I have been wanting to write this post for a long time as so many of my friends complain about how expensive it can be to go out. But it doesn’t have to be – read on to find out how to go out without walking out on your budget.
Disclaimer: Please, please take these tips as suggestions and don’t do anything you don’t feel comfortable with or doesn’t work for you. Stay within your limit, listen to your own body and don’t feel pressured to do anything you don’t want to do or think is unsafe.
Bar prices can be outrageous especially when they’re serving about a thimble-full (if that) of alcohol in a mixed drink. If you’re looking to have more than one drink, have a couple with your friends before going out.
Some of my tried and true:
- Dasani drops w/water + 1-2 oz. vodka – you can make the juice strong enough that you can’t taste the vodka. No sugar can often mean no hangover (ftw). Drops are also easy to bring with you instead of lugging around a giant bottle of chase. I like pink lemonade or peach mango.
- Wine – a bottle can be as little $9 and is definitely more than enough for a night out
- Don’t buy drinks at the bar if possible
Drinks can be so over-priced and if you’re going to a club, you generally have to pay cover anyway. For a sit down place, try and stick to ordering just one drink – domestic beer on draft tends to be the cheapest or a single-shot mixed drink like a rum and coke, vodka soda, or gin and tonic.
- Pick a bar close to your house
Being able to walk is key to not spending a ton on a night out. If you do have to cab, picking a closer spot will still cut the cab fare.
- Wear an across-the-body purse
This is more to avoid costs later. I don’t know how many of my friends have set down a clutch or a phone and lost it. Having an across-the-body purse lets you forget about it and can store more than a clutch. Put your phone directly back in after you use it – never set it down.
- Take the bus there/ back if possible
Buses tend not to run past midnight depending on where you live, but it is definitely much cheaper to take at least on the way there as opposed to a cab.
- Walk home
Preferably walk in groups. Bring leggings in your bag if you’re wearing a skirt to put on for the walk home. Make sure you’re dressed warm enough for the time of year.
- Avoid coat check if possible
In the fall, putting a cardigan in your bag to walk home is plenty warm. In the winter wear a jacket you wouldn’t be too sad to lose, leave it in a booth or hang it off your purse.
- Bring cash
These days people often use cards and don’t carry much, if any, cash. Don’t fall victim to massive ATM fees at the bar. Withdraw money at your own bank and avoid paying pesky fees. $20-$40 will do – small bills can be more convenient.
- Don’t buy food afterwards
Have a snack ready for you to eat at home if you know you’ll be hungry. Cheese and crackers, microwave nacho chips with grated cheese on top, heat up some leftover pasta. I like to whip up a quick box of white mac and cheese with 1/2 cup of milk and 60 g of cheese (about 6 cm of a block of cheese) – seriously most delicious thing ever.
- Set up a hangover station on your bedside table for the next morning
2 bottles of water or Gatorade, Advil (ibuprofen) – do not take the night before or if you still feel buzzed in the morning, Pepto Bismol/ Gravol, crackers to ease an upset stomach. Only take what you feel you need and avoid Advil if possible.
- Treat hangover symptoms
- Hangover headaches/ diarrhea – due to dehydration. Drink lots of water, preferably a sports drink like Gatorade or water with Gatorade crystals to replenish your electrolytes (salts in your blood). If your electrolytes are depleted, water won’t be enough to rehydrate you.
- Nausea – due to increased stomach acid, produced to digest alcohol, which is now irritating your stomach lining and making you feel sick. Best way to treat this is by coating your stomach wall. Ideally have something to eat – mac and cheese works well as it’s milk base will coat your stomach. Alternatively, Pepto Bismol.
- Be safe
- Don’t walk home if you think you can’t make it, don’t end up passed out especially not in the winter.
- Go easier than you think you should with drinking. No one is impressed by how much someone can drink. And they definitely aren’t impressed when that someone ends up getting sick and/or acting belligerent. Don’t try to keep up with the boys. Listen to your own body and what you feel like doing, don’t ever let anyone pressure you into drinking more than you’d like.
- Be mindful of what kind of event you are going to. Often 1-2 drinks for anything casual/ sit down is more than enough.
- If you’re worried your friend has had too much and they need medical attention, don’t hesitate to call 911. You will be so sorry if you don’t and should have.
Let me know your best tips for going out on a budget.
Happy partying and be safe!
photo credit: Grogwatch