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When you’re on a tight budget, one of the first things you’ll stop spending on is luxuries. You can’t really cut back on the essentials, so you just miss out on the fun times instead. Socialising with friends goes out of the window – instead you’ll spend your Friday nights sat in front of the TV.

But a night out doesn’t need to be expensive – you can still have a good time on a budget. Whether you want a meal out with your family or you fancy a night at the cinema with your mates, check out our tips for going out for less.

Restaurant reductions

One obvious way to save on a meal out is to make the most of vouchers and coupons. You can do this online with voucher sites like Hot UK Deals or Vouchercloud or through apps on your smartphone.

It’s also worth ‘Liking’ some of your favourite restaurants on Facebook – they might post here when they’ve got any deals on. You’ll be able to see if they have any special discounts – like if you eat mid-week or if it’s your birthday – and time your night out around this.

Another way you could save at restaurants is by bringing your own drink. Often, restaurants without a full drink licence will have a ‘Bring Your Own Booze’ policy and this can take a huge amount off your bill. Just remember to drink responsibly, and you could even stick to soft drinks if you’re looking to cut costs even further.

Cheaper cinemas

You probably already know about the most popular way to save money at the cinemas, Meerkat Movies. You can get two-for-one cinema tickets on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for a year if you buy any insurance through Compare the Market – so you’d save 50%.

If you’re a film fan and you like to go to the cinema once a week or more, you could consider a subscription your favourite picture house. Cineworld Unlimited costs £16.90 a month while Odeon Limitless is £17.99 a month. You can then see as many films as you want in a month so if you live near one of these cinemas, it could be a really good saving.

One thing that really drives up the cost of a cinema trip is the price of the food. Popcorn, pick ‘n’ mix sweets and a fizzy drink – you can easily spend £40 on a family of four. But if you’re going to Vue or Cineworld, you might not know that you can actually take your own food and drinks with you. If you bring sweets and even your fizzy drinks from home, you could save quite a decent sum – but keep in mind you can’t take hot food or alcohol in.

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