How do people afford concerts?

by Erika Torres

how do people afford concert

As part of my goal to increase our lifestyle inflation, I really want to go to a concert this year. In the past, there would be concerts I would like to go to, but I found the cost to be prohibitive.

We did manage to go to a Prince concert because I was able to score seats for $25.

But I really wanted to go to the Michael Buble concert (don’t judge me!) last year and wasn’t able to because of the cost.

SO this year, I’ve been on the lookout for a concert that I would like to attend.

I considered Justin Timberlake—but don’t think any of my friends would want to go with me. Plus, I’ve already seen him in concert (it was really good, and Kanye West made a surprise performance!)

Then I considered Lady Gaga, but the tickets were so expensive.

Then I figured I would try and get tickets to the Jay-Z and Beyonce “On the Run” tour, but at an average of $300 a pop, I couldn’t justify the $600 expense for something that is not on my bucket list.

Plus, I already went to a Beyonce concert several years ago too, when she toured with Robin Thicke—that was also a really great concert.

I think at most, I’d be willing to spend $150…maybe $200 for a concert ticket. And I would have to really want to see the performer.

Like, I really want to see Elton John live (again, don’t judge me!) and have thought about doing a Vegas trip for the specific purpose of seeing him in concert.

I even strongly considered going to Vegas to see Britney in concert (I said stop judging me!) until I realized pretty much all her shows are sold out.

Some of the concerts I’ve been able to go to in the past, that weren’t even that expensive, include Coldplay, Maroon 5, Justin Timberlake, Adele (twice), Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, Beyonce + Robin Thicke, Blues Traveler, Hanson (okay, I give up, you can judge me…).

The exorbitant prices for concerts these days has me wondering:

Who is buying these expensive concert tickets???

I see people younger than me posting on twitter and social media about the Beyonce, Jay-Z concert tickets and I have to wonder…there’s no way that all these people just have $300 laying around for one ticket.

What am I doing wrong?

Maybe one day when Eric and I are old and rich, we can buy decent enough tickets for all the musicians we want to see (or that I’ll drag Eric to), but until that day comes, I don’t see very many concerts in our future.


stacey allam March 19, 2018 - 12:18 pm

I remember when I saw led zeppelin in 1977 two tickets and a money order for a total cost of 18 bucks

On the Run Tour - What Not to do With Concert Tickets August 5, 2014 - 10:19 am

[…] while ago, I asked how everyday working people can afford to pay for concert tickets. I had really wanted to go to the sold-out Jay-Z-Beyonce On The Run Tour at the Rose Bowl, but […]

Jeff Johnson July 29, 2014 - 2:36 am

Funny you should mention the cost of tickets. Im a fan of Katy Perry and it boggles my mind that these teens and young adults have the money to buy tickets to 10 of her shows. Ive seen on twitter how some have already gone to 10 shows. One person traveled with airfare to the UK and USA from Australia and isnt done yet. I think she said she has tickets for 18 concerts. At nearly 200 or more a pop for GA thats insane. If my daughter charged thousands to my credit card for concerts she wouldnt be able to sit for weeks.

How We're Saving Half Our Income June 10, 2014 - 5:17 pm

[…] Or splurging for floor seats for Jay-Z and Beyonce’s On the Run tour. […]

Tori May 29, 2014 - 12:07 pm

I used to go to a LOT of concerts when I was in my more mid-twenties (completely broke and single). It was my ONLY splurge in life. But now, most of my friends can’t afford to go (because of their kids of course) and I don’t feel like buying 2 tickets at those prices (either for the romantic attachment or for the friend who feels too old and broke to join me).

I think that’s what really makes the difference – shelling out 100 bucks to see T-Pain in my midtwenties was doable but buying two seems over the top excessive. I’m actually really glad you brought this up – I am sooooo upset that I just missed Outkast. The cheapest ticket they recently had was $250 and again, I would personally pay that to see them – but I couldn’t find anyone else who was willing to pay that and I wasn’t willing to buy two tickets.

Catherine May 10, 2014 - 10:18 am

Damn you and your concert opportunities! I can tell you how I afford it. People just don’t come here haha. Even Mr, Buble who is from here and I would see in a heartbeat!

Kellie May 9, 2014 - 10:58 am

must be the area you live in because me & my husband went to Michael Buble in September in New York & It was about $55 per ticket. Mind you, we were far away but I don’t care. That’s why they have big tvs.

Andrea May 7, 2014 - 6:57 pm

I’m all about spending money on experiences, but concerts are getting way too expensive. I found a great way around this by volunteering as an usher at a nearby venue. I’ve seen a ton of shows for free as a volunteer.

CeCe @Pink Sunshine May 7, 2014 - 3:38 pm

I think it’s just about priorities. I wouldn’t even see Celine Dion when she was still in Vegas because I felt like it was too expensive. Sometimes I regret that but oh well; at the time it just never felt worth it to me. I too marvel at how expensive those concert tickets are. Lucky for me I’m not interested in going so that works out!! I don’t understand how people afford that but some people don’t understand how I can afford to travel (and I’m not rich).

NZ Muse May 7, 2014 - 2:32 pm

I remember moving to NZ and starting school. One maths class we were asked to make up a situation (involving concert tickets and setting a price). I had never been to one and didn’t know anything about what they cost. I think I put $25 per ticket for my situation. Got called out for not being ‘realistic’. I was totally baffled to learn that people paid over $100 for a concert ticket…

Anyway, I’ve probably been to about 5-7 in my whole life. Now I’ve seen all the bands I love most I’m swearing off concerts, it’s just too expensive and I’m getting too old and grumpy to deal with the crowds. Tickets are real expensive for international acts down under, usually about $200.

Marie May 7, 2014 - 1:48 pm

Honestly, I’m not a fan of concerts aside that it’s very expensive, I also don’t like too much crowd. Maybe I’m an old type of person, but I really can’t stand in the middle of lots of people with a very loud music. During my younger years, I just want to watch a live band having some glass of beer.

Anna May 7, 2014 - 1:14 pm

Tickets are really expensive. My boyfriend and I really have to REALLY want to see that band playing if we are going to be paying good money for it. The average price we pay for a concert ticket is 100 (if that)
I remember my first concert was Michael Jackson’s history tour (so this is going back about 15-20 years). Those tickets were about $50.00 each for floor. And that was manageable for a teenager. Not sure how people do it these days. I just can’t afford it. I did hear a friend of mine once complain that he had to get a pay day loan just to buy tickets for a concert. I couldn’t believe it. If we can’t afford it we don’t go.. simple.. yes of course it sucks that everyone is going but you but I wont go into debt just to see a band play. Besides my boyfriend and I like to see a lot of local bands. We are both metal heads and he plays in a band himself so it’s a good way to support the local scene.. its good for our social life as well

Tonya@Budget and the Beach May 7, 2014 - 11:54 am

Oh man I hear ya. When I was in my 20’s I saw so many live shows. But luckily I liked up and comers so tickets were dirt cheap. I MAY-be go to one concert a year, but mostly I just don’t anymore. But I have friends who go all the time. Did they win the lotto? At most I spring to go see The Sound of Music sing-a-long at the Hollywood Bowl each year. Awesome event and it’s affordable.

Bobby May 7, 2014 - 11:07 am

That is very expensive. I would like to know of you have music festivals in the USA? I had a quick look and here by us (Scotland). For a whole weekend camping ticket to the most popular music festival a “Thursday to Sunday” ticket will cost you US$340 equivalent.

That will be for about 24 bands in total including Red hot chilli pipers(Piping band lol) and Pharrel Williams. It might be better to go to a festival if you have that in your area, who knows you might discover some new bands you would really enjoy.

NZ Muse May 7, 2014 - 2:34 pm

That seems typical price wise. I’ve been to a couple of festivals (one day and two day ones). It only gets frustrating if there are multiple stages and clashes between two acts you want to see.

Leonard @ The Wallet Doctor May 7, 2014 - 9:53 am

I’m always so surprised at home much concert tickets costs. I do my best to hunt for deals, but I guess people are just willing to pay crazy amounts of money to see their favorite artists perform. I share your sense of puzzlement over where they are getting these sorts of recreational funds!

ND Chic May 7, 2014 - 9:51 am

I think concerts are overpriced. The casinos around here have concerts with smaller names and are usually in the $25-30 range. The best concert I ever went to was Garth Brooks in 1999 for $22. Awesome concert!

DCSquared May 7, 2014 - 9:11 am

Man the Bey/Jay tickets here in Atlanta were $141!!!

Mrs. H May 7, 2014 - 8:56 am

I completely agree with you and wonder what me and my husband are doing wrong!!!

I see so many younger people buying Coachella tickets for $1500, super expensive Beyonce tickets, and even crazy priced Justin Timerlake tickets.

I have to admit John Legend was worth EVERY penny! But we maybe paid $100 a ticket.

Shannon May 7, 2014 - 8:27 am

I just saw the Backstreet Boys, in my hometown and DAMN, they put on a good show. Brought me back to my teenage years. LOVED it. Bonus? Tickets were only $50 with taxes and fees.

Oh and PS, so I saw Michael Buble 2 years ago? AH-MAZING! He puts on such a great show. You’re right though, tickets are RIDONCULOUS! I don’t know how people afford them.

Kim May 7, 2014 - 7:56 am

We went to see Michale Buble last fall, it was definitely a bucket list concert for me. The show was AMAZING and totally worth the money. I think we paid around $180 for our tickets. So worth it though to see a show I’ve wanted to go to for several years.

SavvyFinancialLatina May 7, 2014 - 7:49 am

I have never been to a concert. Not that type anyways. I have been to orchestra and Riverdance concerts. The one person I am willing to fork hundreds of dollars for good seats and the atmosphere is Shakira. I missed her last tour because I was a broke college student and it was either rent or Shakira. I chose rent, how sensible of me…sigh. Next time she goes on tour, I will be the first one to buy the tickets. Seriously, not kidding.

Lindsay @ The Newlywed Notebook May 7, 2014 - 7:47 am

haha! Yea really!! I’d love to go to a concert but there’s just no swinging that right now. My husband’s youngest brother just bought crazy expensive concert tickets for him and his girlfriend and I was so confused! Aren’t you in college? Where the heck did that money come from?!

Jen May 7, 2014 - 7:20 am

Michael Buble is worth every penny! My husband and I have seen him 3 times and he’s seriously the best performer we’ve ever seen live. His voice is flawless! We are not even super fans, but after seeing him once, we keep going back 🙂

Kristin May 7, 2014 - 6:23 am

It amazes me how much it costs to go to a concert. Usually, we go to smaller shows or special events. We saw They Might Be Giants about a year ago for $25/ticket. we recently saved up our entertainment money to see Alton Brown (there was actually a band and songs so kind of a concert) but those tickets were $75 each with fees. There aren’t many groups that I like enough to spend $300 to see. Our last 7 day cruise was about $1,500. I would rather do that than go to a few concerts with my husband.

Tanner May 7, 2014 - 6:06 am

I love Michael Buble and Elton John! I saw some of MB’s tickets in Ticketmaster, they were about $150 for pretty good seats on floor level, front sections. And I don’t think you are doing anything wrong. I too see that happening, but I look at it this way… maybe they are cutting elsewhere to afford the tickets. Maybe it comes from extra money from selling things. Or maybe it just goes straight to their credit card to become debt. When I went to watch DBM, I waited to very late, and got some pretty sweet seats for cheap. Presales (through credit cards like Citi and Amex) also may offer good seats for cheaper than regular sales.

Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies May 7, 2014 - 3:48 am

Haha, maybe it is a bunch of old rich folks! Last weekend our retired neighbors went out of town to see Santana. “We missed him at woodstock, so had to see him!” Elton John was one they went to not that long ago, too!


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