Believe it or not: I went out every night of the week and spent under £20

A post-isolation challenge for you

They say strike week, I hear week-long bender. So, to make my week off that little bit more exciting, I decided to set myself a challenge: I would go out every night of the week, with a budget of just £20.

I started the week optimistic (and naive), armed with my trusty bottle of vodka from Christmas and my £20 note. What could go wrong? Yeah…turns out I didn’t quite anticipate the altered alcohol tolerance, the walking home in the rain, and the fact I’d have a week-long hangover.

Spoiler: the key to successfully staying on budget is all about pre-ing hard and walking EVERYWHERE – with friends of course.

So, here’s how it went…

Friday: I didn’t even make it to Live Lounge

the key is sneaking snacks and drinks in

My budget took a massive hit from the unofficial Nerd Varsity bar crawl. You’re expected to drink at every single pub and it’s safe to say that my purse strings weren’t too happy about this.

I’d never realised just how expensive bar crawls are. A single vodka and Coke cost £3.50! With each sip all I could think about was the portion of cheesy chips I could be devouring for the same price. My biggest mistake (and deepest regret) was not pre-ing before. Thank God for my mini bottle of vodka.

In true student fashion, the night out ended at McDonalds with a wrap of the day meal and a free McFlurry – student deals are a blessing. It was £1 more than it should have been but naturally I felt too awkward to correct them. A true tragedy really because that £1 could have gone towards Quids In entry.

Ended the night with a meal

Entry Fee: Free entry.
Drink Expenses: £3.50 (My one vodka Coke, I didn’t pay for the pint.)
Total Expenses: £8.

Saturday: Metros’ massive cups are the way forward

We all get the texts, “Hey, I’m a bookings manager for Revs on a Saturday night. Do you want free entry, VIP and free shots?” And there’s only so many times you can ignore them. My only question is: where is that free cocktail fountain?? I felt deceived and downright lied to. Without the money-saving fountain, Revs is expensive and you should definitely pre before a night out there.

Since my friends weren’t feeling Revs, we went to Metros instead. I couldn’t really object considering I was dragging them away from their lovely beds and on nights out for the rest of the week. We got there by 11pm, just in time to make the free entry and buy drinks in massive cups that shrink past 11.

We love a free VK… or four…

Entry Fee: Free entry (Revs do a guestlist + Metros is free before 11pm).
Drink Expenses: £0 – all my drinks were bought for me AND pre-drinks saved us all.
Total Expenses: Free. I walked, pre-drank, and skipped night-out food.

Sunday: I actually made it to Live Lounge this time

£2 for 5 drinks is a STEAL

Since I didn’t make it to Livey on Friday (oops), we had no other option. A week’s worth of nights out without Live Lounge is a crime that, frankly, I’m not willing to commit. We got there before 11pm to get those £1 drinks and put my trusty Freshers’ Week coupons to use. Five drinks for £2? Who knew coupons could make you so happy?

Entry Fee: Free entry.
Drink Expenses: £2.
Total Expenses: £2.
Alternative Night Out: Soda Sundays (Free entry on the guest list)

Monday: Quids in or quits out?

A little feature of the black bands from freshers

“I don’t want to go to Quids, I wanna quits.” – me, one-hour before I had to get ready. The three-day hangover was really starting to kick in now, but Quid’s in was my saviour.  It’s cheap entry, cheap drinks, plus if you’re lucky you can catch a cheeseburger. What more could you want? Pryzm also does a wristband during Freshers’ Week so for £10 you get free entry before 11pm for the whole year.

Entry Fee: I used my friend’s spare wristband but it’s £1 before 11pm when you’re on the guestlist (look out for Amira +10, it’s always there).
Drink Expenses: £1 (shots shots shots – just the one though).
Total Expenses: £3 (I got obligatory maccies – fries and a chicken legend with a coupon).

Tuesday: One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor

Bathrooms are for snaps but also filling up your water cup with your own Coke and vodka

I had a job interview the next day and whilst vomming on their office floor probably wouldn’t go down well, my commitment hadn’t failed me so far. I’d even managed to go to my seminars all week.

I didn’t plan on buying drinks since I’d snuck in a miniature vodka and Coke, but my pre-game was weak and my tolerance had collapsed unexpectedly. All it took was two tequila shots to turn me from the awkward girl in the corner, to the one in the middle of the dance floor. Oh, the glorious power of alcohol.

Entry Fee: Free (Society event).
Drink Expenses: £4.40.
Total Expenses: £4.40.
Alternative Night Out: Mode, Revolution (£2 entry)

Wednesday: There were VKs flying at my head

the key to pres is doing 8 vodka shots and a double vodka coke – a girl who never spends £ at YOLO xx

I’ve been to plenty of YOLO nights without spending any money, so that was my goal for the night. Controversial opinion but I, for one, can’t stand an SU night. It’s crowded, there are VKs flying at my head, the smell of sweat is overwhelming, there is always someone throwing up in the corner of the room, and I inevitably end up on the balcony squinting in a desperate attempt to find my friends. Ooh, fun.

But how could I, a Cardiff Uni student, say I went out every night of the week if I skipped the SU? Hot tip: to ensure optimal enjoyment in the SU, you’ve got to be drunk enough that you don’t realise you’re being shoved around more than a rugby ball on game day. The glitter makeovers on the first floor help too.

Entry Fee: Free entry before 10.
Drink Expenses: £0.
Total Expenses: £0 – biggest flex yet.
Alternative Night Out: Student night at Pulse (Free entry!)

Thursday: The key is always free drinks

Missing it more now that I have to self-isolate.

We got to Walkabout way too early and not wanting to be those people, we thought we’d see what Coyote Ugly was really like. We were greeted with a “free shot when you buy a drink” voucher. Now, at this point I’d run my budget DRY so thought I’d try a cheeky little tactic of my own. Okay, not so much a tactic as straight-up asking someone at the bar if they’d get us free shots with their drinks – and they actually did. Success.

When we couldn’t scrounge anymore, we headed to Walkabout. We were meant to get a free WKD with our ticket but didn’t know it ended at 11pm. Tragic. Then, to make things sadder, we missed out on our free VIP upgrade since they didn’t have our names on the list. We stayed for a bit (mostly for the Freddos) and then immediately left when we were told the Freddos were by the door. My friends took 1 each (amateurs) and I grabbed a handful. Walkabout was a let down overall, I won’t lie to you.

Entry Fee: £2.50 when you book early bird.
Drink Expenses: £0.
Total Expenses: £2.50.

I got lucky with my timing and finished the sesh a couple of days before the UK went into lockdown. But I’ll be keeping my scrimp and save skills for that post-isolation bender. 

Here are my tips to everyone wanting to save a bit of cash at uni: pre-drink hard, walk everywhere you can, stop that late-night munching and always get there before 11pm.

Now I’ll spend the next 2 months in bed with Netflix – something I needed after that week, Covid-19 or not.


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