Going out on the weekend is often what gets most people through the week. It gives you something to look forward to and is the perfect opportunity to hang out with your favorite people. The sad truth is that going out can be very costly. Between Uber rides, drinks and food, you can end up spending a lot very quickly. Thankfully, there are some ways to budget and be smarter with your money even on nights out.
Oftentimes, drinks are the most expensive part of a night out. One drink can rage from around $8 all the way up to $20. If you plan on having several drinks, this can add up very quickly. My best tip to avoid pricey drinks is to drink before you go out. Making drinks at home is way cheaper than paying for drinks at a bar or restaurant. You also get to be in control of what drinks you want and how much alcohol and what other ingredients you put in. My best advice is to invite a few friends over before going out. It can give you even more time to catch up with your friends as well. Split the cost of the drink ingredients and have fun trying out new drink recipes. You can get as creative as you want with the drinks you make. Making your own DIY drinks is the best tip for being on a budget when it comes to alcohol.
2. Split Transportation Costs
Another big expense is paying for ride-sharing services to and from your destination. Apps like Uber and Lyft typically charge surge prices later in the night, when more people are requesting rides. Surge prices can get very expensive. My best recommendation is to have all your friends meet up at one location and then go to your destination from there. This allows you to all go together and therefore split the cost of the ride. An Uber ride that is $50 is not as bad when there are five people splitting it. Another alternative is to find a designated driver who does not mind driving to and from your destination, which can also help you budget. You can make this more fair by switching designated drivers each time your group goes out.
3. Eat Before Going Out
Dining out can also end up costing you a lot, depending on what kind of restaurant you choose. A great tip is to eat a large meal at home before the night begins. You can make this more fun by including your friends. You can invite people over and all cook together and eat before going out. This again gives you more time to hang out and can be a great time to talk and enjoy each other’s company. Just like drinking, eating at home is way cheaper than dining out. You can look up quick and cheap recipes that often only require a few ingredients. Dishes like pasta or home-made pizza are easy and affordable. If you still want to eat later, you can always order appetizers or small dishes to snack on when you get hungry. Eating small dishes rather than a large meal with drinks will help you stay on budget.
4. Take Advantage Of Happy Hour
Many restaurants and bars offer great happy hour deals. If you really want to go out to eat and drink rather than doing so at home beforehand, happy hour is your best bet. Many places offer amazing discounts on select drinks and food items during certain times. Some places also offer late-night happy hours, which are great for nights out. I recommend searching happy hour on Yelp to find the best deals around your neighborhood. Yelp allows you to see the menus and read what other’s have to say about the bar or restaurant. You can also ask friends and family what their favorite happy hour spot is to get more suggestions. Happy hour helps you budget while dining out, which can often be hard to do. The key is to find the best deals and time to go.
5. Wear Something You Already Have
Going out is often an occasion you look forward to the whole week. It can be extremely tempting to want to buy a new outfit or shoes in order to help you feel your best when you go out. However, if you are on a budget, then this isn’t the smartest move. My best recommendation is to go through your closet and make an outfit out of pieces you already own. Chances are that you have a few new clothing items that you haven’t even worn yet. This can be a fun challenge for you to make a cute outfit that you haven’t worn before. You can save this money that you would spend on clothes or accessories and spend it on the experience of going out with your friends instead. One of the best ways to budget is by cutting costs wherever you can. I would much rather spend money on shared experiences and going out on a fun weekend night than on buying clothes just for one occasion.