Going out on a budget is pretty straightforward. If you try to simplify your weekend nights, you will naturally save money. Here are some of the best ways to save money on a night out.
10 Ways to Save Money on a Night Out
Sustainably living the dream for the decades after your early retirement requires a firm hold on reality. Although you’re growing your investments and you’ve planned your income streams, everybody has to calculate and stick to a budget sooner or later.
You should budget for everything whether that is saving money on travel or going out on a budget.
To afford the big things we want, like traveling the world, it helps if we can save on the small things.
You should check how much money you’ve spent on food and drinks by using Personal Capital to track your spending. You might be shocked at how expensive it is to go out and have some fun.
Do you need to spend that much money? Probably not.
At the same time, you still want to go out and have fun and you should! Beyond Personal Capital, I like to use a tracking budget sheet to develop a plan on how much I’m willing to spend on going out.
It takes a second to download and get started.
Use these tips to save a few bucks for the next outing in your hometown or away.
Save Money by Going Out on a Budget
We have a number of ways to help you have an affordable night on the town. Before we get into the various ways to save money, we broke down the various ways into categories of how to save money.
The categories for saving money on a night out include the following:
- Use your knowledge to plan your night ahead of time.
- Try something new and under the radar to have fun at night.
- Save money on food and drinks. Focus on the experience itself.
- Get around the town for less.
Living a minimalist lifestyle can be refreshing to your mind and wallet. By going out on the town with less, you might find new happiness from it.
We thought it was only appropriate to start by focusing on the planning aspect.
Knowledge is Power: Plan Your Night Out Ahead of Time
Get to Know Your Destinations
Impromptu outings can be heaps of fun, and if you know your stuff, you can ensure that even they give you the best possible value for money.
Whether you’re thinking of visiting museums and galleries, attending concerts, or dining out, most places will have special days with reduced rates that are worth investigating.
They’re almost sure to have websites where these attractive offers are featured, or they’ll have social media pages where they try to create a buzz around special events.
Part of that buzz could include discounts and freebies, so keep your finger on the pulse and be in the know.
Use Coupon Sites for Restaurant Bargains
Good restaurants are eager to get patrons through the door for the very first time. After that, they count on great food and service to keep diners coming back.
As a result, offering coupons is a time-honored strategy that restaurants use in their marketing.
In the old days, they used to do mailbox drops, but these days, you can get discount coupons online. Check out coupon websites like Dontpayfull.com.
Use Your Social Media to Get an Edge
If you’re in your home city, you’ll already know which restaurants interest you, but when you’re traveling you can easily discover the best places to eat by asking around, looking online or asking questions on TripAdvisor.
Even if you only do so temporarily, it’s worth following a top restaurant’s social media pages. You’ll get regular updates about what’s cooking for a reduced price.
Local community social media pages are also of interest. Find out what locals are saying and what activities they recommend.
You may even hear about free festivals and activities you’d like to join.
- Buy the Community Newspaper
Most communities will have a little newspaper that doesn’t deal with world events or national news. Instead, it covers local information only and that little paper (usually published weekly) could be your key to saving when going out.
Once again, you’re looking for affordable, cheap, or free activities as well as any discounts or special offers advertised. Joining community activities is a great way to make friends.
Use the opportunity to learn more about your destination and its people than the average tourist does.
See Related: How to Move on a Budget
Try Something New for Your Night Out
Support Up-And-Coming Artists
Maybe local theatre and music productions won’t have big budgets, but you may be surprised at the amount of talent that’s waiting in the wings. Find out about local amateur productions.
Sure, the local amateur performing arts troupe isn’t Broadway, but you won’t lack entertainment.
If you live near a university or college that offers music or performing arts studies, you might be in luck and see tomorrow’s stars in action for next-to-nothing, or even for free.
Find out about on-campus events and performances. College students know how to have fun on a budget.
Being unconventional is fun and it can save you money. Of course, it’s lovely to sip champagne in a smart restaurant, but sparkling wine out of plastic glasses on the beach by moonlight could make for a more memorable outing.
A restaurant with a floor show offers a polished experience, but street food and a tour through districts where buskers gather are far more adventurous. If you’re looking for a more extensive list, check this top of 100+ money saving ideas.
If you and your partner share specific interests, you should definitely find out whether there are free talks or events that will suit you. You may even discover new interests in the process.
For example, most museums and libraries feature lectures, readings, and cultural events from time to time. They’re rarely expensive and they’ll give you a night out with a difference.
Save on Food and Drinks… Focus on Experiences
Be Aware of Lock-In Tactics
Going out sometimes means placing ourselves in the hands of people who will overcharge us simply because there’s no competition. The sinful prices charged for popcorn at movies are a great example.
Admittedly, movie popcorn is hardly likely to break the bank but beware of resorts that charge steep prices for fairly standard food and beverages.
A week or two’s holiday could end up costing you much more than you expected.
However, unless you’re in a very isolated place, you should be able to escape for more reasonably priced dining and a little snack shopping at a convenience store elsewhere.
Do you invariably end up leaving half your food on the plate after a restaurant meal? Sure, you can save it for next time you’re hungry, but will you even want it then?
There’s nothing to stop smaller eaters from teaming up, and most restaurants won’t mind providing an extra plate and a set of cutlery.
Eat at Home Before Going Out or Pack a Picnic
Although dining is probably the most conventional thing to do when you’re going out, there’s no rule that says an outing must include a restaurant meal. Have fun creating your own dinner together before heading out on the town.
If you’re hoping to use these tips next time you’re traveling, remember to factor in meal costs when comparing self-catering versus hotel prices.
Fixing your own food gives you access to a greater variety of foods you love while saving you money.
Picnics are another great way to enjoy the atmosphere of the world’s most beautiful cities on the cheap, and once again, creativity is the key.
For example, you don’t have to go to a park to picnic if you happen to have found a city square or even a rooftop view to use as a setting.
See Related: 5 Money Mistakes to Avoid in Your 20’s
Get Around for Less
Don’t Take Taxis
This is one of the most standard ways to save money on a night out. Do stay safe and never drink and drive. In most cities, mainstream taxis are the most expensive way to get from A to B, and in some, drivers are quite capable of overcharging foreigners who don’t know what fares should cost.
Uber offers an alternative, but if there is a good public transport network in your area, even that may be an unnecessary expense.
In many European cities, for example, it’s perfectly possible (and fun) to get within walking distance of almost anything using public rail transport. If you can walk to your destination, even better!
Conclusion on Going Out on a Budget
Just because you’re hoping to go out for less doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. And if you needed any other affirmation, you’ll be pleased with yourself when you think what a standard night out could have cost you if you hadn’t used your smarts.
Saving and living frugally so that we can achieve our dreams can be fun. Remember to have fun and savor the moment too.
Fortunately, going out doesn’t have to be a budget-breaker. Stay motivated with our financial plan by bookmarking these financial planning quotes.
Do you have any favorite ways for going out on a budget? Let us know in the comments below.
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