If you’re finding yourself broke by the first weekend of the month, don’t despair! You don’t have to be a hermit until the next payday. Here are some tips on how you can still have fun going out, without spending a fortune.
There are a whole host of great tools you can use to plan your night and make sure you’re not just showing up late to a club to pay crazy entry fees. Spend some time planning ahead and you’ll be able to save on your adventures. A great tool for this is Design My Night, which lists a whole host of great ideas for an affordable evening out.
Eat and drink before you head out
If you’re heading off to something like a movie night, do yourself a favour: don’t buy the popcorn! For activities like this, you can get away with bringing along some budget snacks. But if you’re off dancing, for instance, try to limit expensive alcohol or food consumption ahead of time – organise pre-drinks or a meal before you head out. This is a great way to catch up with friends before you hit the town. Cooking as a group is especially fun, and everyone can pitch in a little. You can always take turns hosting too, which gives everyone a chance to benefit from the communal cooking vibe.
If cooking is really not your thing, check out Student Money Saver’s restaurant deals to make a meal out a little more wallet-friendly. This will make a big difference to your final tally for the night!
Set a budget – with cash!
One of the big dangers of having a credit or debit card is that it doesn’t really feel like spending money – you can just swipe and voila! Money keeps leaving your account and you hardly notice. Make the cost of the evening more tangible: withdraw cash ahead of time. That way, you’ll be able to physically see the effect the night out is having on your bank account. A set total ensures you don’t overspend, making your night out a little more guilt-free.
Transport over taxis
Sure, it can seem a little unappealing in the dead of night to find your way home on public transport. But apps like Citymapper and Google Maps are great tools for helping you coordinate, no matter where the night takes you. And, of course, Uber is often the best deal you can get if the more affordable public transport isn’t for you (or no longer running in the early hours!). Take advantage of signing up your friends for added Uber deals.
If you’re in London, you’re in luck: the tube lines are going 24-hours for Friday and Saturday nights, meaning you have less excuse than ever to call a cab.
Don’t go out on Friday
Who says Friday has to be such a big deal? It’s often the most expensive night of the week to party, so consider going out when the prices are lower. If you can make it through Friday with a little less sleep, try Thursday instead!
There are so many things you can go out and do in a group – it doesn’t have to just be clubs and bars (which tend to be very expensive sources of entertainment!). You can get a lot more bang for your buck if you spend time outside (in good weather!), or look into special free events in your city. Check out LastMinute or TimeOut and the Londonist (if you’re in London).
Take advantage of great deals
There are a lot of resources online to take advantage of new adventures and great deals! For cost effective wanderings, you cant go past GroupOn, 5PM and LivingSocial. For new free stuff year round, take a look at Student Money Saver as well – discounts are regularly updated, so always check back for new ideas and deals!
For those who are more culture-inclined, check out 365 tickets for discount tickets to shows. If art is more your thing, ArtPass is an amazing one-off fee for heavily discounted (and sometimes free) museum and gallery entry. This will apply year-round and make itself back before you know it.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Make your nights out cost friendly – without sacrificing the fun.