10 Tips On Enjoying A Night Out For Less

While there are quite a few fun and frugal things you can do at home, there are times when you just need to get out of the house to see friends, catch a movie or just have a dinner that you didn’t have to cook yourself.  Those occasional nights out don’t have to cost you an arm and leg, however, if you’re careful about your spending.

Here are ten tips to help you enjoy going out as a couple without having to break the bank:

  1. Avoid the extras. Often, the larger cost of a night out is all the little things.  For instance, you can shave a few dollars off of your bill by sticking to water instead of ordering a soda or not ordering those extra toppings even if you really want them.
  2. Use coupons. There is no shame in using coupons.  After all, many businesses send them out as a way to get you to come in in the first place.  If they offer you a great deal on a place you want to go use them to their fullest potential.
  3. Share. If you’re just heading out for a quick bite at a fast food place sharing a drink can help cut costs while dividing up a huge entrée at a sit-down restaurant can cut back even further.
  4. Take advantage of community events. In most communities there are numerous events, especially in the warmer seasons, that are free or every low cost to attend and can be quite a bit of fun or at least a great way to enjoy the weather.
  5. Just enjoy the great outdoors. If you and your significant other are outdoors types then take advantage of the world around for a night out.  Go for a walk along a lake, take a hike and have a picnic or simply sit outside and enjoy the sound of silence.
  6. Buy gift cards. Sites like Restaurant.com often offer really great deals on gift cards that can take your dollars a lot further.  Most gift cards on the site offer $25 of food for only $10, but some deals are even better.
  7. Go on discount nights. Most restaurants and bars and some movie theaters have nights when things are cheaper or on special.  It might not be ideal to go out on a Wednesday, but you’ll be able to have more fun for less.
  8. Take it to go. Eating in a restaurant can sometimes be quite a bit more than taking it to go.  So, call ahead, get your food and take it to a scenic spot to dine instead.
  9. Plan ahead. Often, it’s the last minute nature of nights out that leads to a lot of unexpected costs in cabs, lack of coupons and other small expenses.  If you want to go out, know where and when you’re going so you can plan to save.
  10. Ask friends and family to babysit. If you have kids at home then you know how much it can add to an evening to have to pay a babysitter to watch your kids while you’re gone.  See if a family member wouldn’t mind taking them for an evening instead. Your kids can build their relationships with loved ones and you’ll get a night to yourself.

What ideas do you have to save on a night out?

This post was contributed by Rose Jensen, who writes about the online degree program.  She welcomes your feedback at Rose.Jensen28@ yahoo.com

photo credit: * etoile

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Published or updated March 28, 2013.

Comments

  1. Great tips! However, do you really have to go out at night? I understand that in some cases (with work, etc.), it is necessary. But my husband and I like to go out during the day. We visit local events (which are less crowded during the day), and get lunch (which is less expensive than dinner). And since our son is school, we don’t have to pay for a babysitter.
    .-= Miranda´s last blog ..Alternative Ways to Donate in a Recession =-.

    • During the day is a great option but as you mentioned work tends to get in the way for most people. Of course you could apply many of these to a weekend day too.

  2. Always look for deals but on the weekends you most likely won’t find any. Try doing a mix of things like dinner then go for a walk. Get the best of both and it’s cheaper.

  3. These are awesome tips. Thanks.

  4. You forgot to list “don’t buy others drink”. While it’s definitely generous and necessary to offer drinks to others when you have a night out, over-doing it will quickly dissipate your wallet.
    .-= Hiro´s last blog ..Joe Donahue Interview with MissTrade =-.

  5. I use my local websites like Yelp to find out whats happening in my city and where the deals are. I definitely agree with planning ahead and taking advantage of discount days. Most free papers are great for finding deals as well. My best tip to save on a night out? Since you asked, my company happens to be giving away iPhones. They want to know why YOU save and invest. You can check it out here: http://www.fabeetle.com/giveaway

  6. In Pa., we have BYOB restaurants which really help save on costs. If we each have a drink or two at the end of a long week, that can be $25 at a restaurant, while we can bring a great bottle of wine for $10 with us. We also, like you advise, share and when possible, and avoid extras. The portions are so huge at most dining establishments, simply splitting a couple of appetizers, or an app and an entree, more than fills my husband and me.
    With friends and family, we often take turn cooking and pitch in with bringing items; with a little planning you can stay in and save bundles–in a more relaxed, intimate environment, too.

    • BYOB places are great! There’s such a ridiculous markup for drinks at restaurants. At a BYOB joint you can go to Trader Joe’s and pickup a bottle of their $3 wine which would be cheaper than a soda at some places.

  7. Those are some great tips. However, lots of restaurants charge extra if you’re going to share a plate. It may not be as much as it would ordering two entree’s but it can get close at times.

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