It’s Thursday night and it’s time to budget for Friday evening.

Uber to an indie concert, walk to the restaurant, grab dessert, drinks and then catch an Uber home. It was a great night but that feeling of a light wallet isn’t so amazing in the morning.

Want to really save money on your next night out? Toronto is a fantastic city for students, so here’s how to enjoy a great night out on a student budget!

Go local

Group of penguins walking in the snow.
You and the squad leisurely walking to your local restaurant and bar.

The absolute best way to save money on transportation is to pick somewhere close by and local. Do your research and you’ll probably find a hidden gem you never knew existed!

Selecting a close local place also means you won’t have to worry about the trip home and can spend more time with your friends.

Take transit

Man wearing bagel sandwich pool floaty standing into front opening and closing subway door.

However, the best attractions and restaurants aren’t always across the street. Sometimes, it’s worth it to take transit rather than pay for an Uber. Transit isn’t the fastest option but it is the cheapest. Not to mention that sweet, sweet two hour transfer.

If you’re not stoked about a 30 minute trip, convince your friends to come with you. Chatting on the bus makes the time fly and you can put that extra cash into your dinner expense.

View the menu online

Woman with pink hair looking at a menu, pausing and giving a hesitant look to the side.
You looking at your friend who forgot to check the menu beforehand.

Before visiting a restaurant take a look at their menu online. Get a sense of the pricing and avoid accidentally ordering something you don’t want (or can’t afford).

This will help you decide on a budget for the night. And, the best way to stick to your budget at a restaurant is to drink water. Two magic words: free hydration.

A soda or mixed drink can run you half of your entrée cost. And you know those sodas are the same ones from the grocery store!

Eat beforehand

It’s all happened to us. You save up to see an amazing show, go to the snack bar and realize the menu is, ahem—fashionably priced. You’re paying Starbucks frappucinno prices for a small coffee and single saltine.

Man and woman holding magnifying glasses and getting closer to miniature food on a miniature table.

Or, the server brings your meal and it’s a dinner for ants. You’d be surprised how pricey three little tacos can be!

The best solution is to enjoy some dinner or a drink beforehand. Make a meal in the microwave and split a six pack of beers amongst your friends before going out.

Then your fancy instagram meal is a second dinner and you won’t go hungry before making it to the club.

Happy hour

Two glasses of beer in front of a blue and pink sign that sparkles with the text "Happy Hour."

Many restaurants have happy hour from Monday-Friday during the late afternoon to early evening, and from 9 p.m. to closing. Various restaurants will have different happy hours, so check their schedule and make a game plan!

Earls Kitchen + Bar and Cactus Club Cafe offers some great deals on their kitchen items. Treat yourself at a nice discount! Food and drinks just taste better during happy hour.

Entertainment offers

Cartoon round dogs bouncing excitedly with discount and sales advertisements on the buildings behind them.

There’s plenty of great bars that don’t charge cover fees. Not to mention, those cover charges could instead go towards another night out!

Plus, many attractions offer student discounts or rush tickets.

Fancy art night? The MOCA has free Friday nights and student general admission at any other time is only $5.

Cute animals and nature? The High Park Zoo is free to the public, plus they’ve got capybaras and West Highland cattle—aka fluffy cows!

How about some beautiful choreography, costumes and music? The National Ballet of Canada offers standing room tickets for only $12. That’s a fantastic deal to see professional dancers!

Well, we hope this helps you save some money and score some great deals the next time you’re ready to tackle another night out on a student budget.

Dress comfortably, count your friends and enjoy your night out budget. Wondering what it’d be like to explore another city? Here’s 6 Canadian cities to consider after graduation.

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