Let’s face it, a night out on the town can be expensive. It seems we work diligently all week long, only to blow the hard-earned paycheck in one Friday night. Still, what’s the fun of putting in so many hours at the office if you’re only going to rush home to your TV and leftovers?
Everyone deserves to let loose, spend time with friends, and make the most of the potential fun that awaits. And though your friends mean well – dragging you to a happy hour that turns into an entire evening of eating and drinking cocktails – it can all add up fast.
Luckily, the solution is easier than you think. Rather than resisting all temptation to have a fun-filled Friday night, you can spend more time having fun with your favorite friends – and spend less money doing it. How’s that for motivation?
Planning the Perfect Night Out
1. Find Your Partners in Crime
Identify two or three of your dearest femme fatales. More than that is wonderful, but to really maximize the deals and keep the group’s mobility primed, it’s best to keep the total number of people under four.
2. Locate Fun Free Events
Look up some good free events happening tonight using the listings on Time Out or Daily Candy. If you live in a big city, you’ll undoubtedly have a slew of options, from music, to dancing, to exhibits, to outdoor movies.
But even small towns and small events have their charm. Chances are your local coffeehouse has all sorts of talent on display for free during the weekend. Another idea for easy and cheap amusement is to visit a karaoke bar – especially if you or one of your friends are bold enough to get up there and sing!
3. Arrange a Free Makeover
To really make it a special night, consider arranging a free mini-makeover for a little pampering. National stores such as Sephora and Origins offer free makeovers and makeup consultations, but it’s always best to call ahead and make sure they can accommodate you.
Otherwise, your favorite department store makeup line probably offers a free makeover with purchase. If you’re planning on making such a purchase, just plan it for a Friday night and schedule a makeover as well. Since you’ll be keeping a schedule, you don’t want to wait around too long!
4. Seek Out Happy Hours
Next, use a searchable database like barHappy to seek out killer happy hours that also include food specials. Be aware of the distance from one bar to the next and the time frames for each special. It’s best to keep all activities in close proximity, so you don’t have to drive or take public transportation, which could take away valuable dollars from the funding of your fun.
5. Make a Chart
This might sound a bit tedious, but if you focus on the fun you will be having, you will soon forget you’re “making a chart” and will become wrapped up in the possibilities.
Start by blocking out time for your makeovers and your free event of choice. Then, schedule in the happy hours you’ve found to fit around these activities, and take note of the distance between each bar and activity.
Since you might be doing a bit of walking, plan intelligently beforehand. You don’t want to end up walking a mile to one happy hour, only to retrace your footsteps to the next happy hour location later in the evening.
6. Make It Come Together
Make the evening come together fabulously. Here’s how your night might look:
- You and your two closest amigas meet up after work at Sephora at 5pm to freshen up and chill out while someone else does your makeup.
- Next, you visit the place around the corner from Sephora that has a great cocktail special until 7pm, including free delectable finger foods and appetizers at the bar. Make sure you’re there at 6pm so you can relax with your best friends and savor the free meal.
- At 7 o’clock, make your way over to the next stop, just a couple blocks away. It’s an intimate little wine bar that includes half-priced appetizers with the purchase of any glass of wine, all night long. The food is so good you can easily make a meal of it, and with just a single glass of wine, you are still clear-headed enough to attend the free event that you found out about earlier in the day.
- Finally, once the event is over, there just happens to be another sweet little spot you’ve discovered that has a late night happy hour from 10pm onward, including dessert-like cocktails such as the mudslide and the Brandy Alexander. You can unabashedly indulge in your favorite “girlie drinks” in the company of your favorite girlies!
A fun and affordable girls night out simply comes down to a little advanced planning. What often happens – and what many bars depend upon – is drawing a crowd with happy hour specials, and keeping the crowd buying food and drinks at full price once the special ends.
Don’t get caught in that game! Set the alarm on your phone to tell you when it’s time to move on to the next event, and do your best to limit your agenda to a set location. If this is just not possible, be prepared to spend a little extra on cab fare. Always remember, the stupidest and costliest thing you can do is to drive while intoxicated, so don’t even think about it, for any reason!
How do you save money during a night on the town with your girlfriends?