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.


Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer and passionate debt fighter who writes at DearDebt.comShe recently climbed out of $81,000 in student loan debt and is currently dreaming of her next adventure.

Any third-party resources or websites referenced above are not under Society of Grownups control. Society of Grownups cannot guarantee and are not responsible for the accuracy of the resources, websites, or any products or services available through such resources or websites.

While Society of Grownups hopes the information is useful, it’s only intended to provide general education. It’s not legal, tax, or investment advice, and may not apply or be useful to your specific financial situation. If you need recommendations geared to your personal financial situation, schedule time with a financial planner.

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