March 10, 2017
Nights out are fun - but your bank balance can end up taking a hammering. Luckily, there's a way to avoid feeling regretful after an evening on the tiles.
Nights out, as the odd treat, are a great way to let off steam. However, they tend to be rather costly, especially if you’re living and working in a capital city. If you’re looking for ways to cut down on the cost of your fun, here are seven ways to have fun without feeling guilty afterwards about how much you spent.
By pre-planning and exercising a little self-restraint, you could save up to £500 this summer (we'll call summer June - August for the sake of argument). So if you're wondering where you'll be able to find the money for a summer holiday, here you go...
Buying ‘little extras’ to make an impression
We all like to look great before a night out, and it can be tempting to pop out for an hour over lunch to buy a new shirt, dress or some perfume - the idea being that a) you want to impress your friends with how great you look and b) you want a pre-treat treat. Rest assured that neither ideas are particularly sensible.
If you really want to make sure you’re noticed, plan your outfit the night before, and set aside 15 minutes after work to smarten up, so you’re looking your best. To put it bluntly, your friends won’t be that concerned about your earrings or your new coat – they’ll just be pleased you’ve made the effort to join them!
Saving: £30-£50 per month (based on the cost of a new dress from H&M, earrings from Accessorize and a No7 lipstick, or a Topman shirt and some John Lewis cufflinks)
Summer saving: £90 - £150
Buying expensive cocktails
Nobody – and I mean nobody – needs a drink which costs close to £20 and lasts for five minutes. The amount of liquid you’ll receive will be bulked out by excessive ice and chunks of fruit which you’ll then have to fish out with your fingers. Stick with beers, cider and wine, and don’t forget to drink a glass of water with every alcoholic drink. You’ll last far longer and be be much better company at the end of the night!
Saving: £24 per month (based on the cost of two White Russians at The Friendly Society once a month)
Summer saving: £72
Buying starters and nibbles
Waiting staff are clever – and they know that when you sit down to eat, you’ll already have worked up an appetite. When asked if you’d like any olives, breadsticks or dips, just say no – they can add up to around £4 each. The same applies for starters, which can cost up to £6. Your main meal will always be enough – especially if you’re having something filling, such as pizza, pasta, or a burger!
If you’re somebody who loves to eat and you know you’ll be ravenous before the restaurant, plan ahead. Have a banana or a bag of nuts on the way there, and make sure you drink plenty of water when you’re seated to stave off any hunger pangs.
Saving: £20 per month (based on the cost of two starters at Pizza Express per month)
Summer saving: £60
Ask for tap water
When your server asks if you’d like water, they may often say ‘Still or sparkling?’. The correct answer is ‘Just tap, please.’ Don’t ever feel embarrassed about asking for tap water - if you enjoy still water anyway, there’s a good chance that you’d never taste the difference.
Saving: £10 (based on the cost of two bottles of San Pelligrino per month)
Summer saving: £40
Taxis and Uber journeys home from the station
When it’s cold and gloomy, and the next bus isn’t due for ten minutes, it can be hard to resist the allure of the Uber. However, taxis on a Friday and Saturday night aren’t cheap – and the later it is, the more you’ll pay.
If you live a 25 minute walk away from the station, you can expect a 10-minute drive to set you back around £10.
If you can endure it – and rest assured, you can – wait for the bus, or walk. Not only will you save your money, but you’ll also be able to clear your head and clarify your thoughts before bed. Job done!
Saving: £20 (based on two ten-minute taxi journeys home per month)
Summer saving: £60
Late night snacks
The old adage rings true – forewarned is forearmed. Whatever you’re up to, if you have a feeling hunger will strike, plan ahead!
If you’re heading out for drinks, make sure you have some easy, filling food at home and that it’ll be ready to go when you come home. If you’re going to do something which involves pricey snacks, such as the cinema or bowling, make sure you eat before you come out – or bring along some snacks with you.
Always remember that a kebab with chips, a large plate of nachos or a large McDonalds will cost you around £7-8, and it definitely won’t hit the spot like homemade food will.
Saving: £10 per month (based on two large McDonalds Quarter Pounder with Cheese meals)
Summer saving: £30
Planning for the next morning
If you are planning on having a few drinks, plan for the next day’s breakfast to avoid going out for a fry up/ordering pizza at 11am/buying expensive comfort food from the local shop.
You may think ‘Oh, it’s fine, I’ll just have an apple,’ but everyone knows your resolutions will fall flat the minute you wake up. You’ll want salt and fat, and you’ll want it right away.
To give your breakfast a healthier twist, poach your eggs, choose brown bread, and add some chopped avocado with tomato and coriander on top. Game on!
Saving: £25 per month (based on two shopping trips to the expensive local newsagent to buy breakfast food, including coffee, beans, milk, eggs, sausages, bread, chocolate, croissants, hash browns and halloumi)
Summer saving: £75
Finally, here's a handy summary of everything we've just been through! Even if you remember a handful of these, you'll be on the right track:
- You look great already – so don’t buy new clothes for the occasion!
- Choose a pre-dinner glass of wine over the over expensive cocktail.
- Take the edge off your hunger beforehand – and skip the starter.
- Tap water is fine – don’t be embarrassed about asking for it.
- Public transport is the cheap way to get around, so forget the taxi.
- Have some at-home munchies ready – you’ll save on the late-night Maccy D's.
- Have the hangover breakfast in the fridge – you’ll avoid spending extra on a greasy fry-up.
So there you have it. Just by incorporating a bit of forward planning and neatly sidestepping advertisers' tricks, you can save up to £500 on a night out - and your monthly clothing bill will be much lower.