Deejay Mash has worked in the entertainment industry for over 20 years. He is also a consultant, event planner, writer, and researcher.
Benefits of a night out
If planned and implemented well, a night out has immense benefits to the body, mind and soul. Research shows that those once-in-a-while nights out can boost confidence levels through socializing, bring down stress, anxiety levels and allow you to explore a whole new world; outside your comfort zone. The result? It leaves you feeling refreshed, focused and rejuvenated. This is in addition to giving you an entirely new perspective on life, thanks to the diverse people and experiences you encounter.
However, one of the greatest challenges remains how to go on a night out, and at the same time, avoid burning a hole in your pocket. Very few party goers can hack this; it eludes even the most experienced bunch.
On average, according to studies, most people spend around $81 on a night out, which is a conservative figure. A majority spend more- up to two or three times that amount!
A huge chunk of expenses goes to tickets, drinks, food and transport to and from the party venue.
There are a lot of ways to considerably bring down your night out budget without compromising on quality.
Here are a few hacks to help you achieve those elusive cost-cutting measures:
Buy advance tickets
Advance tickets to concerts or club events come at highly discounted rates, compared to buying them on D-day. If you are going out with a group of friends, the better; purchasing tickets in bulk is far much cheaper. You will save a considerable amount of cash, and probably even land a few complimentary tickets for some of your buddies to go in free. Which translates to huge savings.
This also means, you need to plan early. Immediately an event or concert that tickles your fancy is advertised, grab your tickets. If it is a popular show with the potential of being sold-out within the first few days, the ticket prices will most probably sky-rocket. There are also people who buy tickets in bulk, hoard them and then sell for a profit later. So either way, ticket prices will definitely go up by huge margins.
Stay vigilant, keep your eyes open and ears on the ground for your favorite concerts and events, and snap up your tickets immediately they go on sale. Some events open ticket sales upto a year in advance. Take advantage of such offers and watch your night out costs reduce tremendously.
Go Dutch on transport
Going out with friends can work in two ways- inflate your bills, if you have broke friends, or bring them down through cost-sharing. Unless one of your friend's sacrifices to abstain from drinking to play the part of the designated driver, transport costs are inevitable. Another scenario where you can avoid transport costs altogether, is if the party venue is a short and safe walking distance away from home.
A great way to ride cheaply is by using cab hailing apps like Uber, which has a fare sharing feature, where the total amount is evenly divided automatically among the number of friends present. Even if you are flying solo, select the Uber pool feature. It informs the driver you intend to pick up friends along the way. The fare split feature is activated, and whether you actually pick up friends or not, you still end up paying a lower rate.
Alternatively, you can opt to use public transport - the train or bus if available.
Never attempt to drive after a night out, unless, you did not touch alcohol. It rarely ends well.
Eat well before leaving
Eat a carbohydrate-rich diet before stepping out. Carbs act as fuel for the energy packed night ahead. Snacks and restaurant food do not come cheap especially at night. It is also extremely difficult to find healthy food in the wee hours of the morning. Cooking your own food is cheaper, healthier and allows you to save some for later, which will come in handy.
Also, have a few drinks before you leave the house; it reduces your drinking budget considerably. When you finally get to the club or concert, if possible, drink beer; it's cheaper. Or if you're not a beer person and in the company of friends, pool your resources together and buy full bottles of brandy, whiskey, vodka or whatever poison you unanimously agree on, and share. Avoid shots, cocktails and fancy drinks like the plaque, they are extremely expensive. Your bank account will thank you later.
Never buy rounds unless you harbor political ambitions and you have just hit the campaign trail; or won the jackpot. Contributing for drinks with friends is the cheaper option.
It is also wise to have a fixed budget for drinks, preferably in cash. Stick to it religiously. Once it runs out, head home; resist the urge to make a dash for the nearest ATM.
Most clubs have off-peak nights when business is slow. To attract revelers, they often offer food and drinks at rock-bottom prices. This is an ideal time to party and cut costs. Student or campus themed nights also come with great discounts. But if you still insist on going out on a weekend, hit the club early. Most clubs have 'happy hour' where specific drinks are sold at a discount for a certain duration. You can buy your entire night's stock of drinks during this time and save loads of cash.
Regularly check out the numerous online sites and apps that have information on events,concerts, clubs, deals and various offers; such as nightlife, meetup.com, DrinkAdvisor, Groupon, Social Living among others. You are bound to discover a party venue with your type of crowd, music, activities and pocket-friendly as well. Consider the apps and sites as the Google maps of partying.
Fun should not come with a high price tag. With a little discipline and research, you can find an event, or a club that suits your budget. You can even opt to attend a daytime event where costs will plummet even further.
If push comes to shove, you can always organize a simple house party, where you buy pizza, and your friends come with the drinks. The possibilities are endless and just begging to be explored.
But never go out on a limp, borrow money or overburden yourself financially for a night out on the town. It's not worth the trouble.