How to NOT Let Partying Get in The Way of Your Goals

(Guest post from Martin (above) of Studenomics. Who I’ve had the pleasure of partying with many a times over the years, even though he makes me feel like an old man each time ;))

Shots, shots, shots!

Sound familiar? Having shots with friends is fun. The night gets silly and the party gets wild. We all love going out with our friends. It gives us something to look forward to. After working hard all week, we can’t help but meet up with friends to have some drinks.

But, what about saving money and all of that other fun stuff? Is there time for it? Does getting wasted get in the way of your other goals?

Good questions.

I’m here to help you out because I know that you want to still keep on going out while you save money and try to get ahead in life. There’s no fun in financial advice that suggests you always stay at home.

“Drunkenness is nothing else but a voluntary madness.” — Seneca

Does going out get in the way of your goals?

It can. It will. Don’t let it.

You can’t let partying affect your goals. That’s your job. There are many pros and cons to having an active social life. Some of my best friends I’ve met over drinks or at random places. I’ve come to notice that lots of business and networking happens after hours in the lounge too.

For example, I recently became friends with a cool dude who happens to be on the World Poker Tour over some drinks. You can meet so many interesting new people and you never know how you can help someone out (or how they can help you). Plus, it’s good for the soul to be around your friends. Life can get lonely if you always stay at home.

On the flip side, drinking is expensive and can get you into a lot of trouble. I imagine that most of us don’t go around screaming or knocking things over when dead sober. Drinking can also take a toll on your health. All internal issues aside, nobody wants a disgusting beer belly.

The truth on drinking is simple: It will hurt your goals. There’s no way around this. You won’t get in better shape or save more money if you continue drinking on a daily basis.

However, if done right, you can go out, get drunk, have a blast, create memories, and then move on without stress about debt or getting fat.

How NOT to screw yourself over

I want you to have fun. I know that you won’t take any financial advice seriously when it suggests that you restrict everything.

So how do you maintain an active social life where you drink, with real life and moving forward?

  1. Get everything done first. Don’t wait until you’re drunk to get to work. Get things done first. Then go out. Reward yourself. If you party first you won’t get anything done.
  2. Be proactive. If you know you’re going to get hungover, prepare some Advil and water for yourself when you get home. The more water you drink before bed, the better you will feel the next day.
  3. ALWAYS TAKE OUT CASH. Don’t ever rely on your credit or debit card for a night out. Pull out cash before the night begins. Set your limit. We all know what happens after a few drinks, we get generous! We buy drinks for the whole bar and we wake up to an insane credit card bill. Don’t let that happen. Hit the ATM before you go out. Take out enough money for drinks and a ride home.
  4. Limit your going out. Plan it out in advance so that you know what to look forward to. For me, this happens on Wednesday nights. I also try to limit the amount of times that I go out depending on my budget. If I get too carried away with my cash one night, I use the next night to stay in and catch up on work.
  5. Be the DD. I love being the designated driver. I find that I behave pretty much the same sober vs. being drunk, only with a slightly higher filter. Drive once in a while so your friends can let loose.
  6. Stay in shape. If you start working out and eating better, you won’t be as tempted to drink so much because you won’t want to miss your workout. If you hate the gym, don’t worry because the world is your gym.

There you have it. That’s how you can still go out for drinks and not feel guilty. There’s no time to feel guilty!

“Always remember, that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.” — Winston Churchill

Guest post from Martin of Studenomics, where he shows you how to save a ton of money without ever missing out on life. (And also how to take “selfies” while at the bar ;))

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  1. Simon @ Modest Money August 1, 2013 at 6:28 AM

    Easier said than done :) Most of the times I find myself “dragged” to this and that happening joint…it does take some discipline to say no to your co-workers and friends! I could really use #3!

    1. J. Money August 1, 2013 at 6:49 AM

      It’s even harder when your BOSS forces you to go out! :) I remember literally having to say no and that I’d wait out side for them when it was “mandatory” that I go to the strip clubs for “team building”, haha… It’s funny to look back at those days knowing that we were such in our own weird little bubble at that start up. Who does that???

      1. Martin August 1, 2013 at 12:40 PM

        Wow! When writing this article, that’s one aspect I did NOT think of at all. Interesting. There was no way out?

        1. J. Money August 2, 2013 at 3:15 PM

          Yeah there was – I waited outside and then found myself a local bar and had a beer instead :) Which they joined me at afterwards. I wasn’t going to lose that battle.

  2. Free Money Minute August 1, 2013 at 7:20 AM

    Very good advice to keep the balance in your financial life. It doesn’t have to be a choice between saving for retirement or living now. If you work hard and are reasonable, you can enjoy your life today and save for tomorrow all at the same time. #3 above is probably the best advice… takes some sexy budgets ahead of time to bring the right amount of cash!

    1. J. Money August 1, 2013 at 9:30 AM

      Yeah for sure – #3 was my fave too. Whether it’s going out drinking or to any other party/get together/festival/etc. So easy to get caught up in stuff once you’re there and having a blast.

      1. Martin August 1, 2013 at 12:41 PM

        Want to hear something funny? I went out with $20 last night and I spent $30. Guess how? I found a $20 on the floor lol!

        1. J. Money August 8, 2013 at 3:26 PM


  3. David Hunter August 1, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    I’m sure glad I don’t drink alcohol! One less thing I have to worry about. :-D

    1. J. Money August 1, 2013 at 9:36 AM

      True, but what about all that crack you smoke? ;)

      1. David Hunter August 1, 2013 at 4:17 PM

        Haha! The only think I get high on is life.

        Live Life Adventurously! :-)

  4. Debt Blag August 1, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    One big thing is telling people you’re not going to drink that much and giving a legitimate excuse (it’ll interfere with medication, I have to do xxx in the morning, etc.) so that you have someone else helping you. After all, it’s much tougher to make smart decisions when you’ve had a couple.

    1. J. Money August 1, 2013 at 9:42 AM

      Ooooh I like that medication one! The “i have to do stuff later” one never works with my gang of friends, haha… but the med one would :)

    2. Tara @ Streets Ahead Living August 1, 2013 at 9:57 AM

      Great call! A little white lie in the name of health is a good way to get out of spending.

      1. Martin August 1, 2013 at 12:43 PM

        I find that being the DD works for me. When I force myself to drive, I can’t even think about alcohol.

  5. John S @ Frugal Rules August 1, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    I was so guilty of #3 while in college. It’s probably a good thing I was too drunk to remember how much booze I put on my credit cards…if I could only go back and smack my younger self silly.

    1. Martin August 1, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      Ouch. Credit cards are a killer at the bar, but I don’t have to tell you that. The worst one is when you put the bill on your credit and your friends give you the cash. The odds are that you’re going to spend that cash before you make it happen. Then you still got that credit card bill to deal with.

  6. No Waste August 1, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    If I could add…a terrific way to curb your drinking budget is to have two very young children.

    But oh boy how I used to love partaking in that sweet, sweet nectar of the undergrads.

    Also, when I hit 30, my recovery time went from three hours to three phases of the moon.

      1. Martin August 1, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        Don’t even scare me with thinking about 30!

        1. J. Money August 2, 2013 at 3:16 PM

          I’ll second that 30 talk. Enjoy it while you can, Martin!! :)

  7. Holly@ClubThrifty August 1, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    Yep! This has happened to me many times. I think that being the DD is a great choice. You save money on drinks and help keep your friends safe.

    1. Martin August 1, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      I love being the DD. It’s a good feeling to know that everyone is getting home safely.

  8. Erin August 1, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    I almost exclusively drink soda water with lime – the bartenders, if they charge at all, will usually only for the first one, and then you’ll get free refills all night long. I just make sure to tip really well – like give them $20 at the end of the night, and tell them to keep the change. (It’s still WAY cheaper than if I had 3 or more drinks.) Also, it LOOKS like you’re drinking a cocktail, so nobody gets up in your grill about not drinking, and it keeps you hydrated! And if you’re trying to watch your figure, it has zero calories, and if you stay sober, you’re less likely to indulge in stupid decisions like, “You know what I really want right now? Nachos!”

    1. Martin August 1, 2013 at 12:51 PM

      Oh that’s for sure. When I’m sober I always eat well. No excuses. Then after a few drinks, fries and pizza sound enticing! It’s horrible. And that’s a great drink. My preference is on the water and lemon.

    2. J. Money August 2, 2013 at 3:17 PM

      Great idea!

  9. Jake @ Common Cents Wealth August 1, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    These are great tips. I went out quite a bit during college, but the college bars were cheap so that was nice. Now, most of my friends are as cheap as me so we normally just hang out at someones house and drink instead of going out. This saves everyone a lot of money.

    1. J. Money August 2, 2013 at 3:18 PM

      Agreed – unless you’re out to look for girls ;) Then it doesn’t work out so well, haha…

  10. Martin August 1, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    I know what you mean. There are some college bars that charge $2 a drink. Damn.

  11. Giddings Plaza FI August 1, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Going out with friends–eating and drinking–is really my one-and-only money waster. I am on a quick road to financial independence, pretty close, in fact. But, I love socializing, and drinking with friends–both old and new–is an easy way to relax and bond. If I gave this up, I’d get to FI that much more quickly. But, this is one of life’s pleasures, and I’m not willing to give it up, even to save money. (

    1. J. Money August 2, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      Good for you! You need an outlet anyways, I’d do the same thing.

  12. Romona Bradham(@monasez) August 1, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Great tips. Another thing people should consider is who you take out partying with you. From a financial standpoint, I had to stop going out with my broke friends because I always ended up paying for their drinks and the cover charges. I guess I’m just a generous

    1. Martin August 1, 2013 at 5:50 PM

      Broke friends are a killer. It gets awkward when you’re buying drinks and they have their hands in their pockets.

  13. Financial Samurai August 1, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Love it! Party on Martin! Who knows what the night will bring :)

    1. Martin August 1, 2013 at 5:49 PM

      Good to see you on here Sam!

  14. Done by Forty August 1, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    I love the advice but find that I over-tip when using cash, as I’m tipping way too high a percentage for each drink. I like using a card as I can leave a single tip that seems appropriate for the amount spent and the work the bartender did.

    1. Martin August 1, 2013 at 5:49 PM

      The trick is to order rounds!

  15. Martin August 1, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    Btw, I can’t believe J used that picture. That’s from 2010, in Cuba. So that’s why I’m so tanned.

    1. J. Money August 2, 2013 at 3:21 PM

      (Don’t lie – you love that I used that pic :))

  16. Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) August 1, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    Haha great post. I hate going out (seriously my husband literally has to drag me to parties) but I love staying in with a nice glass of red wine. Basically, I’m the coolest person ever. ;)

    1. J. Money August 2, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      No wayyyy – you?? I would have NEVER guessed that. You seem totally sociable and would hit the town! I’m gonna have to join your husband in helping to drag you if we ever met in real life one day ;)

  17. Riot August 1, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    I love being the designated driver too. My friends are a bit ahead of me in their careers and have nicer cars, so I’m glad to grab the keys at the end of the night! (Of course, keeping everyone safe is top priority.)

    1. J. Money August 2, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      Haha, that’s awesome. Sweet perk indeed :)

      1. Martin August 2, 2013 at 8:48 PM

        That’s really FUNNY! One of my buddies has a Hummer. I got to get him wasted.

  18. Sense August 2, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    Ugh, for reals, alcohol is the WORST! for goals. Hangovers are 3 days for me now that I am in my mid-30’s, which means that I get nothing done for the rest of the weekend after drinking on Friday evening. I’m at the point now where ANY alcohol makes me less than my best the next day.

    The best advice I can give is to be a total lightweight. The other night with no food beforehand, two 7% beers did me IN. I love it. Such a cheap drunk! And once I’ve eaten and drunk a lot of water, there was barely a hangover the next day.

    The medication thing works but then you have to explain why you’re on antibiotics…I had giardiasis recently from fieldwork and then everyone wants to know what that does to you. AWKWARD.

    1. J. Money August 2, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      Haha I could see that…. going now to go google it too and see what it is ;)

  19. Alexis Marlons August 5, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    I do plan a night out and that is usually after I am finish with my work. This serves as a reward for myself, but I do know my limitations.

  20. Mary Anne @ BillGuard August 7, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    If you’re trying to save money, I recommend joining friends or coworkers when they go out, but ordering a Diet Coke or a water instead of an alcoholic drink. You’ll still get the same social interaction, but without enduring the high prices. Plus, like you said, your friends will love you for volunteering to be the designated driver.