"I want to collect art, but I can never afford it!"
I hear this from frustrated folks all the time. Tight budgets can get in the way of art purchases, but there are other ways!
Have you ever considered the trade? While most artists dislike setting up payment plans for those other than close friends, few balk at the chance for a good trade.
Over the years I have traded my work for 2 new bikes, patio furniture, a tattoo, a couch, framing needs, book keeping, and other services--and have been happy to do so. I know artists who have traded their work for dental and medical needs. The ideas are endless, and most people have something of value that they are willing to part with in order to pick up a fantastic piece of original art.
I have talked to potential buyers about trades at my openings, and have been happy to do so. A better idea is to see if you can wrangle in pre-opening, peruse the work, and offer the trade at that time. This ensures that those with cash at the opening do not run off with your treasure.
Study before hand and know the artist's usual prices so you don't waste your time with an offer that won't match up. After all, a slightly worn Timex and a scuffed pair of two-tone brogues probably won't get you that Patrick Duegaw you've been dreaming of.