There's a lot in the world worth haggling for, but tattoos aren't one of them. We don't bargain for the latest iPhone at the mall, so why negotiate for something that's going to be on you forever? There's no denying that price plays a huge role in decision-making, but don't make it the most important factor.
If you're 'price shopping' you have to ask yourself: What am I willing to sacrifice?
Instead, do your research and look at the artist and shop. If the work is exceptional and consistent, ask yourself if it's worth saving for. Quality is the first thing people will notice. Tattoo enthusiast or not, if your tattoo isn't done well, someone will let you know. Immediately, you'll feel regret for not dishing out a few more dollars for the piece that you really wanted.
Tattoo artists put in years mastering their craft. Along with money, relationships, and anything else most of us find important, they've dedicated their lives to their art. Good work can't be compromised, but instead can only be produced from practice and repetition. Knowing this, you can determine the level of experience based on how an artist conducts themselves along with the work in their portfolio.
One factor that often seems to be overlooked when researching for your next tattoo is cleanliness. If the shop's minimum is higher than you anticipated, there's probably a good reason. When in a shop, look at its surroundings. Is it clean? Well maintained? Any reputable shop will ensure health codes are met daily and make your experience and comfort their priority. Shop minimums allow artists to account for tubes and needles as well as other disposable supplies needed for a safe and sterile tattoo.
At the end of the day, your tattoo is your decision. Don't let the idea of a cheap tattoo encourage you to make the wrong one. Avoid the scratchers who are willing to tattoo you for cheap. If they don't value their work, then why should you?