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How to enjoy a cheap night out in New York

New York is expensive. Here's how to have a cheap night out and still enjoy yourself.

Pregame
Pregame photo: Steven Depolo at flickr

Pregame

Yes. You’re not in college anymore and you’re definitely not going to that ‘da club’ that looks the other way when checking IDs. However, in New York, it’s not rare to pay $12 - $14 for each mixed drink you order and upwards of $8 for a good beer. If you have some leftovers hanging around your one-bedroom flex apartment, take advantage. If you feel good enough when you head out and meet your friends, you might not drink as much. Less drinking leads to less money spent, which leads to you being able to write your rent check without crying.

Subway
Subway photo: Kmf164 at Wikimedia Commons

Subway

You’re out with your friends, you’re going to be drinking, and the last thing you want to do is go outside and start searching for the train on the way there or on the way home. Obviously. But even if you’re staying in Manhattan and staying on one side of the island (West side is best, let’s just get this straight), cab fare can add up. Walk the few extra blocks to the train, it will be worth it when you wake up in the morning without a pile of receipts surrounding your bed.

Be friendly
Be friendly photo: Glenn Harper via flickr

Be friendly

Obviously we all just want to hang with our friends sometimes with no external influences, but being nice costs nothing. And you know what else costs nothing? A free drink. It happens more often than you think, and you don’t have to flirt with a decrepit millionaire to reap some benefits. A smile and a compliment to your bartender and not being a jerk to your neighbor can actually go a long way.

Set a drink maximum
Set a drink maximum photo: barnzai at flickr

Set a drink maximum

The only person who knows how much you can afford is you. If 3 drinks is your spending maximum, stick to it. You can have fun without being wasted, and it will make getting home easier, without a cab.

Know when to leave
Know when to leave photo: Rob Boudon at flickr

Know when to leave

Nobody wants to be the last one at the party and nobody wants to be the girl or guy begging people to keep it going. When the party’s over, it’s over. Know when to leave and don’t be the last person there. For obvious reasons, you don’t want to be the drunkest one. For less obvious reasons, if you leave last, you’ll probably end up paying for the friend who ‘forgot’ to leave cash for the bill.