How concert tickets could have easily wrecked my budget (but totally didn’t!)

Here’s the thing, I really want to be one of those people that always values experiences over things. And I really try. For friends’ birthdays I would rather go to a show or try an escape room than get them something they will quickly discard. The same for me personally, I’d rather someone take me to try a new restaurant or just DO SOMETHING instead of getting me something that I will then get rid of immediately. (The one exception may be my mom who has amazing taste and knows exactly which shoes I love, however has no idea what kind of show I might want to attend.)

But here’s the thing, experiences can just as easily ruin your budget as tangible things. For me, this means concerts.

I love live music, always have. I love it all, from an unknown jazz band in a dive bar to top 100 artists selling out stadiums. I love every second of it. And I have a really difficult time saying no to going to said shows. I will justify it like “I can’t buy that $35 sweater because I need to buy such and such tickets next month”. This is not an inexpensive habit people. And I truly struggle to pass on such opportunities. “when will they ever play in Portland again?” “I have loved them since I was a kid!” “Oh it’s my current favorite band!” I can come up with any and all excuses. And let me tell you, that shit adds up!

Let me give an example. The local radio station in Portland does a holiday series of concerts that benefit local charities each December. I usually go to one of them, and they always have an assortment of artists to choose from. They perform at a really cool local venue, and it’s always a good time. This year, I literally like the entire line up. All TEN shows. The ticket prices range from $17 each to over $200 for VIP tickets for one show (The Killers!) So, obviously, I can’t buy all the tickets. But I did have to make a quick decision as to which shows were most important to me so I could get the tickets I really wanted. Can I do this all year long? No. Do I put aside a chunk of change year round in order to buy these tickets teach December? You betcha!

So who DID I get tickets to go see this year? I bought tickets to three shows (hold on before you get up on your high horse and judge me!) I got Killers tickets (a bucket list band of mine that I have never seen before. They rarely tour and who knows when I’ll get this chance again.) Weezer (one of my all time favorite bands. I have seen them twice at HUGE arenas but this is a really small venue so I was happy to shell out for these pricey tickets to see them again.) and Alice Merton with SYML (these were only $17 each, and my roommate and I are currently OBSESSED with SYML so this seemed totally worth it to me. Alice Merton is on the up and up and I suspect she is going to be selling out major venues before too long. It’ll be a fun night and I am not worried that this is going to break the bank.)

So what’s the damage Heather? I don’t have the numbers on me but close to $300 total for 3 sets of tickets. I will likely take my roommate to two of the shows as her holiday gift but hopefully someone will go with me to Weezer and reimburse me for the ticket. If not I’m not fretting as I have budgeted for such expenses. I put a few dollars away here and there all year so that I can attend these shows each winter. Everyone has their priorities and mine happens to be concerts! If you don’t plan accordingly however, it can totally wreck your budget. Did I just have $300 lying around that I didn’t know what to do with? Hell no! I planned for this year round. But it could easily have ruined my budget (or required rent money) if I didn’t think about this in advance.

My point is, experiences can just as easily ruin your budget as things can. You need to decide what is worth it to spend your hard earned money on, and what isn’t. Bands that I don’t really care about just to hang out with a boy? Probably not. It’s just not worth it. But planning ahead to have a memorable experience with those that I love that WILL last a lifetime? That’s totally worth it to me!

What experiences are you willing to spend money on and what do you pass on?

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