When you reach the age where most of your friends aren’t broke anymore, the simple text message “Let’s meet up” can be a loaded one.
Go to a chichi restaurant for dinner, and then follow up with bespoke cocktails at a bar with no menu, and you could easily find yourself spending more than you’d have imagined in the days when McDonald’s was considered a legit meetup location.
Here are four rules you should play by if you don’t want to go broke in a single night.
Know your drink maximum
Alcohol is mad expensive in Singapore, but there’s often nothing more satisfying than a cold glass of beer on a balmy evening.
Drinking can often spiral out of control when you’ve had one glass too many, and before you know it you’ve swiped your card a few times too many.
It helps to always know your drink maximum—the point at which you’re agreeably buzzed, and after which things start to go downhill, and every additional alcoholic beverage is no longer really worth the price you pay for it.
For most people of average alcohol tolerance, depending on how much they’ve eaten before, a comfortable drink maximum is between two to three pints of beer. You may not exactly be puking or blacking out if you have one more, but you could stop and have a perfectly nice time, too.
It’s infinitely easier to give yourself a defined number of drinks for the night than to tell yourself you’ll stop when you feel like it.
Set an alarm for when to go home
Taxis in Singapore may not cost as much as they do in New York or London, but if you take cabs every single night, it really adds up. Spending close to $1,000 a month on taxis is not unheard of in Singapore, as crazy as it sounds.
On nights when you want to catch public transport, check the time of the last bus or train and then set an alarm on your phone alerting you to when you need to leave, giving yourself a bit of extra time to say your goodbyes.
Research where to eat and drink before meeting your friends
There are always times when your friends invite you out for a meal without deciding where to go. You meet in a particular area—Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, Tiong Bahru and so on—and then you wander around looking for a place that looks good.
This heightens your chances of going somewhere with bad, overpriced food and only finding out about happy hour when it’s over.
The solution is to always, always do research on where to eat and drink before you meet. There are so many food bloggers posting menu prices, and objective reviews can be found on sites like HungryGoWhere, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding information about eateries in most areas.
To be safe, come up with several places within your pricepoint, so your friends won’t feel like they’re being forced to go to a place that you and you alone chose.
Considering Singapore is basically one big shopping mall, those with a weakness for impulse shopping meet temptation everywhere they turn.
If that sounds like you, you need to lay down a no-browsing rule. You will enter shops only when you have something specific you need to buy, and never just to have a browse.
Browsing tends to happen when you’re waiting for a friend to show up, or have some time in between two appointments. Keep yourself busy by bringing along a book, playing Pokemon Go, or whatever else it takes to keep you out of the shops when you don’t absolutely need to be in them.
How do you keep costs down when you go out? Tell us in the comments!