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Three Fun Ways to Save Money (for people who like to go out a lot)

July 10th, 2013 | Posted by JG in Saving Money

Let’s face it.  If you’re in your 20s or the early part of your 30s, hitting up Happy Hour or meeting at the bar on a weekend/weeknight is probably part of your lifestyle.  I know, I know…in a perfect world, we would regularly meet up to jog or ride our bicycles together, but for whatever reason, from Tuesday to Saturday most of the texts we receive are usually, “What’s up for tonight/tomorrow night/the weekend?” or “Hey, $2 beers today, meet me at 5:30?” or “A few of us are meeting at (random Midtown bar), you should come through!”

Don’t get me wrong, these little get-togethers are usually a lot of fun, but spending $45 (Houston)/ $55 (Dallas)/$65 (Chicago),  $105 (Shoutout to everybody in New York) on a random night of the week can really burn a hole in your pocket over time.

This post is a quick rundown of 3 tips I’ve been known to use to reduce my going-out costs, while still having a good time.

Crowded Bar


Before I get started, I’d like to encourage you all to not just skim the headings and click the X in the upper right!  It’s important to follow the logic behind the idea.

Tip #1:  Show up a little late (preferably after people have already had 1-2 rounds of drinks)

Before you all leave a message telling me that I’m rude.  Let me first say that this should only be used for larger groups.  We all find ourselves in situations where we don’t really want to go to an acquaintance’s birthday celebration or happy hour, but it’s important to at least show our face for some acceptable amount of time.   This method works for two reasons:

*  Assuming most people consume roughly the same number of drinks, showing up 1-2 drinks after everyone else allows you to save on those drinks you didn’t have to purchase

*   People are always excited to see people when they walk in, especially after they’ve had a few.  Someone will likely say “Oh my gosh, it’s so good to see you, I wasn’t sure if you were going to come!” and then there is a 33% chance that they’ll offer you a free one

Tip #2:  If going out on a weekend night, meet up at someone’s house first

This is helpful for a couple of reasons:

*  50% of the time, you all will be having so much fun pre-gaming while chatting and listening to music, that you won’t leave their place anyway…thus saving money.

*  If you do end up going out, you would have likely spent so much time hanging out at their house that your time out at the bar spending money will be abbreviated (assuming the bars close at 2AM)…saving you money again

*  If everyone meets at someone’s house first, you all can split a cab both there and back.  If the night is lame and you don’t end up drinking much, you can simply drive home from your friends’ house.  If you partied too hard, don’t be too “grown up” to crash on a couch and drive home in the morning.

Tip #3:  Go somewhere where seating is plentiful, not some crowded bar where everyone stands

Time after time we all wait in a 15-minute line only to get into a loud, crowded bar where we end up standing up and shouting to our friends who can only half-hear what we’re saying.  Here’s why this leads to overspending…

*  When you can’t really engage your group of friends given the noise and the many distractions, you end up making a lot of unnecessary trips to the bar in order to stay busy and entertain yourself…this leads to over spending.

Crowded bars make you feel exclusive for being inside.  Therefore, even if you’re done drinking and chatting with folks, you’ll likely stay a little bit longer when you see the long line of people who want to get inside.

When you’re sitting down you typically drink/eat slower and have a handful of really good conversations with the people you’re with.  Since you can efficiently interact with your group of friends, the amount of time needed to feel like you had a good time goes down…thus saving you money!

Final thoughts

Don’t get me wrong.  I know some of these options might seem counter-intuitive or backwards, but trust me they work.  Your debit card will thank me later.  The main message of all of my proposed solutions is to spend time with those whom you care about most.  Killing time with a drink in your hand in a crowded bar making generic conversation never led to anything fun, nor did it save you any money.

By the way, here is another fun article for the party crowd.…and another

What do you all think?

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One Response

  • DRO says:

    Great post JG. I totally agree on the house party – I’m not in high school but the house party still ranks top in my party book.

    One thing I will say is a sneaky, counter-intuitive move I use…. go to a crowded a bar, one that you know will take you 30 mins to get a drink, find a quieter area if possible, and buy the tallest cheapest beer possible for you and a buddy. You sacrifice the cost of a couple beers, yes, but then your buddy will get the next round. By the time you’ve had two drinks, 2 hours will have passed and you and your buddy will probably be ready to leave, but will have had a solid “night out”. And the next day you’ll remember every funny moment watching the scenery

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