How To Still Go Out Even If You’re Broke AF

When you’re broke as hell, going out can be a struggle. You want time to have fun with your friends, but your bank account is urging you to spend the night on the couch. So what do you do? Go out and risk an overdraft, or stay in every night while your life passes you by? Make the struggle a little less real with these 15 ways to still go out when you’re broke AF:

  1. Eat before you go out. Just because you won’t be eating doesn’t mean you can’t tag along. Stick to drinks for the night or nibble on an appetizer. Save your full meal for the stock in your fridge, because food plus tips add up real fast.
  2. Pregame. You want to go out and have a little fun, but one beer at the bar could be the price of a six-pack at home. Do the majority of your drinking before you hit the bar and sip on something cheap the rest of the night.
  3. Befriend happy hour. Most establishments offer some sort of happy hour with special deals on food and drinks. Half-off apps, well specials, and discounted drafts are exactly what you need. Learn the happy hours of the bars and restaurants you frequent so you can plan your night accordingly.
  4. Ask for prices before ordering. A lot of bars and restaurants get away with no pricing on their drink menus. If you’re ordering blind, you might realize at the end of the night that your $9 martini wasn’t worth it.
  5. Make friends with employees. Waiters, bartenders, and bouncers will treat you better if they know and like you. That means they won’t be watering down your drinks or may even waive your cover charge. Remember every little bonus is a plus for your bank account.
  6. Look for daily deals. Most restaurants and bars have daily deals on certain drinks, food, and cover charges. Ladies’ nights are perfect for a better variety of drink specials and getting in free of charge. Do your research before you plan your night out and you might just save yourself a pretty penny.
  7. Join every membership club. From punch cards to online reward systems, most chains have some sort of members program. Even just signing up for email can get you loads of coupons, and hey, every saved dollar counts.
  8. Head out early. A lot of clubs and bars with covers only charge you after a certain time. Head to your destination before the cover charge starts and you won’t waste money on the hefty entrance fee.
  9. Get a pitcher. If you like beer, splitting a pitcher is a lot cheaper than buying individual drinks. Just make sure one of your girls isn’t taking more than her fair share of the goods.
  10. Be the planner. If your friends are asking where to go, speak up. If everyone doesn’t care anyway, why not suggest a place with decent prices, free parking, and no entrance fee?
  11. Jump off the shot train. Shots are the easiest way to get drunk, but they’re also the most expensive way to be drunk at a bar. If your friends are asking who’s all in for shots, make a hard pass. In the end, the large ticket price and the hangover just aren’t worth it.
  12. Split a meal. The portion sizes at most restaurants are way too much for one person. Ask your friends if anyone is interested in splitting a meal or an appetizer. Not only are you cutting the price in half, you’re also ensuring you won’t overeat.
  13. Take your leftovers. Too often,, customers leave the restaurant with food still left on their plates. Rather than wasting the second supper, take it to go for a meal tomorrow. Even if you paid full-price tonight, you’re at least cutting down on your grocery bill.
  14. Forget buying rounds. Go big or go home, right? Wrong. Buying rounds is a waste of time and money. In most friend groups, maybe one or two people offer to buy while the rest are just mooching. Save your hard-earned cash and only pay for the alcohol you drink.
  15. Invest in the draft. If you like beer, your night just got a hell of a lot cheaper. Skip the bottles and drink whatever is on tap. If you can’t stand the taste of beer no matter how many added flavors, look for ciders. Most restaurants and bars offer at least one hard cider on tap. It’s like putting the cash right back in your pocket.
Kelsey Dykstra is a freelance writer based in Huntington Beach, CA. She has been blogging for over four years and writing her whole life. Originally from Michigan, this warm weather seeker relocated to the OC just last summer. She enjoys writing her own fictional pieces, reading a variety of young adult novels, binging on Netflix, and of course soaking up the sun.