I don't make much money, in fact the part-time job I have pays minimum wage. I don't have much in a savings or checking account, partly because rent and utilities are kinda high... but also because I'm bad at budgeting what I do have (confession: I'm an impulse videogame buyer). There is no shoebox under my bed with emergency funds in it; honestly, the most physical money I have is a bunch of change in a Coca-Cola piggy-bank on my desk (and I use most of it for laundry).
But there is one thing I will always stretch my funds to spend money on, even if it means shorting myself a meal or waiting for a sale to get the game I want: the fruits of your creative labor.
Why? Because, as artists and creators, I truly believe we must to support each other.
Obviously there are too many things and people I follow online to support at every given opportunity, but I have some favorites and friends that I always try to make exceptions for in the old budget. And the main reason I do that is because I have done, and still do, work online. I know that, as wonderful as hits/visits are in your precious stats feed, the best kind of support you can give/get, unfortunately, comes in the form of cold, hard cash. But the wonderful side-effect of getting a physical product is that I have an excuse to share their work with others.
Example: I have an adorable Metal Gear Solid shirt from Ashley Davis, creator of Once Upon A Pixel and the adorable picture-blog No Marios Allowed, and almost every time I wear it, someone asks a question about it. Where did I get it? Who made it? Is that Solid Snake? And every time that happens, I have the chance to tell them about Ashley's work... and hopefully that leads to them checking it out for themselves, telling others, and hopefully buying something from her store, too. It's advertisement for her work and it's a shirt (and brand) I love to sport/support.
Hopefully, the same will hold true to people seeing others work on my walls, books on my coffee table, and DVD's on my bookshelf. And even if it's not as effective as wearing their work to school, movies, restaurants, and work, hopefully my contribution to the artist helps them get by, encourages them to continue doing what they love, and pads their pockets enough to, in turn, support the artists they love and want to see more from.
And, maybe someday, I'll end up being one of them... but, really, that's beside the point. Because even if I don't get there someday, even if I toil in artistic anonymity forever, I will have surrounded myself with awesome, lovingly made things, I will have made a difference to those people who made them, and I will hopefully have proven to them that they made a difference to me, even though most of us have never and will never meet.