Foolproof Tactics for a Frugal Night Out

Date posted: July 20, 2016

Photo Credit: Kevin Curtis

If you’re committed to paying off your debt, you’ve probably reduced your spending. If you’ve cut your spending, I bet you've recently had to say no to friends when they invite you to a restaurant or bar for a meal or drinks. I’ve been in this situation, and I know that saying no to quality time with friends can be tough, even if it is the best thing for your wallet.

But being financially responsible doesn’t mean you have to choose between sitting home in your apartment and spending time with friends. With a little ingenuity, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a frugal night out without breaking the bank.

I've put together a list of small tweaks you can make to your regular weekend routine. These minor changes will save you hundreds of dollars on nights out with friends, money that you can use to pay off your debt. Here are four foolproof tactics to save money on a night out with your buddies.

Pre-Drink and Pre-Eat at Home

Instead of heading out for a night on the town with an empty stomach, consider having dinner first and going out for appetizers instead. By switching from an entree to an appetizer, you'll decrease the amount of money you’ll spend on food, and you’ll still enjoy the atmosphere of a decent restaurant with friends.

Or, if you are planning to meet friends at a bar for a few drinks, have a glass or two of wine at home first. You’ll spend less on overpriced bar drinks while still enjoying yourself. Just do not drink and drive – that is never worth saving money. If I use this tactic, I always, always take public transit or a cab on my way to meet friends.

Shop the Specials

Your friends may have a favourite restaurant or bar they gather at, but consider trying out new locations that may have drink or meal specials. Shopping the specials around your city is a great way to try out new venues without spending a lot of money.

If you’re worried about coming across as a penny pincher to your friends, frame your suggestion of a change of venue as a chance to try out a new type of food or drink, which will make you seem adventurous, not cheap!

Pay with Cash

Nothing puts a stop to overspending like leaving your credit and debit cards at home. If you consistently have a problem with overspending when you go out with your friends, try setting a budget and bringing that amount with you in cash. You’ll eliminate the temptation to spend and stay on budget. Just make sure to set aside enough money for a cab ride home if you’re planning to consume alcohol. I always put a twenty dollar bill in a separate spot in my wallet, so I don't accidentally spend my cab fare.

Host a Themed Night at Home

Finally, the easiest way to have a frugal night out is to stay in. Instead of paying for the overpriced atmosphere of a bar or restaurant you can turn your home into a hot hangout.

To make your event festive, invite your friends over for a themed night. Ask a few friends to bring themed cocktails, and others to bring appetizers. Add some on-theme tunes, decorations, and games and you're ready for a great, and frugal evening.

As you learn to master your money, you'll find yourself saying no to opportunities to spend extravagantly. But tightening your purse strings doesn't mean you can't have a thriving social life, or enjoy nights out with your friends. By getting crafty and taking a few steps to mitigate the costs, you can have a fun, frugal night out.

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