Whether you’re a little bit country or a little bit rock-n-roll* – you probably enjoy live summer concerts or checking out bands at pubs or music festivals as much as we do! We even get to enjoy some big shows at a performing arts center in our town each summer!
But when my son asked about going to his second concert this summer, I thought about the idea of a summer concert budget and decided that we may all need to think about this! How can we support local bands or see our favorite groups live in concert without busting our budget?
We need to make smarter decisions by finding a balance between living for today and investing in our future!
So why are so many of us waiting by the computer when tickets are released to the best summer concerts each year? (Especially when the only seats that come up are in the sections furthest from the stage – if we even get the option to buy any seats?!) Here are a few reasons why we keep searching for tickets as we try to live for today…
1) Having Fun. Whether you’re with family or friends, you get to spend hours together having a good time. And if you are tailgating, you will probably make many new friends too! And do you ever see sad or angry people in concert pictures on social media? Didn’t think so!
2) Connecting and Respecting. Maybe you’ve been listening to a band for years. You may enjoy simply connecting with the band and their music and respecting what they do. Just being there and experiencing the music makes the night for you.
3) Making Memories. I remember my first concert (Chicago) and I bet you do to. There are so many things in life we struggle to remember, but we remember music and songs like nothing else and we easily connect them to experiences like concerts. (Ever sing karaoke? That will certainly leave you with some lasting memories too!)
4) Escaping. It certainly makes sense why people head to the nearest concert venue whenever they can! With all the negativity on the news and with people under stress from their jobs and busy lives, seeing your favorite group (or any group) can help you get away from it all – even for just a few hours…
5) Enjoying Something Old & New. In the last few years, we have headed out to see a few of our favorite groups who sadly may not be performing much longer. We don’t want to have regrets about bands we never got to see in person. But we also try to make a point to catch some new local groups throughout the year too.
But what can we do to help make sure that our balanced approach to the “rockstar fix” we need each year doesn’t break the bank? Here are a few ideas we have used throughout the years that allow us to keep investing in our future while still enjoying the sounds of summer!
1) Start a concert calendar. Even when the snow’s still flying here in NY, we enjoy thinking about our summer concert plans! We make a list of the artists we’d like to see and pencil in the options we have to catch their shows.
2) Increase your entertainment budget for summer months. If you know that you have overspent in the “summer entertainment” category, be proactive! And if you don’t do a budget – consider creating a concert fund. Put extra money from holidays or birthdays in your fund so that you are all set for summer fun! And if you are really into music, you might even consider an extra side hustle during the year to fund that music habit!
3) Consider waiting to buy tickets. If you know a group will sell out and you just have to go see them, buy your tickets. If not, consider waiting to find tickets closer to the date of the concert. Things can change over a few months and you may end up losing money on your tickets if you have to sell them. We all think about “sell-outs” but you can usually find tickets to meet your needs. Just make sure you know your upper price limit – and stick to it.
4) Check the original ticket vendor or with the concert venue itself. We’ve learned to go back to the original ticket vendor and often there are seats that become available as the concert approaches. We purchased seats to the last two concerts we went to this way and had we bought them on the secondary online market, we would have paid inflated prices.
(Note: We don’t use Craigslist for concert tickets because of safety and scamming concerns. We know people who have done that, but we’ll pay a little extra for peace of mind and some form of credit card protection the online ticket sellers provide.)
5) Head to the venue and look for someone selling tickets. We have never done this, but we know people who do this for almost every concert they attend. If you are OK with any seats (and seats that aren’t together), this may be a great way to save money. But you also have to be prepared that you may not get tickets at all. And it is also illegal in many places.
6) Skip the big name concerts and support local bands and music festivals. If your budget doesn’t support paying for big priced tickets and all the extras, spend some time checking out local musicians. For the cost of a drink or dinner, you are helping people who put in a lot of time pursuing their passion or side gig. And don’t forget to toss them a few bucks too – along with your bartender or server.
7) Choose one special music event. We don’t give each other birthday or anniversary presents but we do pick out one “destination concert” each year. We focus our efforts on a finding a fun location with a concert to attend. This year we spent four days in Gulf Shores, Alabama and caught a Jimmy Buffett concert. A little sun, some beach time, and a bunch of awesome people – we’ll take experiences over “stuff” anytime!
8) Just say no. This is certainly easier said than done – but if you are carrying a lot of debt or if you have financial goals that you are determined to meet, it might be best to just say no. Try going to free music events and search out friends who’ll join you. Just remember that a $50 concert seat can easily turn into a $100 night of partying. And if you do that a few times, you’ll have another headache when you look at your bank statement or credit card bill…
So did you catch the song lyric* in the first sentence? I thought some of you did! If not, your probably too young!(And we’ll see if someone shares the artists’ names in the comments!) That lyric really dates some of us – and reminds us of Friday nights…
Just remember that summer concerts and all the extra costs, or even hanging around a local pub to hear music can become an expensive line item in your monthly budget. We have decided that 1-2 major concerts and around 10 local pub visits to hear music each year is enough to keep us balanced and content so that we are living for today, but not losing our focus on future investments!
What was your first concert? And have you had a concert calendar so full that it busted your budget? Why do you go to see live music when you can stream it, download it, or listen to the radio? And if you don’t go out and listen to music or go to concerts, why not? Is your smart decision taking the money the rest of us spend on summer concert experiences and investing it?
Photo Credit: JuanSole@freeimages.com