Guide To: Going Out On A Budget

I’ll be the first to admit it – I’m not one to ever have a lot in my wallet. But with taste for good vodka and the need to be a social butterfly, I still manage to out and enjoy myself. And although I have mornings where I wake up and groan when I look at my bank account, it’s happened a lot less since I started being smart about going out. Here are a few tips to get me through the night:

1. Pregame

I know, terrible word to say when you have a college degree. However, for those who prefer a warm-up before they go out, it’s the easiest solution. To avoid feeling like an underage drinker, think of it as a cocktail party. Use nice glasses, make fancy drinks, and most of all, don’t use cheap liquor.

2. Set a budget before you go out

Keep in number in mind of how much you can spend. For some it works better if they have this amount in cash, some keep a running total in their head when using their card. Either way, determine how much you can spend and try your best to stick to it.

3. Factor in the odds

Do you always end up buying a round with friends? Feel a little better when you take a cab home? Always prefer at least one top shelf martini? Don’t forget to factor in the little things before you determine how much you spend.

4. Always remember to tip!

No matter how broke you are, remember a tip is just as important as paying for your drink! Plan on always giving a 20% tip on every bill. If you can’t afford that – you can’t afford to go out.

5. Look around for deals

Chicago bars always have drink deals going on. Dollar beers here, wristband deals there…there’s always something. Look online and ask around to see if there’s a good deal at a favorite bar.

6. Mix the good with the bad

I like a dive bar just as much as I like going a nice bar. Sometimes you meet an array of people at both places and it leads to a good night. If you bar hop a lot, opt to go to a dive bar in between nicer bars. You never know what you will come across and your bar tab will be a little cheaper.

7. Think before you drink

Do you always have to have that $14 scotch? Do you really need that last drink? Know when it’s time to take a step down from your drinking pedestal. Whether it means going for a well compared to top shelf or just cutting yourself off completely, realize that sometimes it’s just not worth it.

Some of these might be tips or tricks you use every day, some might be brand new to you, but in order to go out without feeling guilty, they are all ideas you should keep in mind before you take the city out for a spin.


Lindsay Grundy– Fashion Contributor,  Poor Girl’s Guide Chicago
Connect with Lindsay @lindsaygrundy or on her website,

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