16 simple ways to save money on a night out
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 and still live it up!
It's not uncommon for students to spend upwards of £50 per week on going out, but let's face it – partying is just a necessary part of student life and drinks aren't getting any cheaper.
This inevitably leaves you with less money to pay the bills or feed yourself, 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 share our all-time top tips on saving money while partying at uni.
Top tips for cutting the cost of a night out
If you're going to go out drinking, it makes sense to start your night at home. The theory here is that you won't need to buy as many drinks while you're out, which can often be five or even six times the price.
You probably know by now that it's much cheaper to buy supermarket own-brand products, and you won't even notice the difference between these and well-known brands (apart from the price).
A 700ml bottle of Smirnoff will set you back around £15, but an equivalent bottle of Tesco's own-brand vodka will only cost you a tenner! No-brainer, really, especially if you're mixing it with something else anyway.
Psssst! Here are our top pre drinking tips including games & cocktails.
Stock up on carbs in advance
Hands up if you're guilty of the drunken 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
toiletstomach the morning after).
Before hitting the tiles, make sure you eat a proper meal, preferably packed with carbs, so 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!
… or have them ready for your return
If you can't face a night out without a carb-filled treat at the end, have some munchies prepared for when you get home.
No one wants to be that guy setting off the fire alarm making pizza at 3am, so have your food pre-cooked and ready to eat (cold pizza comes highly recommended here).
At this point, it's also worth getting supplies in advance for the next day's cures too – here's exactly what you'll need!
Hit the club early
We 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? Well this next tip's for you.
Act like a celeb
If you don't fancy getting there early, try and get yourself on the guest list.
Have a look at the Facebook page or Twitter account of the club organisers and try buttering them up with a DM telling them how much you love their nights, and that you're hoping to bring a crew of friends down (i.e. promise of a busy dance floor and more cash in their pockets in the long-run).
More often than not, they'll sort you out!
Set a party budget
Ok, so the word ‘budget' has kinda gross connotations these days (no thanks to the man above). But it really is a good idea to set a limit on how much you're going to spend that night and stick to it (sorry for sounding like your parents here).
A good option to try is taking out a prepaid card with you, topped up with your spending money on it. Nowadays, these cards come with an app that will remind you throughout the night how much you've spent at the bar and how close you are to hitting your maximum (and so when it's time to hit the road).
Remember – rounds waste pounds!
However much you wanna be the good guy, don't get pulled into buying full rounds of drinks, especially if you're out in large group. You can't afford to party like you're in Made in Chelsea, and if you can, what are you doing reading this guide?
Treating your mates to a round might seem like a nice thing to do, but it rarely works out fairly and often forces you into buying booze when you don't even want any more to drink.
If you do get roped into rounds, why not use this opportunity to save cash (and give your liver a break) by getting yourself a soft drink this time round (whatever it is, ask for a slice of lime in it and no one will even know the difference!).
Ditch the credit cards
Ever 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 (as mentioned above, this is where prepaids come in handy!).
Do yourself a favour and leave the credit cards at home – we promise they won't get lonely.
Use free ATMs
Taking out a cash budget with you for the evening can also be a good trick to keeping an eye on your spending.
However, whatever you do DON'T use club ATMs. These machines are normally rented out by money-grabbers and will charge several pounds just to withdraw your own money.
Make sure you think ahead and take cash out at a free ATM before you start your night! And if you're not sure where to find one, check out this handy ATM locator tool.
Contrary to whatever Ms Black tells you, Friday isn't the only day you can get down to boogie.
The beauty of student nightlife is that the best parties are normally happening mid-week, and everything tends to be cheaper on week nights rather than weekends.
There's normally a fair few drink promos going on during off-peak party nights too –us bonus!
Split taxis (or ditch 'em)
Taxis are always going to be the safest option, but unfortunately they're not the cheapest.
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, share the cost with your mates – if there's a large group of you, it can even work out cheaper than catching the bus. If you're travelling alone and you're put off by the cost of a solo taxi, uberPOOL it, or use a code to get up to £10 off!
Look out for offers
It may look a bit excessive, but a cocktail pitcher will often work out cheaper than individual drinks. At Wetherspoons, for example, single cocktails cost roughly £5 but a pitcher is only £9!
Also, rather than buying bottled beer, get the beer on tap as it's so much cheaper.
Loads of bars also do drinks promotions, so it's worth keeping an eye out for those in the drinks section of our student deals page.
Alternate with water
For every alcoholic drink you have, get a glass of tap water too. It'll give your liver a break and there's 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.
Make friends with bar staff
You came to university to make friends, so why not use those skills to make friends with people who really matter?
By this, we mean people who work at your venue of choice. Managers, bar staff, bouncers… they can all bag you a freebie or two if you're nice enough!
Host a party
Can't afford to go out? No problem, just throw a house party and ask everyone to bring their own booze.
If you're in uni halls, throw a block/flat party under the pretence of getting to know your neighbours better (again, we jest – it actually is nice to meet your neighbours!).
You'll be living with them for the rest of the year (whether you like it or not) so it's worth getting to know them over a drink or two (that they paid for).
Stay at home
If you don't have the dollar, just don't go out – simple as that! Essentially the point is to have fun with your friends, and you don't need to be up in da club to do that.
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.
Now you've got that bit covered, here's how you can get prepped for the hangover too – you'll thank us later!
Got any pro tips we've missed out on? Send them our way in the comments section below!