The Science of the £10 Night Out

Matt McDonald saves you all a wad of cash – what a guy.

alcohol arena boozing timepiece uninoparents

It’s a weekday evening. You don’t have any work (that’s worth doing immediately). Your phone buzzes: a text from one of your best mates featuring a single word: “Out?”


Your liver’s screams for mercy go unheard; your head says you haven’t been to (any club, it barely matters) in ages. You open your wallet/purse/sack of gold and your heart sinks: you know that there’s no way you can have a good night on a tenner and a few loose coppers…or is there? Read this short list of financial tips to keep as much of that wonga in your pocket as possible; then, only then, a boozing Jedi you will be.

Pre-drinks: in order for this plan to work, you must be prepared to streamline your pre. Yes, a bottle of vodka and accompanying lemonade will get you binned enough to muster the confidence to slime on an equally keen fresher…but chances are it will set you back at least £11 for the pleasure. The unenlightened also opt for the £4 bottle of wine or the £4.49 four-pack of lager like what dad drinks. If you’re happy to forgo flavour, you can save even more coin: a 2-litre bottle of White Ace will set you back £2.69 and do twice the work in half the time (it’s 7.5%). A more favourable option is the Tiverton-based cider 3 Hammers – the same strength as White Ace, but with a more palatable taste: you won’t need to taint every glass with a healthy slug of blackcurrant squash. You can pick up a 2-litre 3 Hammers for £2.69 at the Continental Food Stores on Old Tiverton Road (by the football stadium); or if you’re truly going large and have £1.30 spare, grab the 3-litre for £3.99 (I personally don’t advice this; after about 2.5 litres, you start to see the Devil in your dreams.)

Entry: first things first, before you leave your humble student hovel, make sure you leave your bank card/credit card there: the last thing you need is to wake up with a £50 receipt from the Arena ATM (especially considering the charge to use it). Cash alone will do for now. Unless you prepared to sacrifice your integrity as a human being to a bouncer by flirting/begging, you’re going to have to take the hit on entry. The wise-guys here are aware of whether the entry fee increases after a deadline (hint: it’s 11pm), and have worked out whether it’s cheaper to buy tickets online (hint: it usually isn’t, but at least you don’t have to queue). All this aside, the best way to cut cost is to join a society; for a small fee you receive cards that entitle you to discounted entry for the year. For instance, joining Archaeology Soc will provide you with both an Arena card and a Mosaic card – you’ll only have to ‘dig’ around your wallet for £1 to get into Cheesy Tuesdays before 11.

In the club: it might be hard after all that white cider, but try to retain a little common sense when it comes to splurging dollar at the bar. Look at the signs behind for the deals – Timepiece kindly inform you that they serve Reefs, Smirnoff Ices, bottles of Carling and single vodka and mixer for £1.50, whilst doubles are only £2.50. There’s no need to glumly order that bottle of Moet. When it comes to buying drinks for other people, you can only depend on your own good self if you want to keep the piggy bank in tact: buying rounds will murder your overdraft, and as for getting that cheeky looking blonde a Jagerbomb because you think she’ll open the gates of Mordor…well, if you pay, she’ll see you as her bitch. If you relax and let her realise how strong your chat is, you can save even more money by leaving early with her – she might even let you put your finger in the precious.

Post: you’ve done well up to this point, but there is one final hurdle: that rumble in your tummy that pines for junk food. Here, you can either sack it off altogether and risk a meaty hangover, or, and this is a much better option, get a small or regular portion of chips for £2 or under (anywhere that charges more is ripping you off). If you don’t have the extra coppers for cheese on top, fear not: sauces are always free, and if you mix and match enough you’ll eventually find a flavour that makes your tongue as happy as your stomach.

Matt's night:

£2.69 – 3 Hammers

£1 – entry to Arena.

£4 – drinks in Arena.

£1.80 – chips after Arena.

£9.49 – total.


That’s all there is to it – here’s your trolley: get off it.