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3 Ways to Have a Frugal Night Out

9382267192_03112afffc_zUntil I pay off my debt, I’m living on a pretty strict budget. I do allow myself a bit of “fun money” each month for entertainment and the like, but it’s very limited. If I were to continue to have nights out with my friends that were the same as before I started living on a budget, my “fun money” wouldn’t get me very far at all. Instead, I’ve had to get creative so I can have maximum fun on minimum money. With that in mind, I thought I’d share some of my tips to have a frugal night out that doesn’t sacrifice on fun. 🙂

Staying Home Is A Great Way To Be Frugal

One of the easiest ways to save on a night out with friends is to have a night in instead. Take turns hosting a girl’s or boy’s night in at each other’s houses. Switching up the location will make it more interesting and by taking turns hosting, each person will have their own turn to plan and cover the expenses of the evening.

You could start off with dinner, or to keep costs even lower, you could meet up after dinner instead. Activities for a night in could be: snacks and a movie or game, giving each other facials or pedicures, cracking open a bottle of wine or having a beer while catching up, or having a themed potluck dinner.

Delay the Start Time

If you really want to go out for your entertainment, start the evening later after everyone’s had dinner. As mentioned before, the cost of your evening will be greatly lessened if you don’t have to pay for dinner. Eat at home before meeting up for drinks and dessert or drinks with an appetizer instead. That’s also not to mention the fact that you might find that you don’t even want to eat while out and thus cutting your cost even more.

Look for Deals

Lots of bar and grill type restaurants have late night happy hour deals that typically begin around 9 or 10 p.m. These deals can usually get you a cheaper drink, as long as you stick to the somewhat limited happy hour menu, and possibly a half-priced appetizer too. This is a great way to spend time catching up with friends while still saving some money.

If you’d like to meet up with friends earlier or go out right after work, you should be able to hit a regular happy hour instead. These earlier happy hours will also have cheaper drinks and sometimes snack type foods that can hold you over until you make it home for dinner, and in some cases the snack food portions can even be big enough that you don’t need dinner after all. Just don’t get in the habit of skipping dinner in favor of these usually unhealthy snacks.

Keeping these tips in mind, there’s no reason why you can’t have an occasional night out with friends, even if you are living on a strict budget to help you meet your financial goals. Meeting your financial goals and sticking to your budget is important, but you can’t live indefinitely with no entertainment budget. The key is to set your entertainment budget at a level you are comfortable with, and make sure you make the most of your limited resources as much as you can.

 

What other tips do you have to have a frugal, yet still fun night out? What do you use to find deals on entertainment?

 

 

Photo courtesy of: Greg Westfall

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Kayla is a mid-20s single girl living in the Midwest, USA. She is focused on paying off her consumer and student loans, while simplifying her life and closet. You can join her on her journey at ShoeaholicNoMore or follow her on Twitter.

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16 comments

  1. Staying at home and delaying the start time! Definitely the way to go!

  2. My friends and I usually rotate dinner nights. We will go to one couples house for dinner (they make it) and then we play board games. The following month, another couple will host. It’s a great way to keep in touch with everyone and to save money too.

  3. Our biggest expense when we go out is just hiring a babysitter. $6 or $7/hour adds up, especially since it is in addition to whatever we spend on our date. Needless to say, we just don’t do it that often. Most of our friends nearby have kids, so we do get together with them a lot and just let all of the kids play.

    • Honestly, I kind of forgot about that expense since I don’t have kids. I could see how that would make a night out very expensive very quickly. Glad you can let the kids play togheter sometimes when you get together with friends who also have kids. Maybe for another alternative your kids could hang with your friends and their kids so you could have a date night? Then you could offer to do the same for your friends when they want to have a night out sans kids. Just a thought 🙂

  4. My wife and I are getting pretty good at frugal nights out. We have dates where we challenge our selves to spend as little as possible. And it ends up feeling like the funnest dates are the least expensive. Most things that cost money (movies, amusement parks, etc) are not very interactive. Free museums and long walks are better you a relationship and they can be much cheaper or free!

  5. We have become big fans of finding happy hours. So if we can work our schedules out, we go earlier instead of later. We also really enjoy staying in, especially when the weather is cold, so we save money in the winter.

  6. I’m all about happy hours, and luckily my friends are too. That’s actually what we are doing tonight. Probably won’t spend more than $10 or $15 for hours of fun.

  7. Delaying the start time is a good tip. I do this myself too. If friends are going for an expensive dinner then I’ll usually say I have plans but will meet them after for drinks. Then you can avoid the majority of the expense but still have a great time.

  8. Staying at home is definitely my number one answer. 🙂 And also if ever my friends decided to eat out at an expensive restaurant so delaying the start time is my way to stay frugal.

    • I try to stay home most of the time too, but I don’t want to always miss out on hanging out with friends. You can only say “no” so many times before they quit inviting you out with them, ya know?

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