Affording K-Pop: Tips & Tricks

11 comments

We’ve all been there: you just bought your favorite group’s latest album. You get your package, flip through the photobook, and take to Twitter to share your excitement when–boom–a concert tour DVD drops. Or a Season’s Greetings. Or a tour is announced. Or a combination of all of those. You’re left looking at your bank account wondering where you went wrong. But there are ways around it. Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years to help make K-Pop just a touch more affordable.

Budget for Concert Tickets

This may sound frivolous to anyone who’s not into K-Pop, but the thing is that you always have to budget for concert tickets. Your faves could take forever to come to your country and you have to be prepared for when the time comes. The best way to do this is to set aside a little bit of money anytime you get paid or get a cash present.

Apps like Qapital help you create little savings funds for different things that you want to do or buy. I have a big ol’ stash on there for a trip to Korea (eventually). The money that you put into the account is insured, so you don’t have to worry about losing it, and you can take it whenever you need it.

Pick Your Albums Wisely

I know you want every album that comes out. I’ll admit, sometimes, in my weakest moments, I almost purchased albums from groups that I wasn’t even really that into! I just thought the album looked pretty.

But that is a dangerous game to play in K-Pop. Nearly every album is packaged up beautifully and uniquely, and there are so many options to choose from, given how often groups put out new music.

You have to decide which albums are worth your money. Think carefully about which albums have the songs that really speak to you or which ones have the visual concepts you can’t live without. For everything else, wait until someone gifts it to you.

Download Apple Music

Not to sound like an ad, but Apple Music is the best way to support your groups. You can instantly download the albums as soon as they drop and stream the songs. You can do this with Spotify too, but I’ve found that not all companies allow their groups to have all their songs on Spotify. Apple Music is a lot more expansive.

Also! If you are a student–or if you still have your university email ;)–you can sign up for a student account and pay only $5 a month. That is a lot better than paying $20 or more per album.

Utilize Tumblr Well

Tumblr is such a great resource for K-Pop. This is especially the case if your groups put out summer specials, winter specials, year-end summaries, season’s greetings, etc. (BTS has all of the above–thanks, guys.)

While some of these may be worth the money, not all of them will be. I have no regrets about buying the 2017 BTS Season’s Greetings, but I don’t really feel guilty about not buying the 2018 one. Why? Because a beautiful, caring ARMY uploaded all the pictures and the videos from the DVD. And all fanbases do that for their groups, so don’t spend money on specials if you don’t have to.

Amazon, Amazon, Amazon

Amazon is the holy grail, honestly. They have everything you could ever want now–including unofficial merch! I bought my first K-Pop sweatshirt off Amazon for an entirely reasonable price and I used Amazon to buy my first couple of BTS albums without the exorbitant shipping prices of K-Pop specialty sites.

Don’t get me wrong: I still use the K-Pop specialty sites for new releases–my fave is still ktown4u–but Amazon is such a great resource for getting great prices on older albums. You can even get two-day shipping if you’re an Amazon Prime member.

Final Thoughts

K-Pop is expensive. I’m not gonna lie–I’ve fallen victim to the call of buying, buying, buying more than once before. However, there are ways to avoid the temptation and save up for the big stuff.

Do you have any money-saving tips? Let me know in the comments!

image source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU90fcyEEJs

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11 comments on “Affording K-Pop: Tips & Tricks”

  1. I learned about budgeting for a k-pop concert out of my city the hard way. When BTS stopped by Canada, playing at the Hamilton venue, I booked our hotel room too late. We were that far from Hamilton, but the drive to and from would have been too long. So I planned to book a weekend get away.

    I should have known this… Hamilton is a very small city. Around the venue there are not many hotels/motels. Two in walking distance which were decent hotels – that pretty much sums it up! And we were traveling by train so we didn’t have a car. We needed to be in walking distance.

    After landing the concert tickets, I just said, ‘Okay! That’s that… live goes on for the next five months!’ I didn’t bother booking the hotel until 2 months before the venue thinking it was enough time.

    I was wrong. All the cheapest rooms were booked. The 2nd hotel choice was completely sold out! I ended up still getting a room in the main hotel next to the venue but paid through the nose for the 2nd more expensive room type. Granted I could have tried Airbnb but as I am working plus taking my daughter to a city which an be a bit rough around the edges, I wanted the convenience of a hotel with room service, etc. And good thing we did because ARMY too over that small city – it was tough getting reservations and the local Starbucks sold out on food items daily that weekend!

    Long story short, Blackpink is going to perform at the same venue. And even though I’m doubtful I’ll get tickets as it will sell out in record time, I went booked the hotel room – standard room which is less than half I paid last time – even though I have no tickets yet. Most hotels have a cancellation policy 48 hrs before arrival date. When I went to book, one hotel was already sold out already.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is such an important tip! I went through the same thing when I booked for BTS. If I had thought to book my hotel first, I probably would have paid regular weekend rates. However, I waited until I was sure I had my tickets and when I went to check, all the hotels in the area had skyrocketed their prices. My friend and I ended up doing Airbnb near the venue but I would’ve much preferred staying in a hotel because it was Newark so it was kind of sketchy as well. I will definitely not make that mistake again!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. PS – Also, good tip on the albums. K-pop albums are usually so expensive due to the packaging. I have seen Amazon carry just the CD – nothing else. And that’s priced more reasonable but still it can add up. I have purchased a lot of BTS’ fully packaged versions (yes, all of them) for my daughter. But I found a local store which orders them in – I can have them set aside a whole set for me before the sets arrive. This way I manage to at least save on the hefty shipping fees.

    Anyway – Apple Music subscription is the best! Especially for those new to k-pop. It gives them a chance to sample the music. And there’s so much to listen to when it comes to k-pop!

    I love to support my fave artists… So I will sample their albums. If I like what I hear, I’ll even buy the digital song or album (unless I’m getting the physical album). It’s a nice way to also support the ones that are not as big.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Local stores are so great! I just learned about one in my city that’s supposed to be more affordable than trying to buy online. That said, the one in New York that I like to visit can have higher prices on newer albums so I think it all depends on the individual stores themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. When it comes to merchandise like posters and photo cards, local stores are also better. Especially for posters! The only thing is that they are knock-offs. But what’s great is finding a store where the posters are not folded up like they are in the packaged CD albums. We found one store which sells posters for 3 for $12. And the packages of photo cards/postcards are good too – they may be around the same as what we’ve seen on Amazon but we’re at least saving on the shipping charges. Some of my fave sellers on Amazon are from China or S. Korea so the shipping fee to Canada can be hefty.

    I don’t care for the photos and posters myself but of course my daughter has decorated her room with BTS and GOT7. 🙂 It saves ME money when it comes time to get her stocking stuffers at Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Whenever I purchase an album, I immediately resell the photo cards and other images that come with it. For the first few years I kept everything I received, but I never did anything with them, so eventually I decided to just resell it all. Depending on the group and/or member, I sometimes make back enough that it covers, or almost covers, the cost of the album itself.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is a great tip! I can’t do that though.. I buy the full package for my daughter and I (and husband) to share the music but I’d have the sleep with one eye open if I sold any of the photocards and posters! That would make one angry daughter! LOL!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. LOL yeah I know a lot of people like to have them, which is the other reason I don’t hold onto mine: no point in them being ignored in my care when they can belong to people who appreciate them!

        Liked by 2 people

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