A Night in Numbers: How to Budget on Nights Out


Money Saving Tips

Do you ever struggle to budget on nights out? According to our research, you’re not alone. We can reveal that over half of Brits have experienced ‘the fear’ of looking at their bank account the morning after.

With 53% not daring to check the damage to their balance and 23% of those feeling ‘the fear’ on a regular basis, we crunched the data, analysed people’s budgets and looked into their spending habits. Here we reveal how much people typically shell out for a night on the town.

Do you spend more than average?

According to our findings, the average Brit spends £44.88 for one evening out.

On average we head for a night on the town 48 times a year… This means you could be spending over £2,000 per year on nights out.

When it comes to budgeting on nights out, 78% of us attempt to set a spending limit for ourselves. However, just 21% of us actually stick to it! And for many of us, keeping to a budget is especially tough at Christmas, with 44% of Brits spending more on nights out over the festive period.

Are you planning ahead?

When you’ve got a night out coming up, how do you stick to your budget? Perhaps you’re like the 42% of respondents who said they only take out the amount of cash they want to spend? Or the 18% who organise a lift or taxi before going out?

Brits save even more money by limiting their drinking (16%), pre-drinking (12%), and buying drinks in rounds (11%).

Worrying about your bank balance?

Contactless payments might make up nearly 50% of all transactions in Europe, yet 42% of us leave our cards at home when we head out on the town.

Why? Our research revealed that contactless payments play a big part in ‘the fear’ of checking your bank account the morning after.

Paying for drinks with contactless is so quick and easy that some people lose track of their spending and blow their budget, which could explain why the most popular way to stick to a budget on a night out is to use cash only.

Who spends more: men or women?

On average, men spend more than women on a night out – £12.29 more to be exact. While women typically spend around £40 (£39.25), this figure increases to more than £50 for men (£51.54).

Despite spending less than men, women are more likely to experience ‘the fear’ the next day. 12% of women tell us they’re worried about checking their balance after every time they go out, compared to just 9% of men.

Meanwhile, looking at age groups it’s 18 to 24-year-olds who feel ‘the fear’ the most.

Better at budgeting: London or Leeds?

When it comes to location, where do you think your city ranks? Are you a city of savvy spenders, or do you splash the cash?

We’ve analysed 15 UK cities on their average spend, and ranked them from high to low.

We decided to dig a little deeper and found some intriguing insights. For example, as well as paying out for drinks and food on the actual night out, Glaswegians indulge in pre-night out pampering, Liverpudlians splurge on takeaways on the way home, and Cardiff residents buy a new outfit.

When it comes to budgeting, Edinburgh residents were most likely to admit they never manage to budget. Geordies were most likely to feel ‘the fear’ after every time they go out, compared to most Sheffield residents who claimed to never experience this worry.

Meanwhile, Londoners may spend less than you think. In fact, the majority of those living in the capital (21%)*, usually spend no more than £60 on a night out, despite increased drinks prices and entry charges compared to other cities.

How thinkmoney budgeting tips and support could help

Managing your budget is important but we know it’s not always easy. So, we created a current account to change that. When you open a thinkmoney Current Account, money you need for bills will be held separately so you can’t accidentally spend it on your next night out.

To help you avoid ‘the fear’ and lower your night out spend, consider these tips:

  • Pre-book travel and split fares with your friends, or consider using public transport
  • Have a night in – 12% of respondents said they never go on nights out
  • Only take cash (like most of our survey respondents)
  • Have a couple of drinks at home before you go out
  • Stay sober and offer to be the designated driver
  • Reduce how often you go out
  • Create a budget and stick to it!

The research was informed by a national survey of 1,000 members of the UK adult public. Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number.

< Back to articles