Money Mistakes You Don’t Have To Make On A Night Out

Whether it’s spontaneous drinks with friends or just grabbing dinner with your partner, heading out for a night on the town can hit your bank balance one of two ways: horrifically or surprisingly OK, with not much middle ground.

The next day when you wake up (maybe a little dusty) you shield your eyes as you look at your bank balance, praying that the tequila gods were kind enough to cut you off at the right time. They almost never are.

It happens to the best of us. We get caught up in the moment and hang up all responsibility at the door. However, there is still hope.

Take this misfortune and turn it into a crash course in budgeting, allowing you to enjoy your weekends without it costing you an arm and a leg. 

#1 Assess the damage

It may seem easiest to just pretend it never happened, or try and justify it as a special occasion. Because after all, it was your colleague’s housemate’s mum’s birthday, and she only turns 52 once.

But the first step to taking charge of your spending habits is to revisit the trauma that was last night. Although it may be distressing, this will be a clear indicator of what you’re buying, where you bought it, how much it was and at what time.

Take this info and categorise it into simple lists, figure out what is breaking the bank the most, and identify some changes you can make.

#2 Give yourself a budget

Sure, tap-and-go is a timesaver but do you realise how much you’re really spending? If you set yourself a spending limit or even take a chosen amount of cash, you are sure to save.

Set yourself a tight budget that you simply can’t go over while saving on the venue’s unreasonable ATM surcharge.

#3 Keep your savings separate

With our bank accounts now at a finger’s reach, it’s easier than ever to tap into our savings that, realistically, aren’t for spending large chunks of.

Still, there is a solution. Try opening a new savings account that you can’t withdraw from.

This will save you massively because now withdrawing that extra $50 for dessert or a nightcap just isn’t an option.

Just make sure you budget yourself enough to still get home safely.

#4 Get dessert on the go

At the end of the meal when the waiter offers you a dessert menu, politely decline. Why not get that dessert on your way home, and find a pretty spot to enjoy it with your SO? It can be as simple as a chocolate bar shared on a park bench.

Not only is this a nice way to end a night out, it’s practically two dates in one, which will score you massive brownie points.

#5 Know when to call it a night

Some of our biggest purchases happen at a time in the night that could be easily avoided.

There can be such thing as too much fun, and you should know when to draw the line in the sand, and bounce. Not only will you score more sleep, but also you will wake up a happier and richer you.

If your pals aren’t having a bar of it and are demanding you stay, try some of these reasonable justifications: ‘I just found out I am pregnant’ or ‘my boyfriend’s dog is sick’. They’ll understand. If not, just sneak out stealthily.

#6 Take advantage of public transport

Taxis and Ubers can be expensive. With surcharges and the occasional booking fee, they can be a budget killer.

So after your night out, do yourself a favour, scrap the cabs and catch a train instead. They run regularly, are reliable and chances are you already have money on your load-and-go travel ticket. Score.

A night out doesn’t have to be scary, but it pays be conscious of your spending. Follow these steps and you’ll be able to successfully party hard without the financial heartache.

Bradley is a writer from Newcastle who enjoys travel, Tina Fey and is a connoisseur of cheap red wine.

Want to start saving?

Open a Westpac savings account to take control of your money.

Find Out More