Just because you're a student or a 20-something on a budget, it doesn't mean you have to sit in twiddling your thumbs. Amy Davies offers nine tips for a cheap night out.
It's an expensive world out there. With food and energy prices rising, if you're a student or a 20-something, you may be feeling the pinch.
And since fun nights out are typically the first to suffer in a budget, you may be feeling slightly depressed right now.
But don't despair! Just because your cash flow isn't. well. flowing, it doesn't mean that you have to while away the hours by twiddling your thumbs. Below are a few handy tips for cutting the cost of a night out:
Set yourself a budget
Withdraw the cash you estimate you will need for the night (be realistic here - you don't want to end up short after only one drink) and leave your debit cards and credit cards at home. Make sure you factor in the cost of transport home into your budget, and perhaps keep this separate from the rest of your cash to ensure you do not spend it.
Drink at home (and eat at home at the end of the night)
A bit of an obvious one, but one that will probably save you the most. Takeaways at the end of the night can eat up a significant portion of your budget. So if you really can't live without an end-of-night snack, stock up at home, ready for when you get in. Toast is always a winner in my book - and a lot healthier than a kebab...
Walk/Bus it there
If you live close enough to your intended destination (or there's a good bus route), don't be tempted to get a taxi both there and back. In the summer months with extended daylight hours walking there shouldn't be too much of a problem, but is best avoided if it's gone dark. If you have a friend who doesn't want to drink and doesn't mind driving, look out for bars that do free or discounted (soft) drinks for the designated driver.
Happy hours tend to kick in early in the night, you could take further advantage of this by getting in pitchers of cocktails and/or wine and making them last for the rest of the night.
It goes without saying that if you're a student, you should pay attention to which clubs do student nights, and on which nights of the week. Even without designated student nights, many places offer discount entry with an NUS card.
Get there earlier
Many clubs and bars charge more the later it gets, so getting there earlier can save you some cash. That said, the price of the drinks usually makes up for the discount in entry price. A cheeky tip is to head to the bar/club as early as possible, get a stamp/wristband and then head for a cheaper pub until you want to come back.
Get on the guest list/Use your birthday
It's not what you know, but who you know. Take advantage of anybody you know who might be working in bars/clubs to get you on the guest list. Some bars will do deals if it's your birthday - if you have enough friends, this could be a weekly or monthly occurrence!
Don't do rounds
By this, I don't mean let everybody else get a round in and hide in the toilet when it's your turn. Explain to your friends that you're on a budget and you'd rather get your own drinks in. If this isn't working for you, you might want to get a round partner (preferably an equally poor friend) so you can reign in the amount you're buying.
If it's safe, walk or bus home. If not, try and share a taxi with as many people as possible. If you know when you're going to be leaving, it can often work out cheaper to pre-book a taxi (and it will also mean you won't have to wait in long taxi queues).
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