17 simple ways to save money on a night out

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By in Lifestyle. Updated August 2016.

Partying like there’s no 9am lecture tomorrow can be a big part of uni life, but it can leave a hefty hole in your wallet. But you can cut the costs & still live it up! 
Cheap-night-outIt’s not uncommon for students to spend a mammoth £50 per week on alcohol, even reaching the dizzy heights of £100+ if you’re having a heavy few days.

This obviously leaves less money to pay the bills or buy essentials like food. But don’t despair, there are ways you can make your nights out cheaper.

We’ve knocked our heads together over a whiskey, or three, to come up with our top tips on saving money while partying and even if you’ve seen a few of these ideas before it’s well worth a re-cap!

Note: We acknowledge that lots of students do drink and spend a lot of money on nights out. This guide is about saving money and we encourage you to drink responsibly.

Top tips for cutting the cost of a night out

  1. Have pre-drinks

    Pre DrinkingIf you’re going to go out drinking it makes sense to start your night at home, even if you’re only drinking orange juice (gotta get that vit. C after all).

    You should probably know by now that it’s easy and cheap to buy supermarkets’ own brand products; at £10 for Sainsbury’s vodka and a mere 60p for own branded cola, you can’t go wrong!

    The theory here is that you won’t need to buy as many drinks whilst you’re out, which can often be five or even six times the price.

    Psssst! Here’s our top pre drinking tips including games & cocktails.

  2. Stock up on carbs early

    CarbicideHands up if you’re guilty of the ‘drunk munchies’? Buying that kebab after a night out might seem like a good idea at the time, but your bank account won’t thank you for it (and neither will your toilet stomach the morning after).

    Before hitting the tiles make sure to eat a large meal, preferably packed with carbs, so that you don’t need to pig out on expensive take away food later. It’s always a bad idea to drink on an empty stomach anyway, so eat up!

    Avoiding grabbing a take away whilst drunk is a true test of your resolve and not for the faint-hearted…

  3. … or have them pre-prepared for your return

    Drunk-foodIf you can’t face a night out without a carb-filled treat at the end, then have some munchies prepared for when you get home.

    No one wants to be that dude setting off the fire alarm at 3am so have food pre-cooked and ready, whether it’s crisps, pasta or something totally weird and zany.

  4. Hit the club early

    moveslikejaggerdogWe know we mentioned pre-drinking earlier but bear with us on this one.

    Sometimes, getting to your destination early can have all sorts of wondrous benefits, most of all escaping extortionate entry fees and dodging queues in the freezing cold. And you get to say it was your sick moves that started the party, yo.

    Entry prices tend to go up at around 11pm and many clubs offer free or reduced entry before that time.

    Don’t want to turn up early? See tip 5 below 😉

  5. Act like a celeb

    beyonceIf you don’t fancy getting there early, try and get yourself on the guest list. Most clubs will have a Facebook page or a Twitter account – who doesn’t nowadays? – and generally, all you need to do is send them a quick message and they’ll sort you out.

    Don’t forget that club night organisers are people too. If they are being tricky then you might be able to cut a deal by promising to bring a certain amount of people to the front door.

    This doesn’t mean to say you can start trying to dance like Beyonce too though (unless you can pull it off of course).

  6. Set a budget

    osbourneWhile budget has a tendency to be branded as a dirty word (no thanks to the man above), it really is a good idea to set a limit on how much you are going to spend that night and stick to it. Sorry for sounding like your parents here.

    At your student union there should be lots of cheap drink deals and if not, you really need to get a better student union!

  7. Remember, rounds waste pounds

    Buying-roundsHowever ‘pally’ you want to appear, don’t get pulled into buying rounds, especially if you’re out in large group. You don’t have a bottomless purse/wallet full of money and if you do, you don’t really need this guide.

    Yes, it might seem a friendly thing to do but it rarely works out fairly and often forces you into buying drinks you don’t even want. Not to mention that trying to work out the maths and logistics while half way to inebriation is not easy.

    Trust us and say no to rounds!

  8. Ditch the cards

    homercardEver looked at your bank balance the morning after and had the shock of your life? Taking your debit or credit card out with you is never a good idea as it’s so easy to lose track of how much you’ve spent.

    Do yourself a favour and leave it at home, we promise it won’t be lonely.

  9. Use free ATMs

    ATMDespite the handy tip above, some students will still insist on taking their card out with them.

    If you do start to run low and need to get some money out, whatever you do, DON’T use club ATMs. In most clubs they will charge an average of £2 to make a withdrawal.

    Find somewhere free you can get your cash out beforehand; pretty much every high street since the dawn of time will have a row of ATMs.

  10. Pick an unusual day

    blackfridayContrary to whatever Ms Black tells you, Friday isn’t the only day you can get down to boogie.

    Especially in student towns there will be the option to go out pretty much every night of the week, and the chances are it’ll be cheaper on a Monday than it will be on Friday.

  11. Split taxis (if you must use them)

    yellllllowtaxiBefore we get into this tip you really need to ask yourself if you must take a taxi. We know the bus takes longer and won’t take you right to your door but it’ll be a fraction of the price (not forgetting that you can get involved in some bus shenanigans too).

    If you do take a taxi, make sure to all start your night from a common meeting point. Sharing the cost of taxis, if there’s a large group of you, can cut the cost and despite what we said above, possibly even be cheaper than catching the bus.

    Walking will eliminate travel expenses altogether, especially if the place you’re heading to is relatively close, so get your trainers on!

  12. Look out for offers

    pitchersWhy not buy a pitcher of cocktails rather than getting individual ones? At Wetherspoons, for example, single cocktails cost roughly £4 but a pitcher is only £7, it’s a no brainer.

    Also, rather than buying bottled beer, get the beer which is on tap as it’s so much cheaper.

    Watch out for ‘trick’ offers though as sometimes you won’t always be getting the best deal. Those cheeky bar stewards…

  13. Double up

    Double-upIt can be annoying to be asked to double up every time you go to the bar, but if you’re planning on having two anyway, why not get a double instead?

    You’ll be getting the same amount of booze you would have done before, just in one go and cheaper. That’s not an excuse to buy another one though.

  14. Alternate with water

    singingintherainFor every alcoholic drink you have, get a glass of tap water too. It’ll give your liver a break and there is less chance you’ll wake up with a cracking headache.

    Oh, and let’s not forget the best part, tap water is F.R.E.E!

    Basically, the idea behind this one is that the water will quench your thirst and fill you up quicker meaning no more room for alcohol.

  15. Make some friends

    friends-drinkingYou came to university to make friends, so why not use those skills to make friends with people that matter.

    And, by people that matter we mean people that work at your hang out of choice. Managers, bar staff, bouncers… All might drop you a freebie or two if you are nice enough!

  16. Host a party

    House-partyCan’t afford to go out? No problem, just throw a house party and ask everyone to bring their own alcohol.

    Or if you are in university halls, throw a block/flat party and get to know your neighbours a little better. You’ll be living with them for the rest of the year (whether you like it or not) so invite them over for a few drinks and get chatting.

  17. Stay at home

    home aloneIf you don’t have the dollar, just don’t go out. Simples. The whole point is to have fun with your friends anyway and this can easily be achieved in other ways.

    Why not have a movie night instead?  Grab some popcorn, snuggle under the duvet with your housemates and do some good, old fashioned, sober bonding.

Got any wicked tips we’ve missed out on? You can totally send them our way in the comments section below…

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