pearl jamNot too long ago, Greg and I were having some cocktails with his parents when I received an email alert I’ve been waiting for.  The subject line read: “Pearl Jam announces 2014 U.S. tour dates.” 

Hell yeah. 

I totally freaked.  I had been waiting for that day ever since Pearl Jam came to Chicago last year and sold out for both of their shows in a matter of hours (and before I could buy tickets).  Ever since that day, I have been preparing myself to travel anywhere within driving distance if and when they ever decided to come to this damn country and quit touring in Europe for five minutes.  Fortunately, my time had arrived.

Unfortunately, I found the selection of tour dates and cities rather underwhelming.  Not surprisingly, Indianapolis was not on the list.  However, Pearl Jam was coming to Cincinnati, Ohio and Moline, Illinois, and both of those cities are only a few hours away.

But the dates for those two concerts didn’t jive with our calendar at all since we had a serious obligation one night and Greg was on call for work the other.  Womp womp.  Undeterred,  we started looking at the other seven cities to see what would work best:

  • Austin, Texas
  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Denver, Colorado

Knowing When to Splurge

Just a few years ago, we never would’ve considered traveling anywhere for a concert.  Hell, we didn’t really consider traveling anywhere.  We were knee-deep in the U.S. consumer culture and making payments on nearly everything we “owned.”  We were relatively high-earners, but our paychecks were getting us nowhere.  Why?  Because we were spending it all.

But now?  We worked tirelessly to pay off all of our debt over the course of 18 months.  And, aside from a small mortgage, we are 100 percent debt-free.  The fact that we’re saving close to 50 percent of our income also leaves plenty of wiggle room in our budget for a few extras.  So, while Pearl Jam tickets are certainly a “want” and not a “need,” we decided to make it work.

Another Reason I Love Credit Card Rewards

I know, I know.  You’re sick of hearing about how much I love credit card rewardsI get it.  However, I have to explain how they played a factor in our decision to splurge on an out-of-state concert.  Humor me.

Since I have the Southwest Companion Pass and my husband and I have around 150,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points between us (after spending 100,000 on trips already!!!!), we decided to see if we could fly to see Pearl Jam for free.  And, lo and behold, we quickly discovered the Denver, Colorado is home to one of Southwest’s major hubs.  I have to admit, this did not break my heart.

Since Greg’s ticket was “free” for being my companion, and since I could pay for my ticket with points, the total cost of our flights was $10 and 14,300 Rapid Rewards Points.  In other words, almost free.  Furthermore, I used the free night from my Marriott Rewards Card to book a hotel room at the Ramada Inn Denver Downtown for free.  Yes, you read that rightFree.

Buying Pearl Jam Tickets

Since our hotel room was free and our flights cost $10, we decided to splurge for some good seats.  I mean, I’m cheap, but I’m not stupid.  I’m not going to fly my ass all the way to Denver to sit in the nosebleed section and stare at a giant concrete pillar.  On the other hand, the most expensive tickets were extremely pricey and we even saw a few that were $2,000 each.  Yikes!   Spending that much money would be insane, so we met somewhere in the middle.  The total cost of our tickets ended up being $185.50 each including taxes and the convenience fee.  I felt slightly guilty for spending that much on concert tickets, but the nearly-free flights and free hotel room certainly helped.

And, you know what?  This type of situation is exactly why we got out of debt in the first place.  I know I continue to harp on this issue, but all any of us really have is time.  We can choose to live in the moment and follow our dreams, or become victims of our environment.  We can create a life worth living, or we can become a slave to our lifestyle.  The choice is, and has always been, up to us.

So, on October 22nd, picture me sitting in Pepsi Center with a gin-n-tonic and the biggest shit-eating grin you’ve ever seen.

I’ve worked hard to create the life I want and nothing is going to stop me from truly living it.

Do you think it’s hard to know when to splurge?  Is there a concert you would pay big bucks for?