9 ways to have the ultimate cheap night out
With the cost of living rising and the festive season upon us, people all over the UK will be wondering how they can enjoy a night out without breaking the bank. Nobody wants to miss out on that Christmas party just because their electricity bill has gone skyward. And nor should they!
With a few clever hacks and a little more pre-planning, we think you can still have an amazing night out on a budget. Read on for our tips and tricks to save you cash when eating, drinking and dancing the night away!
1. Go out early
If a night of clubbing is what you’re looking for, you might be tempted to head out late. But that’s exactly when the clubs start charging huge entry fees. Turn up early and you can usually get in for free or next to nothing. You might even be able to take advantage of cheaper drinks promotions, such as happy hours, before the club gets busy.
2. Try out a comedy club
If you’re in the mood for something a bit different, comedy clubs can provide an incredible night out on a serious budget. Entry charges are usually super reasonable when compared with theatre tickets, or even standard nightclub entry prices. In fact, you can sometimes see free shows in many of the UK’s best comedy clubs if you go early or on off-peak nights.
Another great thing about comedy clubs is that you might not spend as much as you usually would on food and drinks, because you will be too busy watching the comedy to spend time doing either!
3. Get a dining club card
If you like eating out often, but your income isn’t keeping up with your taste for restaurant dining, it might be worth trying out a Tastecard or similar. These cards usually offer huge discounts when dining in certain restaurant chains and can more than pay for themselves if you’re planning to dine out often. Tastecard also offers a 60-day free trial, which is a bonus.
The price then increases to either £5.99/month on a monthly basis, or £39.99 for an entire year’s membership. What’s great about Tastecard, is that it gives you either 2-for1 meals or 50% off the food on your bill, which means you only need one card per household.
4. Bring your own bottle!
When you eat out at restaurants and drink wine, the mark-up on the wine is far more than the mark-up on the food. Eating out is still good value, when you consider the overheads restaurants are dealing with these days, let alone the cost and effort involved with cooking and eating at home. However, drinking wine in restaurants can increasingly feel like an excruciating rip-off.
The solution? Find a restaurant that allows you to bring your own bottle (BYOB). Many of the restaurants that allow BYO are not licensed to serve alcohol, while others offer BYO on certain days of the week to attract wine-loving, thrifty diners through their doors. What’s really helpful is that the Wine Pages have put together a constantly evolving directory of restaurants that offer BYO, so you can find venues near you that will welcome BYO diners.
5. Ditch restaurants altogether and try a supper club
Supper clubs really are one of the most fun things to do if you’re looking for a memorable night out that’s on the cheaper side. Obviously, some cost more than others, so do your research before booking a place.
Supper clubs are often held in people’s homes or in hired venues and involve non-professional chefs cooking up a meal for a group of food-loving strangers. You can book tickets with friends, or as a couple, but you can also go along by yourself and meet some new people. Some supper clubs will run on a ‘pay what you feel it’s worth’ basis, while others will set a price for the food and you can bring your own drinks, or drinks may even be included.
6. Rent a room and throw a party
Believe it or not, throwing a party can actually be a great way to have a seriously fun night out with friends, while saving you all money. First, choose a venue that doesn't charge high prices for drinks and food, and split the room hire/party hire charge between you and the rest of the group.
This is obviously not going to work for a birthday, for example, so choose an occasion where everyone is celebrating together, such as Christmas or Halloween. If everyone chips in, you can enjoy an incredible private party that costs everyone little more than a trip to the local pub.
7. Eat and drink before you go out
It’s so easy to ‘grab some food’ when you’re on a night out and are suddenly starving because you've not eaten since lunchtime and it's now 10pm. But this is where all your money goes, so stop! Instead, if you’re the type who likes a few cocktails and tends to eat out, try going out later and eating and drinking at home first. Drinking at home is so much cheaper than the bar. And a quick stomach-lining dinner before you head out is also a no-brainer.
8. Swap your night out for a lunch out
Dining out at lunchtime can be significantly cheaper than dining out in the evening. This rule applies to everything from your local chain restaurant, to London’s most popular Michelin-star restaurant. Set lunch deals have become a mainstay of the British dining experience and those in the know make sure they make the most of the incredible deals that are available if you just swap dinner for lunch!
9. Remember to split your Uber fares
Did you know that Uber has a fare-split function? Well, it does, and this means no more being automatically lumped with the entire taxi charge just because you happened to be the person to use your app to book. The taxi app did recently change the way the function works though, and it now requires each rider to accept the fair splitting invite in their own app during the journey. If they leave it until after the ride is over, it’s too late. There’s more on how it works here.
We hope we’ve given you some inspiration on how to save cash on your night out. Whether you’re looking for a classy night out in a top restaurant to celebrate a special occasion, or just want a fun night out with friends, we think our tips should help you to enjoy a guilt-free night on the tiles to remember.
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