What a Night Out Really Costs

Written by:

Katie Douglass


August 27, 2020

Last updated

August 12, 2022

Reading time

5 minutes

Katie Douglass

Katie Douglass is the Communications Manager at Oiyo and a writer. In recent years, Katie’s work has appeared in publications such as Marie Claire, InStyle, and THE ICONIC. She has a Bachelor of Creative Industries in Fashion Communication & Journalism from the Queensland University of Technology. At Oiyo, Katie is responsible for overseeing editorial strategy.

We’ve all been there. You wake up after a big night out feeling hungover and dreading the moment you have to check your bank account balance. Whether it’s booze, transport,  late-night feeds, or those hangover snacks — who hasn’t rocked up at McDonald’s the next morning craving greasy fries? There’s no doubt a night out in town is a surefire way to drain your bank balance.

Do you find you save heaps of money during the week by making sure you pack meals instead of buying lunch and catching public transport, yet come Friday you somehow manage to splurge all your savings on a night out? You’re not alone! According to a report by Eventbrite, the average event-goer spends $112.00 AUD on a night out and goes out two nights a week. The report found people had an average of three drinks a night with 18% grabbing five or more drinks while only 6% don’t have any drinks. It also found that we spend the same amount of money on greasy food as we do on public transport to and from a venue.

With COVID-19 restrictions easing in some states, many Aussies are now starting to feel more comfortable “returning to normal” including going out with friends and attending social events. Before you start making plans, find out how much a night out really costs from alcohol and meals to transport. Plus, we’ve provided some helpful tips on how to avoid draining your wallet when you go out.

How much does a night out cost in Australia?

While we can agree that a night out isn’t exactly wallet friendly, you might be surprised to find that the amount Aussies spend actually varies by each state. According to a HomeToGo 2018 report on the best cities for nightlife around the world, a night out in Sydney can set you back $54.52 while Melbourne will cost you $52.12. Melbourne is followed by Adelaide, which is $42.78, while Brisbane will cost you $42.23 and Perth $39.55. However, a more recent study by investment bank UBS found Sydney was the sixth most expensive city in the world to spend a night out in. Based on the cost of club entry fees, two cocktails, a taxi ride and one Big Mac, it costs $86.70 to go out in Sydney.

According to data from Clipp, even spending habits on a night out are different across each suburb. The most expensive suburb in Sydney for a night out is Double Bay at $68.50, while the cheapest was St. Mary’s at $46.25. Brisbane’s CBD was the most expensive at $63.50 while Strathpine will set you back $44. The most expensive in Melbourne was Southbank at $71, compared to $20 at Werribee. Subiaco came out on top in Perth at $69, while the cheapest was Rockingham at $51.20. In Adelaide, North Adelaide was the most expensive at $55.20 and Kilburn the cheapest at $43.70.

You’ll also find rideshare and public transport options also differ by each state. Based on information from The Cusp, here’s a handy table that compares the price of catching an Uber five kilometres from each state’s CBD.

State Uber Cost (approx.) Public Transport Cost (approx.)
Sydney $20 per ride $7 total
Melbourne $15 per ride $8 total
Brisbane $17 per ride $9 total
Perth $12 per ride $8 total
Adelaide $14 per ride $7 total

*Prices are subject to change over time. 

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Quick facts:

  • Sydney is the only Australian city listed in the top 100 most expensive cities.
  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed the full-time adult average weekly total earnings in May 2020 was $1,771.
  • The average event-goer spends $112 on a night out and goes out two nights a week.

6 Tips to Help You Save Money On a Night Out

According to Mozo, research shows that Aussies spend an upward of $30 billion on restaurant dinners, drinks at the bar, smokes, and gambling in just a 12-month period. That’s a whole lot of money! If you want to avoid the dreaded financial hangover after a big night out, check out some tips we’ve gathered to help you curb costs.

1. Bring cash instead of card

The tap-and-go culture is both a blessing and a curse. It makes purchasing super convenient, especially when all you have to do is tap your card or even just hover your phone with Apple Pay. However, it also makes it very easy to lose track of and forget how much you’re spending when you’re going out and hopping from one bar to another. We recommend setting a budget before you go out, bringing with you a certain amount of cash and leaving the card home to help curb your spending. If you run out of cash, then it’s a pretty good sign to stop the drinks!

2. Eat and drink before you go out

Avoid forking out money on overpriced drinks and food by eating and having a drink at home before you leave. If you find yourself still hungry when you’re out, see if you can split a meal with a friend or buy an appetiser.

3. Avoid expensive drinks

No matter how fancy that cocktail might look, those drinks end up being a super easy way to lose money. Most drinks at bars and nightclubs are heavily marked up, so opt for cheaper alcohol such as beer or a vodka mix.

4. Plan transport in advance

If you plan on drinking on a night out, make sure you figure out how you’ll get home. If it’s a safe option and you feel comfortable, taking public transport is the cheapest way to get home. Otherwise, find out if one of your friends doesn’t want to drink and is willing to be the designated driver. If you still want to get a rideshare, consider opting for Uber Pool instead of Uber where you can split costs with other passengers.

5. Avoid buying rounds

Do you find yourself always shouting the first round of drinks? It might be best to stop this practice (as generous as it is!) or let someone else buy the first round. While it can save time waiting at the bar, buying a round will easily drain your bank account. Whether it’s your friends forgetting to pay you back or not getting the next set of rounds, it can be hard to keep track of who owes what so it’s best to stick with buying your own drink.

6. Stock up on late-night (and hangover) snacks

I think it’s fair to say it’s a rite of passage to either do a Maccas run or grab a kebab before you head off home after a night out, but this will eat up your bank account. Try to avoid forking out another $10-$30 by instead stocking up on midnight snacks at home whether it’s frozen pizza, leftover pasta, or toasties. Your bank account (and future self) will thank you.

Remember, it’s never too late to start saving money and take charge of your finances. If you want more helpful insights and tips on how to manage your money, check out some of our other articles. From how to consolidate your super to making money transfers, there’s plenty of information to help kickstart your finance journey! 

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