Happy, merry christmahannukwanzadan! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! (Or stressful/sobering, and our hearts truly go out to you.) For some of you, it is a time of giving back, adorning loved ones with gifts and building hope for the future. What more could you ask for? A secured savings account and a dollar from each family member for the initial deposit, that’s what. For those things you forget come every year: conventions and concerts. (Europe, I’m sorry in advance, please…)
Look, you know these things come every single year, schedules unannounced or otherwise. The excuse of being caught off guard is old. Let me suggest a way to be prepared.
Before you attempt to call me out about my past experiences or geographic locations, I’ll have you know that being a fan of K-pop is what taught me financial control. I became a Hallyu Wave fan in 2012 and first attended KCON in 2013 on a Forever 21 retail employee’s income. This was a year after I left a salaried corporate job. (Life happens.) I scratched and scraped together all my coins and resolved to be late on a few bills upon return from Los Angeles than to miss my all-consuming obsession’s second convention. It was a “young and dumb” move but I was 29 years old so how “young” is that, really? I mean, how many of you put 30 as a milestone marker in your lives of anticipated maturity and all that other lofty, pressure-inducing crap? Exactly.
I had more fun than I could have ever imagined but I definitely came back to Houston, Texas thereafter wondering what I was doing with my life. I compromised responsibilities for…this? I sure did and was judged a bit by it all. Being judged, however, did not change the fact that I PAID FOR IT ALL ON MY OWN. I DO WHAT I WANT! This is why I want to share these tips with you, so that you too can secure a ticket to something unforgettable.
You cannot attend everything
Get over the mindset that you are supposed to go to every event possible. I’m not referring to the financial aspect either. There is absolutely no way that you can muster up the wherewithal to go to every single concert, showcase, fan meet or convention next year. Some things are out of comfortable traveling range for you. Others are on a work/school night. Even still, others might be scheduled too closely together (do you remember March 2017? Who could keep up?!) and you simply have to sacrifice the experience. If you’ve supported your faves via social media and YouTube all this time, your heart can survive to continue doing so. I know the disappointment deeply, I truly do, but we can’t afford to avoid the truth. Conversely…
You CAN afford at least 1 worthwhile K-pop experience
The path towards this is not by hitting the lottery but by accepting that money only stretches so far because you’re
- a middle school student, hoping that you can convince your parent(s)/guardian(s) of letting you see something in person
- a high school student with a crappy after-school job
- a college or university student who knows that money goes towards tuition, instant noodles and possibly laundry, if there’s no free t-shirt giveaway in the student union that week
- a young adult just trying to keep the rent paid, making life choices between gasoline and groceries, or trying to keep another I.O.U. out of your hair
- a parent with the responsibilities of other’s lives in your walle– I mean, hands, or
- just a normal, everyday human who wishes you simply had more money to enjoy life
I get it, more than you realize. I’ve done some of this on savings squeezed out of unemployment benefits before. I’m telling you that I deeply understand. Your current reality does not have to define you—don’t mistake evolving circumstances as set character traits. If you can will yourself to study, go to a job you might not be enthused about or other things that are tied into being “responsible,” you surely can will yourself to achieve this 1 entertainment goal. The struggle is real, but at some point, you have to believe it’s temporary. Approximately 3- to 12-hours worth of temporary, to be exact. (Waiting in line for a concert + concert time or an all-day convention + commute.)
Don’t talk about it, be about it
So, you’re fired up now? You feel like you can speak it into existence? Cool!
You’re still “broke.”
Money doesn’t grow on trees (despite dollars being made from paper but whatever) so here’s the game plan several months in advance. I follow this and modify as needed; and, it has been a part of my K-poppin’ life for 4 years now.
- Look at the price of past KCONs, concerts, conventions, events, etc. and target your savings for the price bracket your most comfortable paying. It all will seem outlandish to you right now, right when you’re nice and broke, but trust me on this: prices fluctuate between a couple bucks to $20.00 from past years. Keep this in mind, choose your own adventure, and then move to step 2.
- If you’re able, open a savings account for your K-pop needs only. ONLY. This isn’t crazy–you’re creating an account, which is your right, for a particular goal, which is also your right. (I also have an account only for travel and emergencies. #Adulting.) Consider credit unions, your current bank, or great online banking options like Ally and Capital One’s 360 Savings.
- Don’t request a debit card or any checks for this account whatsoever. Make it a pain in the butt for yourself to go and take money out of it. I’m dead serious. Can’t open an account? Start shoe boxing it or shoving it into a sock in your dresser. Again, I’m dead serious. You want this, you’re going to work for it.
- Commit to putting the absolute lowest amount possible each month that you can in there to reach your target price bracket. If the mere thought of dropping $100.00 on a future ticket freaks you out, imagine how much easier it is to have saved up $10.00 to $25.00 a month (a month. A MONTH), for several months in advance, and then maybe having to ask family or friends to spot you the last $20.00. Much easier and less panic inducing, right?
- Take the money out of the account only when it’s time to make your purchase. Don’t use it for any other expenses except what you designated it for: K-pop. Lots and lots of K-pop. If I have an emergency, I use my emergency money. If I have to dip into my beloved K-pop savings account to take care of a flat tire/textbook/visit to urgent care, I first exhaust all other routes or ask friends or family for an I.O.U. I know that I can pay a friend or family member back over time. (Also, don’t be an ass, make good on paying people back money you owe them, no matter how long it takes and no matter the amount.) I’m not touching my K-pop money for anything but K-pop albums, merchandise, and concerts.
You can roll your eyes until they fall out of your head about all of this. You can say I’m out of touch. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s my money to spend how I want. And, even more so, the process of doing this influences greater financial responsibility in other areas of your life. Again, K-pop saves the damn day! It has not been all YouTube wishes and press pass dreams that have allowed me to attend as many things as I have–it’s the commitment to pulling money out of my dusty pocket and seeing the moth fly out after I’ve secured a ticket to jam with my faves. The satisfaction is undeniable.
If you want to know more about how I find great deals on traveling cheaply out of state to events, leave a comment below!