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How much does a pint cost you?

For those who like to venture out to pubs and restaurants, the temptation to consume and spend in excess can be strong, particularly after months of restraint. If left unchecked, this could see your saving goals go out the window. But how much does a pint cost? And can you ever have ‘just one’?

There was a viral Tweet along the lines of: All it takes to waste £5,000 a year is to spend an unnecessary £13.70 a day.

This got me thinking, what is the true cost of our socialising habits? I know many people, myself included, regularly spend more than £13.70 on a night out. Of course, we don’t do that everyday or even every week necessarily, but I’m sure over the course of a year it mounts up to fair more than any of us would care to admit.

The average cost of a pint in the UK is £3.10

The cost of ‘just a quick pint’

So, how much does a pint cost? The average cost of a pint in the UK is £3.10, but in London the average cost of a beer is as much as £4. The average cost of a glass of wine is about £6.

But, a night out is rarely limited to just one pint. In fact, the average Briton spends £70 on a night out according to the Deltic Night Index. If you’re doing this twice a month, that’s £1,680 a year. Going out every week could mean you’re spending £3,640 a year.

That’s a lot of money that could be spent on other things, saved or invested.

So, should I stop going to the pub?

Absolutely not, providing it is safe to do so and you’re following all relevant government guidance.  I don’t buy into the argument that you have to go to the pub to save the economy – there’s plenty of other things you can do to support it, like shopping locally! – but paying a visit to your local will be appreciated by the landlords after they’ve been closed for so long.

I also don’t believe you should sacrifice your social life or your enjoyment if possible to reach you saving goals quicker. Of course, there are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself without going to the pub or a restaurant, but if you want to go on nights out it is perfectly possible to do this and still commit to hitting your financial targets.

What you need to consider is if you’re regularly spending £70+ on a night out, you’ve got to accept it’s going to take you a lot longer to reach your goals.

What are your goals?

Just like all spending decisions, you need to consider your long-term goals and how your decision will impact them. Having a budget can really help you out with this as you can compartmentalise your money and know exactly how much you have to spend on socialising.

Even a simple Excel spreadsheet can help you see how much you have to spend after you’ve paid rent, bills and put money into your savings. If you want something a bit more sophisticated, there are plenty of apps available like Money Dashboard.

Tips for saving money on your night out

If you want to enjoy a good night out but also want to save some money, why not try some of these money saving tips – don’t worry I’m not going to suggest switching the G&T for a tonic water. Your drinks, your choice!

Have some drinks at home first

We all know it’s cheaper to buy drinks in a supermarket and drink them at home than go out for drinks.

If you’re planning a big night out, why not have a couple of drinks while you’re getting ready or in the garden (socially distant of course) before you head to the bar or restaurant. This way, you’re still with going out with your friends, but you’ll have significantly reduced the bar tab when you do head out.

Take advantage of happy hour

Quite a few places offer a ‘happy hour’ deal or discount, where drinks are reduced or on a 2for1 deal. As long as you can avoid the drunken logic of ‘2for1 means I should order 4’, you can save a lot of money taking advantage of these deals.

Some restaurants also offer ‘early bird’ specials to make sure their tables are filled early in the evening. If you’re not fussy about what time you eat or if you’ve got plans for later in the evening, it could be worth making use of these offers.

Use cash

If you want to limit your spending, leave your debit or credit card at home. Instead take a fixed amount of money out. You can’t spend money you don’t have. Be cautious if you choose this approach though and make sure you always have enough cash to get home safely. You do not want to find yourself stranded miles from home in the early hours of the morning.

Groupon/other vouchers

Before you head out, see if there’s any offers available. I’ve always said you should never pay full price at Pizza Express. There’s always some kind of deal on and the same is true for many other restaurants and bars.

If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at Groupon or Voucher Codes. A lot of places also advertise offers on their website, so have a look before you go out.

Have some snacks at home

After a few drinks we all want some food. I’m fairly sure it’s human nature to crave something greasy after a night out. Ordering a pizza can easily cost £20 or a kebab could be £5.

An easy way to save money is to have some readily available snacks at home, a pizza you’ve already cooked usually does the trick. This will cost you just £2 or £3 and you won’t notice the difference after a few drinks.

For more saving ideas and tips, you may want to check out my top summer saving tips here!

If you found this post interesting, please like it and share across social media or send it to your friends. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and experiences, so please do leave a comment! Do you track what you spend on nights out ? Or do you let your hair down and worry about it later?

By The Twenty Percent

Hi I'm Katie and I use my blog to help young people take control of their personal finances.

24 replies on “How much does a pint cost you?”

It is so easy to lose track of how much you are spending on a night out! Great idea to use cash!

I completely agree the the price of alcohol has gone up quite dramatically over the past two years. I always prefer to plan my nights out ahead of time instead of being spontaneous like I used to be when I was younger. Drinking at home, or at your friends house will always be a great idea. It saves you so much money and even saves you money on the taxi if you need to get one to where you’re going.

I am not much of a social drinker or out for the bar scene. This is some really amazing information if I ever decide or am able to frequent a local bar or pub with friends. It is shocking to know how much we spend on non essentials, but if enjoying yourself comes with a price then might it then be an essential cost? Lol Thanks for sharing!

The first thing my husband and I noticed when we went into lockdown was how much money we weren’t spending. We aren’t huge partiers, but between grabbing lunch at work, going out to dinner, going to the theatre, and grabbing drinks, that cash outflow really added up! I appreciate the fact that you encourage people not to give up their social lives entirely to save some money (I mean, it’s not really realistic anyway). Once we’re able to use cash again, I’m definitely going to go that route. Spending with a card can be a little too easy. Spending with cash really makes you aware of how painful it is to part with your money. Great post!

Good to see you advocate a balance!

I liked the cash tip – that one’s always a winner for me – easier to see how much you’ve spent / have left.

Went out for our first pint last weekend in order to support the microbrewery. It was all very well run, even when it rained…….good old British weather doesn’t help here!

Balance is everything, haha! But I can see how people who’ve not been able to be out drinking may consume more because of the excitement/social aspect. It can be astounding how much a night out can cost these days and this was really interesting to read as it puts it in perspective!

A great post! I’ve saved a fortune not getting coffee out it’s gone into my savings, I’m definitely more mindful of social expenses now.
Thank you for some fab tips!
Sarah

Awesome post! Very relevant. I live in Hawaii, so like all things here, alcohol is massively expensive. But, I do love me a good happy hour with the girls! I am definitely a big believer of your suggestion of eating at home first though. Big money saver. Another thing I love to do when I’m watching my cash a bit more, is to propose friends meet me at the beach and BYOB in the cooler (I know this is not an option for most people). But it can also be good on the wallet to hit up happy hour with a friend and then move the fun back to someone’s house after a drink or two. A lot of my parent friends like this one. Thanks for the good advice!

It’s difficult to turn down a good time with friends at the bar, for sure…

But I always wonder what it would be like if we all saved well enough to retire early! Then we would have as many bar nights as we wanted!

Of course, there’s no need to totally sacrifice the present- so these suggestions are very helpful to make sure that we have a good time while being financially aware at the same time!

These are all such great tips on saving money when you go out for a night! Thanks so much for sharing. Our bars here in the US are still closed so we can’t really go out to them right now anyway

Using cash is a great way to be aware of how much you spend since it is not just a swipe of the card. I was amazed at how much more thought I put into shopping when I went out one night with only a hundred bucks. 🙂

I could easily spend over £70 on a proper night out, that’s for sure. But nothing on this earth would get me in a pub just because the government and their god awful response to a pandemic says it’s now somehow safe to mingle with other drunk people. That’ll be a hard NO from me, I’ll see you after second wave, maybe.

It would be nice rid I had an extra £5K after all of this, but I’m most likely blown that on takeaways

It’s really interesting to see what the average prices are / what the average person spends! I’ve not been out recently enough in the UK (coronavirus + living in Spain for a while) but I’ll definitely keep tabs on my spending and see how it matches up!

Thanks for a great post

A really interesting post! I don’t go out and spend money like I used to but I imagine back in my late teens/early 20’s I probably got through about £50-100 comfortably on a night out. These days much more reserved and cautious with money but it’s still worth knowing how much you could spend. Glad I don’t live in London where there’s so much more to do and so many places to spend!

Haha these numbers remind me of how much I used to spend going out in San Francisco! I’m glad I’m in Cambodia, beer is like $1 and a glass of wine at a nice rooftop bar will run you about $4. The worst part about being in SF is that drinking was such a social thing that it would somewhat impact your career/networking opportunities if you weren’t “about that life”.

Oh wow that’s so cheap! SF sounds a lot like London for that- in normal times all the networking events I’m meant to attend revolve around drinking. As fun as it can be, it’s nice to have a break (and save some money!)

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