We can budget and plan and save, but there’s one overwhelmingly large thing that has the ability to deplete our finances like no other: a big night out on the town.
By Georgie Koch
A big night out can vary in expense depending on which end of the YOLO scale it falls on. From a quiet and relatively cheap drink after work, to ‘I can’t remember where I left my shoes’.
But if you don’t do it right, the frivolity of a big night out will hurt your finances much more than is necessary.
To counter this, here are nine ways to have a big night out without spending a fortune. C’mon, you can do this!
1. Pre-game on!
Rule number one: pre-drink as much as is responsible and possible before you go out.
Bottle store purchases are much cheaper than equivalent bar purchases, plus organising pre-drinks is a great excuse to rally the troops and form a game plan before the night really begins.
2. Chew before you spew
Like pre-drinking, eating before you go out is another good move.
One, it will stop you from peaking too early.
Two, it can reduce the risk of waking up the next day and finding a $50 Mr Crackles receipt in your pocket.
3. BYO everything possible
This applies mostly to restaurants; just Google your city and ‘BYO restaurants’ and I guarantee you’ll be able to find a comprehensive list of places you can bring your $3 bargain bin cleanskin (no judgement).
And while frowned upon, I don’t think it’s actually against the law to bring a flask into a bar or club. Obviously concealment is a must.
4. Happy Hour is happy for a reason
Yes, this takes a bit of planning, but can go a long way to protecting your wallet against your future lubricated self.
Hit up The Happiest Hour to find your desired happy hour of choice.
And for those on the East Coast, The Urban List frequently publishes lists of cheap bars, clubs and restaurants that I’d recommend.
5. Around and around
Let’s face it, you’re not a baller. Don’t get sucked into rounds when you can barely afford to pay for your own drinks, let alone other people’s.
And there’s always ‘that guy’ who skips out before their turn comes around. You don’t like that guy and you don’t want to be that guy either.
6. Set a budget
Work out a realistic budget beforehand and get out that amount of cash.
DO NOT rely on your card or you will lose track of your spending and you will regret it.
Keep cards in a place that ensures you won’t whip them out for every trip to the bar, but they’re there in case of emergencies.
I hate to say this, but playing to the ego of the door bitch, bartender or DJ will get you lots of places. For free.
Making friends with these people (you don’t have to like them) can led to free entry, drinks on the house and access to the VIP area, where there are always rich people you can make friends with who will buy you drinks. Girls, flirting shamelessly is okay if it serves a higher (bank balance) purpose.
While public transport is the cheapest option, sometimes safety and sanity depend on getting a cab home at 4am.
If you’re going to do that, make sure to check your apps, my favourites are Uber and GoCatch, which frequently email out discounts and promotions to their customer base for your inebriated convenience.
9. Home is where the party is
At the end of the day, everyone loves a good house party. If nights out on the town are wearing thin in quality and doing the same to your wallet, take turns with friends in hosting house parties.
Everyone brings their own supplies, and rolls off your couch or returns the next day for the clean up job.
All it’ll cost you is a couple of obligatory bags of Doritos. Bacon and eggs for the hungover clean-up crew is classy, but not compulsory.