be replaced by new gear by someone in the "gear swap chain".

So I'm all for buying someone else's stuff if they have their eye on a shinier newer bauble.

And you ain't gonna buy a West St Ltd or SC-J new any time soon.

I did procure some of my PRSi as new - not most, maybe not even half, but a good large minority, including two WLs.
I know I probably shouldn't tell him this, and get his hopes up... but there is also Option #4 as well.

Option #4 - Set up a "GoFundMe" page, and use the hashtag #richguysatthePRSforum

Now, I will tell you that for this one to work, you have to get all the guys here to REALLY like you. I tried and tried. Even posted a picture of me in a Speedo. I got some money, mainly from a guy named Reuben who just couldn't stop looking at the picture, but it was barely enough for an SE. I should have waited though because now I understand how "royalties" work as I keep getting checks for $11.52 every week. Guess he's still looking at it every couple days...

Anyway, I just couldn't get the support I needed. So if you're going to make this one work, you'll need to contact Sergio and get some tips.

I’ve reserved BudgieSmugglerRules for you;)

I have often said that if 19 year old me had my SE 245 and my pops in laws 5 watt Blackstar I would be one happy camper.

Budget guitar(s) / gear of today is a lot more user friendly.
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Lots of great advice and good stories here! I grew up with my grandparents who lived off a fixed income and had a single mom for a parent. At 19 (2008) I owned a $200 Ibanez and a $250 Marshall solid state amp even after playing guitar for about 3 1/2 years. Similar to yourself, I was enamored with everything music. Core PRS guitars were a distant eventual dream and private stocks seemed like an impossibility.

I worked hard and bought a Schecter c1 classic with some scholarship and side job money. It was a fantastic guitar I purchased precisely because I couldn’t afford a PRS. Fast forward 10 years and I ran across a small bonus at work that enabled me to buy a core prs guitar. 5 years later I don’t have children, my car is paid off, I invest in retirement and I live mostly below my means. I don’t wear fancy watches or clothes. I’m not into clubbing or crazy vacations. My main hobby is music with a light splash of gaming and cooking on the side. So most of my disposable income has gone towards building out my “happy place” or a home music studio over the past 4 years.

As you get older if your career is a focus you should make more money over the years. Alongside the cash flow it also opens up credit opportunities. If you’re financially responsible and don’t have any large debts or extravagant lifestyle habits you’ll become eligible for lines of credit. Major retailers will have 2-4 year interest free deals that can make expensive gear more attainable. It all comes down to time and choices but where there’s a will there’s a way. If you make it a priority you will make it happen even if it takes years, which it does for most of us. Best of luck on your journey!
I started my PRS buying spree while working a job where I received quarterly bonuses. The checks were pretty decent, when we received them. I looked at that as found money since there was no guarantee that we would get them. I was able to pay my bills with my steady income so I started taking the bonus checks and buying PRS core guitars with them when I found a model I really wanted. I have never sold any of the guitars I purchased this way. I don't think I purchased any other brands this way either so PRS was my bonus for working hard. I feel very fortunate to have assembled the collection that I have. There is honestly only one PRS guitar that I own that I would consider selling and that is only because after all of these years I finally know that I am really not that fond of 24 fret guitars.

My other guitar purchases came from savings. Some of my PRS came from that as well. I was in my very early 40's before I had enough money to buy my first PRS. I was completely stoked and in love with it from the minute I took it out of the case. Unfortunately, it is a CU22 and after trying over and over to get along with the sound of it I put it in the case and didn't play it much. I then had the PTC swap the pickups to 57/08s in 2009. That totally changed the guitar and made it much more suited for my taste. However, I was really in love with my SAS at that time and that was the guitar getting all of the play time so it still didn't get the play time it deserves. It gets rotated into use at times and I will probably never sell it. I love the look and sound of it. And now that I have typed this out, I may have to pull it out and hang it on the wall to give it some play time.
Having started working for the government and having achieved some occasional success thereafter, I can say to the original poster that being able to distinguish (firmly) a need from a want, having some fundamental knowledge of finance and budgeting, appreciating the power of compound interest and the feel of buying something you waited and saved for are things to consider. I have wanted over needed too many times and would be far better off if I had exercised some self credit card control in younger years.
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I have a monthly 'fun!' budget that allows me to buy whatever I want (within the budget cap) without guilt. oftentimes I'm using it for social events or travel or shows, but I became a happy guitar hermit about a year ago, which means I run a surplus a lot of the time and GAS is very real
Lots of great advise here on this thread :)
life is all about balance…..
We all put on our best straight faces and gave good solid advice. I've bit my tongue for a couple weeks now... just wait til the youngster figures out that the real reason we can afford them is because we saved a lot of money on car insurance by switching to Geico.
Most of my guitars aren't Uber-expensive. Anything up into the low 2000's I can simply afford. I'm not sure I ever would have been able to truly afford my DGT (5000 when I bought mine)... it's just too big a stretch for someone withOUT "disposable income" (and I do not play music for a living). In my case, my mother's passing, leaving me a small inheritance, allowed me to buy a couple of bucket list items, one of which was a DGT.