A good budget doesn’t mean foregoing the things you love. Blogger Melanie Lockert of Dear Debt shows why budgeting for live music makes sense for her spending plan.
Ever since I was young, I’ve had a strong affinity for music. My parents are to blame—year after year, they took me to great concerts. At age 10 I got to see Mick Jagger sing and swagger on stage with the Rolling Stones. I saw the Beach Boys, who were a huge part of my childhood as I grew up in California. Eventually, I developed my own taste in music—and now—I love everything from Nina Simone to Radiohead and all the rock and soul in between.
But as I entered adulthood, I started to focus my energy, and money, on other things. I stopped seeing live music near me because I thought it was an expense I could live without.
I feel that, as I’ve aged, I’ve become too hung up on what I should do with my money. Concerts seemed like a frivolous expense, especially in the wake of student loan debt, so I nixed them completely. But now I realize I’ve been shortsighted with my budget and that I was leaving out the very thing that makes me feel human—the one thing that gives me pure unadulterated joy.
That is, until recently.
A little while back, I decided to attend a music festival featuring many bands I love. It had been years since my last live concert, but I knew it would be worth it to spend the money—so I decided to do something different.
I made room in my budget and added a line item specifically for live music near me. I spent less on coffee and started putting more money into my new “live music” account. Once I began to realize this was important to me, I found the money in my budget to make it happen. And it was so worth it!
At the festival, I was brought back to that euphoric state I experienced so many years ago. I saw (the now famous) Spoon—a band I’ve loved for years, before anyone really discovered them.
The magical energy that permeated the festival stuck with me for days. I was reminded why I love music so much and what a profound effect it has had—and continues to have—on my life.
Just like I budget for health care, groceries, and rent, I now budget for concerts near me as well. Live music makes me happy, so I plan for it and am happy to pay the expense. It’s like paying for therapy, but instead of talking to someone, I go and listen instead.
Music touches the deepest part of your soul. You know this if you’ve ever cried at the apex of a song. (Landslide, anyone?) Perhaps you’ve gotten chills from hearing a few chords on the piano or have had your workout kicked into high gear by the beat of a favorite tune.
Personally, music has always been my escape—my solace—a good friend that is always there. Naturally, I turned to concerts as my form of worship and a way to find my community. I got to see Ziggy Stardust himself (aka David Bowie). I experienced the magic of Lucille bellowing from the hands of B.B. King. I saw the one and only Ray Charles. All of these concerts were so much more than just music—these experiences were transcendental.
I can’t imagine my world without music, so I’m making room in my life (and my budget) to make it happen. I’m a better and happier person for it.
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