There's nothing better than seeing live music with your family or friends, but concerts can be ridiculously expensive. Rather than ditching my favorite pastime, I’ve found tried-and-true ways to save money both before and during the concert.

 

 

 

 

 

1. Check the venue

Check your local club or arena for concert coupons or other discounts. Many places offer incentives to get you through the door. For example, $15 "Recession Buster" tickets were for sale at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum for the Hank Williams Jr. concert last spring. A few years before that, $15 Demi Lovato tickets were on sale through Tampa's St. Pete Times Forum. That's some serious savings, considering tickets cost as much as 47 bucks a piece! You can also go to sites like Entertainment Book, which offer special promotions like buy-two get-two free tickets.

2. Look for presales

Check with your local box office before concert tickets go on sale to see if they are offering any presales. This will save you money because you won’t have to buy expensive tickets from a third party (Craigslist and scalpers) if your concert gets sold out. Some credit card companies like American Express and Citibank offer preferred seating and pre-sale ticket programs. Check with your credit card company to see if they offer similar deals.

3. Join artist fan clubs

Fan clubs typically offer discounts or presales on tickets. For example, members of the Bieber Fever fan club can buy concert tickets one week before they are on sale to the public. Clubs sometimes even have lotteries or contests where they give away front-row seats. Be aware that fan clubs aren't usually free – they can cost up to $100 a year. But this can actually save you money if tickets sell out fast or you are a frequent concertgoer.

4. Check price-comparison websites

Use websites like SeatGeek, FanSnap and TicketsNow to search for the cheapest concert tickets. Websites such as these scour other sites like eBay and StubHub for the best deals. Some, like SeatGeek, also offer buyer protection programs so you can rest assured when you purchase those tickets.

5. Make a concert budget

Skip the merchandise and booze, which can get expensive. Instead, find the same (or similar) merchandise on Amazon or in-store for cheaper. For example, here's a Kelly Clarkson t-shirt for $10! A similar shirt would be at least $20 at her concert. If you must buy a band t-shirt at the concert, make a budget before you go so you know exactly how much you have to spend on drinks and merchandise — and stick to it!

6. Volunteer

Some venues allow you to volunteer (as an usher, etc) in exchange for a free show. For example, last year Virgin Mobile opened up 3,000 seats to concertgoers who volunteered for at least 8 hours with their partner charities. Go here to see their latest promotions or check your local venue to see if they have similar programs.