(BIG DISCLAIMER: Please be safe whenever you are drinking! Don't drink & drive, and don't let friends do it either. Don't go gallivanting around town by yourself. Never put your safety at jeopardy just because you wanted to save a few bucks)
It can be tough when you want to join your friends for nights of drunken debauchery BUT you also want to be smart with your money. What do you do? Be lame and stay in, or go out with your friends but feel guilty every time you swipe your credit card?
Good news! It is totally possible to go out without breaking the bank! I'll teach you how :)
As with many situations, before you go out, you need to do a little self-reflection: Ask yourself WHY you want to go out.
- Is it because you just want to let loose and have a few drinks?
- Is it because you want to hang out with your friends?
- Is it because your friends are guilting you into going out? (this is a non-ideal situation, but its one I've found myself in a few times, so I want to address it too!)
Possibility 1: You want to drink.
If your priority is to let loose and have a few drinks- that's totally cool! In this case, your easiest money saving step is to pregame! (PS- want to see an old-school SMIYT post? check it out here: I talk about my love for pregaming!) If you pregame, you'll only need to buy one or two drinks at the bar and can still have a night full of shenanigans ;)
Another way to save a few bucks is to ask the bartender if there are any specials- sometimes you can score a really good deal on a drink special!
Tip: at the bar, avoid any friends offering to buy you a drink. Then you'll feel guilty and think that you should buy a round in return, even if you (or he/she!) don't need another one.
Possibility 2: You don't care about drinking, you just want to hang out with your friends
In this case, you can get a big 'ol water (okay, or soda if you must) and save yourself a WHOLE BUNCH of money! Yes, I've gone out to bars and just gotten water... it's slightly awkward but you'll be majorly winning: saving money AND getting hydrated!
Tip: need excuses for why you aren't drinking? (and your friends won't accept "I'm trying to save money"?) You can say.... you drank the night before so you're not feeling it, you're driving home, you're on a diet, you have a hard workout in the morning, you're having brunch with your grandma and don't want to be hungover, you are joining a friend on a 30-day no alcohol challenge, etc.
Possibility 3: You don't really want to drink, but your friends are guilting you into going out
In this case, I would recommend just getting one drink and nursing it all night. When you do finish that drink, hold onto it (if it's a bottle or can, no one will know it's empty!) or get a water. I find that if I have nothing in my hands, people ALWAYS notice and ask why I haven't gotten another drink-- or worse yet, they offer to buy me another one.
Another option to trick people into thinking you are drinking is to fill your empty beer can / bottle up with water in the bathroom and pretend it's a new drink ;) (I've never done this at a bar, haha, only at house parties... but it would still work!)
Tip: Try to get one of the cheapest drinks possible-- your friends (probably) don't care if you get a fancy $12 martini or a $4 beer. You're still "going out" with them and that's (hopefully) all they care about!
Oh, and watch out for drunk munchies:
Two of my friends once spent $40 at MCDONALDS after a night of drinking. (yeah-- ridic) So be careful of that! If your friends go get food afterwards, either don't get anything or get something small. Remember your priorities: was your priority to get snacks at 2am or was it to see your friends? Don't spend money on things that you don't prioritize!