Top 15 Ways To Save Money When Going Out

save money when going out

How to Save Money When Going Out

You’re broke. I get it.

That doesn’t mean you should be sitting at home on your ass. It just means you need to get smarter when it comes to spending those limited funds. With nearly a lifetime of experience in being broke, I’ve learned a thing or two about stretching a dollar. Here I’ll try to translate that into more drunken nights on less money.

1. Find a bar and become a regular.

It is a known fact that a regular’s dollar goes further than your dollar. This doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with the bouncer or bartender. Just make sure they recognize your face—and for the right reasons. Tip well, be patient and don’t be fancy with your ordering. If you’re patient, you’ll eventually be rewarded with free and/or stronger drinks. But don’t expect this treatment every time, and don’t forget to tip even when the drinks are free.

2. Tip as you go.

I know a lot of people say to leave a big tip on your first drink so as to ensure proper treatment throughout the night, but this is a gamble. At busier bars, sometimes the bartenders switch off and you’ll be stuck with someone who has no clue you left a $50 early on in the night. So tip as you go to avoid losing out big in the beginning.

3. Buy two drinks at a time and tip as if you only ordered one.

You should always tip—but if you’re trying to save cash, sometimes combining the order can save you a couple bucks. Sure, you probably look cheap as hell, but at least you’re playing by the rules.

4. Don’t buy from shot girls or any female for that matter.

No matter how broke you are you’ll end up tipping more than you should because you are weak. Trust me.

5. Don’t buy people shots, buy pitchers of beer.

Not only is it cheaper up front, but you still end up with a bunch of people feeling like they owe you something. In the best case scenario, offer to buy the first pitcher without making a big deal about it—and make sure you pour everyone a beer. As long as you plan on hanging out with those same people (and they aren’t assholes), you’ll be drinking free the rest of the night.

6. Drink the good stuff first and then switch to the cheap stuff.

Obviously as you get more drunk, you’ll quickly realize you can’t taste the difference between Patron and that curious clear liquid on the bathroom floor. At that point, it’s not worth wasting money on something you’ll never remember anyway. Spend accordingly.

7. Beware “specials.”

Just because Patron is two for one shots tonight, does not mean you should order it. It’s still likely more expensive than anything you would normally order, and well…that’s just ridiculous.

8. Set your budget before you leave your place.

If you put $40 in your wallet you’re going to spend $40. If you put $70 in there, you’re going to spend $70. Get the picture?

9. This should go without saying, but pregame if at all possible.

Not only is the beer cheaper, but maintaining your buzz will be infinitely more manageable once you’re at the bar or club. Instead of dropping all your money to get your buzz going, you can order a drink to sip on and spend your time socializing instead of standing around waiting at the bar.

10. Buy what’s on draft.

It’s almost always cheaper than buying by the bottle. I usually order draft until I’m ready to start moving around a bit and then I’ll get a bottle to carry around with me.

11. If you’re going to be a baller and tip ridiculous, leave $20s not $50s.

They carry the same general effect and you can do it more often. Plus you’re less likely to wake up the next day wondering how you’re going to pay rent.

12. Bring a close female friend, and make sure it’s ladies night.

You’ll be drinking free all night long. Just make sure it’s not a female friend you’re interested in romantically as you’re probably going to lose all your dignity.

13. It sounds dumb, but get to know your cheap beers.

Often times bars will jack up the price a bit on Budlight bottles or Miller Lite because they know that’s what most people default to. If you know a few alternative cheap beers, and your goal is to get drunk fast, you’ll be in a better position to stretch that dollar.

14. If you plan on going to a bar that has a cover, try to get a on list.

This will keep you from waiting in line and sometimes avoid paying a cover. Just scan Facebook for someone working for a promoting company and message them. They need you just as badly as you need them.

15. Figure out the food situation before you start drinking.

The drunchies will take over at some point, and if you’re not careful you’ll wake up the next morning wondering how in the hell you spent $60 at Waffle house. Make sure your designated driver knows where the nearest Taco Bell is and orders for you.


  1. says

    hahahahah. fair play narrator. i love the word fucktard. im scottish . its a great word to use in my accent. so id fuckerton. and anything with fuck in it really. cunt works well to.. :)

  2. grouchymonsta says

    Pete – we’re Scottish – all swearies automatically sound 10 times better coming from us!

    Generally in Scotland we’re not expected to tip, and with the price of alcohol in a lot of places none of us student types can afford it! I’m actually living in Canada at the moment and I definitely think these tips are a lot more useful over here. Although even pregaming can be expensive out here…I miss Tesco Value vodka for only £7 a bottle…*sigh*

    Great list, keep it up!

  3. Dance says

    I know how to strech my bill. forget about clubbing. since i’ve got 70 i will save it up and invest it when it reaches a certain amount and finally get enough cash to buy the club down.

  4. says

    Thanks for those tips. Wish I had considered this in my 20’s, however, I’ve always gotten free drinks anyway. Still good to know on nights that I can actually get out and have only $20 in my pocket!!

  5. Morgan says

    Beware of tipping like you only ordered a drink if you ordered two. Your next drink might have been stirred with the bartenders dick or contain an unusually high concentration of grey dishwater.

  6. miq says

    I find the whole tipping culture totally retarded. I’m lucky to live in a country where you aren’t expected to give any tip (maybe tourists?).

  7. Mick says

    i like the get a job at a bar comment – so bleedin simple!
    i actually work in a restaurant, and a couple of times a week i’ll get a couple of free pints (the good stuff too!) so i can vouch for this tip.

    of course if we were all working at bars we wouldn’t be out drinking in them!

  8. Rugby says

    Hey man great list i’m a regular at a bar near my school and once you get to know the bartenders they will hook you up like none other.

    and for the people that are ripping on this blog go fuck yourselves and maybe if you left your computers for more than ten minutes you would actually see that this stuff works

  9. says

    Stumbled upon this post…nice work! I did a similar writeup months ago, but the idea of buying pitchers never occurred to me.

    Best advice on here!

  10. JohnR says

    “14. If you plan on going to a bar that has a cover, try to get a on list.”

    I need to try this. Perhaps I should make an on list, list of all the on list, lists I can get on.

  11. dave says

    I’ve been a bartender for almost ten years..I always tip 1-2 dollars per drink and the same amount on any free drinks I get from my bartenders when I’m out. I always take good care of my patrons but I must say that my regulars and good tippers will ALWAYS be served first and I will always buy a drink or two for my regulars or fun people who are tipping well. I always get free drinks or shot from the bartenders when I go out and never have to wait for my drinks because I take care of them! I also must say there is nothing wrong with pre-gaming..I don’t really care to do it, but I don’t think its a bad idea.

  12. says

    Hi – really great website you have established. I enjoyed reading this posting. I did want to write a comment to tell you that the design of this site is very aesthetically sweet. I used to be a graphic designer, now I am a copy editor for a marketing firm. I have always enjoyed working with computing machines and am attempting to learn code in my spare time (which there is never enough of lol).

  13. tdazzle says

    I agree totally except please do order from females! I was a cocktail waitress and it was teh ultimate suck. I made a much smaller hourly wage than the bartenders (3.50 vs 8+/hour), I had to put up with a ton more shit, and I got drinks out fast, and most people still didn’t tip me. Plus, I had regular customers that I could treat to free drinks occasionally (and they definitely got faster service if they tipped semi-decently), but I remembered them a hell of a lot better than the bartenders did.

  14. says

    Good tips, I always used to tip but stopped when one night I said.. can we stay for an hour or so after you tell everybody else to drink up. I slipped the barman £200.. About 20 mins later the manager walked in and the barman told us to leave and I said.. hey!! i’ll have that money back now you bastard! but he just walked out the back and I didn’t see him again.

  15. charlie says

    Or, as most of these are about tipping, you could just go and live in the UK where tipping is for quality of service and not just a means of buisness topping up a crappy wage by social manipulation.
    Seriously though, when are Americans going to learn that a minimum living wage is a good idea; that way you don’t have to factor in a tip at every purchase and everything costs EXACTLY THE SAME in the long run. The only difference being that some people aren’t looked down on for being ‘cheap’.

  16. says


    8. Set your budget before you leave your place.

    If you put $40 in your wallet you’re going to spend $40. If you put $70 in there, you’re going to spend $70. Get the picture?

    I liked that one.

    Another huge idea is
    Put only the CASH you plan to spend in wallet and then leave ATM,credit cards, AT HOME. This way there’s zero possibility of going over budget. I planned to spent $20 one night but had roughly $70 in wallet. What was in there was basically spent. It just happens. I’m decent with budgeting too. When your’e drinking your mind enters a different psychology. Budget goes out the window and conversation, people, babes, and (as it should be) good times moves in. I like the “no plastic, only spending money in wallet” method because it allows you to be financially safe and still have a good time.

  17. says

    Just saw you on twitter, I must say this is a great site. Was going to do something similar to this, but you knocked it out of the park. GJ

  18. says

    If only I could translate this to taking my business clients out.

    You should come up with an article to save money when out on business meetings without looking cheap!

    haha thanks!

  19. Joe says

    Great post Nathan! I wish I knew a couple of these along time ago since I fall into the habit of buying shots, but buying pitchers IS cheaper and, in some cases, preferred.
    It sucks when you’re broke because you don’t want to miss a good time with your friends and don’t want to appear cheap.
    Also your post on buying two drinks and tipping for one does kind of make sense. The general rule is $1 a drink or 15% of the bill. If you go to a bar that has $5.00 pints on special (combining another rule. Lol.) If you do one a time that is a dollar a drink. If you do two at a time you can technically do $1.50 (15%). No bartender worth his salt would complain about this. It isn’t a huge savings but it adds up. It could make the difference of being able to tip for another drink or not because if you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford to drink. Lol.
    Great rules to drink while light on the wallet and not look cheap.

  20. Courtney says

    Most of these are good except for #4, which is quite sexist in my opinion. by “tipping with your penis” you are objectifying the bartender based on her gender and looks. and not only is it an insult to women, but it insults men as well. youre saying that men simply cannot control themselves when it comes to their labido. and what does that mean about male bartenders? do they get less of a tip than a woman would simply because they are men? shouldnt the tip be based on service not looks? i bet that if a guy really tried, he could overcome his urges and tip fairly, even when drunk.

  21. says

    These are all great ideas especially the obvious choice to pregame before going out. It is always a good idea to play some drinking games while pregame and then hit the bar already pretty boozed up.


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