Are you spending week after week trying to stretch that paycheck to cover both the necessities of life and all the things you really want? Are you finding it difficult to put food on the table as well as catch a good show, such as Santana or Ozzy Osbourne?

You’re not alone. That’s why your friends at want you to buy concert tickets responsibly. After all, it doesn’t do either of us any good if you horde your kid’s school lunch money in order to buy tickets for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, skip on the heating bill in exchange for Kenny Chesney tickets or recycle toilet paper to raise enough cash for Patty Larkin and Gilby Clarke. It makes you look bad. And when you look bad, we look bad.

Here’s what you want to do: Grab a sheet of paper and divide it into two columns. Label the top of one column “Concerts” and label the top of the other column “Everything Else.”

Now list all the shows you want to see under the “Concerts” column, like Janet Jackson and Dave Matthews Band. Oh, and don’t forget The Catheters. Done? Now list all your bills, needs and obligations under the “Everything Else” column. Things like your daughter’s braces, Junior’s orthopedic underwear, ammo and a one-year membership to the Adam West fan club. Finished?

Now we’re ready to budget.

Take a good hard look at that first column, the one labeled “Concerts.” For every two shows, say, Tab Benoit and 311, remove one of the items from the second column. Deodorant, for example. No, don’t move it to the first column, just toss it. That’s right. Throw it away.

Keep it up and pretty soon you’ll have a nice long list of shows, like Bush, The Cranberries and Ratdog. And that second column? If you followed our instructions, that second column should be empty.

Ta da! Go ahead, pat yourself on the back. You’ve managed to strike a balance between concert tickets and everything else. Now you can afford all the shows you want to see, and you won’t have to give up catching Nelly Furtado or Jethro Tull, in order to put food on the table or pay for those surgical implants. Why? Because those items are not on your list.

Budgeting is easy when you do it the way. Just think of it! Not only will you have tickets for The Nighthawks and The Jimmie Van Zant Band, but you won’t have a care in the world. Hear that? It’s the happy phone ringing and we think it’s for you.

But don’t thank us for it. We learned everything we know about budgeting from the big boys in DC. After all, when it comes to money, if you can’t trust the government, whom can you trust?