November 16, 2013

When I was a teenager, I use to fantasize about dating a musician. I love music and used to go to shows a lot, and musicians seemed like the best kind of artists and poets.  Music is poetry, craftsmanship, technique, stage presence and so much more!

In short, I love all things music.

And as life would have it, I’ve ended up with a musician as my partner! He’s a very talented musician, composer and audio engineer.  Primarily he plays an upright bass in a jazz band that plays around town, and is an audio engineer for some of the shows coming through town.

While I am supportive of him and his career, there is no denying how NOT frugal it is to be a musician. Holy heck, the equipment is expensive! The upright bass alone is several thousand dollars. Sound recording equipment and software can also add up pretty quickly. It’s a hobby and profession where things constantly need to be replaced. New bass strings, new tuners, new software, new mics, new gear, etc. It’s an investment of time and money.

If you want to be a professional, you need to have professional gear. This has been something that is constantly looming over our heads. For the past few years while he was in school, there have been a few music related expenditures, but I know it’s only going to get worse. While I adopt minimalism, his profession requires him to have a certain amount of possessions.  We have separate finances, so this doesn’t necessarily affect my money. However, it does affect our priorities, goals and dreams in life. For example, I always want to throw any money towards my debt or travel, while he feels inclined to replace old items or update software.

If you think it’s expensive to be a musician, it’s also expensive to date a musician. When we first started dating, I used to go to all of his gigs. I was the good groupie girlfriend, always supporting….and spending way too much money! While I always got in for free, most of the locations are bars, restaurants or clubs with drink minimums. Spending three hours watching music and drinking, will kill your budget! After that, more often than not, food is involved, because I am trying to downplay the fact that I’ve been drinking for three hours.

Late last year is when I decided that it just wasn’t good for me to continue going to see all of his gigs. I’ve decided to only go to gigs when they are at places I haven’t been to, or somewhere I really want to go to. Because let’s face it, not all of the gigs are great. It’s like anything; some are really good, and some aren’t. It’s also hard to date a musician because of the schedule. While he’s not on tour or anything, we have completely opposite schedules. I work 9-5 during the week, he works 4-6 nights a week. He comes home when I’m asleep, and I leave while he’s still asleep. It’s kind of depressing at times, but we make time to have a date night at least once a week and have a good time.

It’s going to be a balance moving forward as we both get settled into our respective careers and interests. I hope that for both of our sakes that things become more lucrative for both of us—I think that will soften the pain of being apart, because in addition to lack of time, we’re not flush with the funds (yet)! One thing is for sure though: I love him so much and he inspires me. I know that we can move forward together and figure all this crazy business out. To us, it’s just another adventure!

Are you dating someone who has a totally not frugal career choice? Are you in a totally not frugal career choice?


Melanie is a freelance writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy, and empowering people to take control of their finances. She writes about breaking up with debt, freelancing, and side hustle adventures at

Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master. Follow the adventure @DearDebtBlog.

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19 responses to “Dating a Musician”

  1. I used to wish I could marry Daniel Johns from Silverchair when I was about 12… somehow it don’t materialize.

    I can completely understand having the schedules that don’t synch. My fiancé is mostly freelance and so he generally works in the evening and nights since his he is the perpetual night person and I work 9-5. At least I get to see him when he is home working, but he is otherwise busy.
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  2. E.M. says:

    Aw, the ending was sweet! That must really be a difficult situation to be in. No one really likes to be away from their significant other for long periods of time, even worse that when he isn’t on tour, you’re working opposite schedules. I can relate, as my last boyfriend was in IT. They had rotating shifts and for two weeks a month he would have to work the overnight. It was rough!

    Additionally, he loved computers, so he was constantly upgrading and buying new parts. It was a hobby and a career, but not one I could really identify with. My dad is the same way, and acquired drawers filled with computer parts. He had way to many “things” laying around for my moms taste.
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    • deardebt says:

      Yeah, it can be rough, but we are making it work. There are expensive careers/hobbies that do require getting extra stuff and it’s hard to understand for others. It’s hard for me to understand, but we know it will be a slow process of getting more stuff– and only when it’s absolutely needed.

  3. I can see where scheduling hanging out with each other would be problematic. As a freelancer video editor, my job could get expensive with equipment and software upgrades. I’ve kept it to a minimum though. My producer sold me his huge monitor and mac tower for 500 simply because he couldn’t stand me using my laptop to edit. Otherwise it would have cost me several thousand dollars.
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    • deardebt says:

      Getting used and cheap stuff from friends and colleagues is the best! Ryan has bought used or even traded stuff with people. He barters as much as he can, but the cost can be inevitable at times.

  4. As I read your post, I am reminded of what the old folks here in our place used to say. That one should not ambition a career in music because there’s no money in it, only expenses. I am also a music lover and I wonder what the world would be like without music if musicians didn’t pursue their passion.
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  5. Is that a real pic of your boyfriend? 🙂 J and I actually have the same schedules lol. In the mornings, we ride the train together downtown and we ride the train together home after work. It would be challenging to have opposite schedules but real love conquers all. 🙂
    Girl Meets Debt recently posted…Debt Confessions: K’s StoryMy Profile

    • deardebt says:

      Yep, that’s him! 🙂 That’s nice you get to spend so much time together. We really cherish the time together since it’s only for a few hours. I do believe love conquers all too.

  6. Aww, what a sweet post! The two of you sound perfect together. My husband spent many nights working second shift and it was that same things where we never saw each other. But we chose to work through it, just like you guys are. You take the “awesome” with the “pain in the tail” stuff and just choose to make it through and not give up. I also think it’s important that your BF is doing what he loves, not just working to make money, and that you are supportive of this. This will make life much happier, and lead to lots less regrets later down the line. You have a true understanding that successful relationships are lots more giving and not so much taking. Way to go. 🙂
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  7. My ex was in “jersey boys”, over the course of two years I saw it about twenty times, SO expensive. I’m finally dating a non musician or actor and it’s nice. Actually wrote about it a little while ago.
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  8. anna says:

    Wow, who knew equipment would be so pricey, not only with start-up but with the upkeep! That’s so awesome how supportive you are – that must be tough with sometimes conflicting schedules, but you two are so adorable together. 🙂
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  9. Jenni Tulip says:

    My boyfriend is part of a sound system crew who put on club nights and parties. It’s pretty cool but pretty costly too! I, like you, usually get in for free, but as he has to be there all night (I’m talking 10pm-6am!!!) I have to buy lots of drinks and food to stay awake then there’s the taxi home! I used to go to every night they put on which was about once a week but I have had to reduce this to just going once a month or even less. Now, I always take a hip flask with me (naughty I know) and a rucksack with cereal bars, water and sometime a flask of teas. This helps keep the cost down and allows me to enjoy the night. It sometimes feels like I’m missing out but it doesn’t feel half as bad as having no money.
    Jenni xx
    The Thrifty Magpies Nest

    • deardebt says:

      I’ve been known to bring a flask too 😉 Those late nights can be killer too. It’s a balance. Enjoy the gigs you do go too, but don’t go to all of them! Save that $!

  10. Be prepared to hear a lot of passionate, long-winded speeches about bands you’ve never heard of. Seriously 🙂

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