Nights out can end up taking a big chunk out of your overdraft if you’re not careful. To save you waking up and realising you spent your weekly rent money on one night, we’ve compiled 10 tips that will help you have fun on a budget.
Worried about your money? Understanding your money, how to budget, how to make more of your money and knowing what to do if things are going wrong are essential skills for life. Here are links and guides to help keep your finances on track.
- Eat a proper meal before drinking
It’s not wise to drink on an empty stomach anyway, but by eating a nutritious meal you may also minimise the chance of being tempted to get a late night takeaway and in turn make your night out cheaper. Also, have food ready for when you return — just in case you’re still tempted with a McDonalds at 2am!
2. Have pre-drinks
This tip is rule #1 of any night out — start the night at home! You won’t need as many drinks while you’re out and alcohol you get from supermarkets can often be five or six times cheaper than in clubs and bars. If you’re going for a spirit with a mixer, go for a supermarket brand spirit as you won’t taste much of a difference to branded bottles anyway. Additionally, if you’re hosting the pre-drinks, you can choose your own music and play (drinking) games to get everyone in the mood for socialising.
3. Go out early
Going out early may help you avoid entry fees at clubs and make the most of various early-bird offers. You may also be able to catch public transport into town or avoid extraordinary Uber fees during peak ‘night out hours’.
4. Go out mid-week
Similarly to going-out early, partying on off-peak nights tends to be cheaper as there are always offers going on during the week.
5. Budget wisely
Check your bank balance in advance and determine how much money you can actually spend on a night out. You can also do your research and check which places have the cheapest drinks and when the entry fees go up to see what you can afford within your budget.
6. Take a pre-paid card or cash
To make sure you stick to your budget, take a pre-paid card like one from Starling Bank or Monzo, or transfer the money you need for necessities to your savings account and transfer it back to your current account the next day. Alternatively, take a set amount of cash with you (find a free ATM) and leave your card at home — nearly all venues will accept cash. This will make overspending way more difficult and also means you won’t lose your card!
7. Take your student card
Many places offer student discount, so make sure you make the most of it. If in doubt, just flash your student card when you buy a drink. You never know how cheap that round of drinks might turn out to be! You can find out more about student discount offers over on For Students.
8. Walk or take a bus if you can
If the distance is walkable, consider going on foot. But be mindful of walking at late hours on your own or on side-streets. Walk with someone, stick to well-lit roads where there’s CCTV even if it’ll take slightly longer than a shortcut. Or, if it’s early enough, take a bus. Most Leeds buses operate until 12am. You can also take a night bus from the Union for £1. If you’re taking an Uber with someone, use the ‘spilt fare’ option in the app.
9. Have an evening in with friends
Can’t afford to go out but have a nice, flashy flat/house to show-off to your mates? Organise an evening in and ask your friends to bring their own drinks. By doing so, you’re also cutting the costs of transport and entry fees. Just keep it down when it gets late. Getting a fine is never great, but especially when trying to save money!
10. Try a night out without alcohol
Hear us out! Say you buy 5 pints on a night out priced at £4, that’s £20 gone before you can say “2 double Vodkas and Cokes as well please”. Add a couple of spirits and mixers into that equation, and you’re already looking at upwards of £30. Who knows, sober nights out may be just the thing you enjoy — and you won’t have a horrible hangover the morning after!