By Haley Roberson

As venues begin opening back up for tours, music festivals, and performances by your favorite artists, it is hard to manage the monetary balance between necessities and long-awaited, in-person entertainment following so many pandemic closures.

Approximately 32 million people attend at least one music festival every year in the United States with 46% of them being aged 18-34, according to Nielsen’s 2015 Audience Insights Report on Music Festivals.

Many people, including myself, invested in virtual concerts and streaming channels. As this method of entertainment was cheaper than typical tickets to past live events, I, personally, did not budget as much for entertainment last year.

However, as many concerts, tours and music festivals have now been rescheduled, like Harry Styles’ Love on Tour and Music Midtown, I decided to begin saving for tickets. Knowing that I typically only budgeted 5% to 10% of my monthly paycheck to entertainment purposes during the pandemic, which was mainly for streaming services, I had to reassess my budgeting as dates were announced.

I re-evaluated all the expenses I had from rent and utilities to gas and food. During the pandemic, I split my paychecks evenly with wants and needs. Now, having to create more of an allowance for entertainment costs, I have had to cut back on the amount I allow myself to spend on clothes, groceries and outside expenses. However, I must reserve 60% of each paycheck for rent and utilities.

During the pandemic, I developed a passion for online shopping, so I allotted myself at least 10% of my monthly paycheck for clothing purchases. However, as my closet has gotten full and my bank account has gotten low, I now budget at most 5% of my paycheck for clothes.

As I was at home for most of the pandemic, I mainly bought groceries and made meals at home, so I usually budgeted 20% of my paycheck for food. I did occasionally eat out during the pandemic, but since being back at college with my hectic schedule, I have found myself using more of my groceries budget for eating out. As I began budgeting for concert and music festival tickets, I had to cut down on my groceries expenses all around, which included eating out. Having a commuter meal plan on campus, however, has helped me to survive on my new budget of 10% for all food expenses.

The last category for expenses I had to cut down on to allow for concert tickets was outside expenses, which includes gas, music and academic subscriptions and any non-essential costs. While at home during the pandemic, I budgeted almost 20% of my paycheck for these expenses. This category has been the one I have had to cut down on the most to save. I now budget 5% to 10% of my paycheck for outside expenses depending on if I will have to travel during the next month.

With these reassessed budgets, I have been able to use 10% to 15% each paycheck to save for events that we have all missed like concert tickets, musical festivals or nights out.

Haley Roberson is a journalism student at the University of Georgia.