Enjoying The Nightlife on a Budget

Going out with friends for a night on the town is always a good time. Unfortunately, there are times when going out for the night will cost you a good deal of money. How do you go about balancing spending nights out with your friends while also minding your budget so that you continue to live within your means? This is a great question and below are a handful of ways to make it happen.

Stick to Cash

It is so easy to lose track of how much we spend when using a credit card. For this reason, I suggest you stick to cash. Before heading out for the night, review your budget to see how much you can spend and then head to the ATM to get the cash. When heading out, take the cash and leave the plastic.

conservative investmentPersonally, I fell into the credit card trap in a different way. When my friends and I would go out to eat, they all threw in cash. I collected the cash and put the bill on my credit card. The goal was to then deposit the cash in my bank account and pay off the credit card bill for dinner. (I would have to add in some extra money to the credit card since I put my portion of dinner on the credit card too.)

When we headed out for drinks, I would end up spending the cash on drinks. Now I have a credit card balance of $200 for dinner with no money to pay for it. There were even times when I spent the cash and ended up charging a few drinks as well. Learn from me and leave the credit card at home.

Find Placed Off The Beaten Track

Sure it’s nice to go to the nice clubs and bars, but those places also charge the most money. Find a balance between the trendy spots and the hidden gems. For me, my friends and I found out about the bar at the local fire hall. Membership for the year ran $6 and beers were $0.85. Naturally there weren’t very many girls to meet, but we weren’t going there hoping to meet girls. We went there to have a great time for cheap. We certainly accomplished that! After all, it matters more who you hang out with than where you hang out when looking for a fun time.

Stick to Drink Specials

Ordering Jack & Gingers or Long Island Ice Tea’s all night long is going to cost you a lot of money. Why not stick to the beer special or drink special? It will be much less money and still allow you to have a good time. For me, most times, I just drink the beer that is on draft. It isn’t anything glamorous, but I like the taste and it doesn’t cost me an arm and a leg. Sure I still splurge on a mixed drink now and then, but I don’t have to have it in order to have a good time.

Final Thoughts

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: I have more fun based on the people I am hanging out with regardless of where we hang out. For this reason, we shy away from the trendy bars that are going to cost us money to get into and cost us a lot money per drink. With a little bit of work, we were able to find a handful of fun places to hang out that don’t cost much money for drinks. This allows us to go out for the night and not have to worry about finances.

Readers, what are your tips for being frugal when enjoying the nightlife?

8 Responses to Enjoying The Nightlife on a Budget

  1. I feel pathetic for admitting this, but the way I save on nightlife is to not go out to the clubs! Have your friends over to your house and make your own drinks, watch a movie or play some board games :)

  2. Interesting article! No matter how much you want to cut back on expenses, there are still times you want to have fun with friends, good thing we can still do so without doing great damage to our budget.

  3. We always use cash when we go out with friends where we expect to share costs. We also make sure it is known ahead of time that since my wife and I do not drink alcohol, that we will not be paying for other people’s drinks. We are happy to share food with others, though.

  4. Cash is a great idea! After a few drinks, I don’t tend to care about a few more card swipes. With cash, when it’s gone, it’s gone!

    I’m not a club person, but I do enjoy a nice bar. Happy hour is my favorite hour :).

  5. Shannon says:

    This is great advice! I always “challenge” my clients to $20 nights where they get $20 in cash and their id in a baggie. When they know they can’t put a credit down and have only the cash in their pockets, they are MUCH more thoughtful about their drink selections and locations.

  6. Micro says:

    If I’m ever out to have drinks, I usually take a gander at what the specials are and what is on tap. If I don’t like the specials, I can just get a selection of draft beer. It tastes better than if it were to come in a bottle and is cheaper to boot. It’s a nice little win-win.

  7. Untemplater says:

    Drinks can get so expensive. Buying a bottle of wine or mixing your own drinks at home or at a friend’s is a great way to save money. Going to happy hour is also good and fortunately lots of places where I am have great deals.

  8. At the end of the day it’s not really where you hang out or what you drink it is truly about the people you spend time with and the experiences along the way.

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