Remember what happened the last time you had an epic night out? Not your headache the next morning or the embarrassing late-night text messages that you’re sorry / not sorry you sent. The real legacy of that night is the financial hangover that lasted for the rest of the month.

We’re all guilty of this at some point and in varying degrees. Researchers call it hyperbolic discounting, our tendency to want immediate gratification now and then losing out on a greater reward later on. In the case of your night out, the tension lies in whether you want to go big for one night and suffer financially the rest of the month, or hem in your spending when going out, thereby safeguarding your financial peace of mind for the future.

To assist you on this journey to personal financial zen, we’ve lined up some suggestions on how to spend less and still have a great time out. The most important thing is to decide upfront how much money you want to spend, draw that cash amount beforehand and then leave your card at home.

You can’t spend it if you don’t have it and not having your card with you is a practical way of safeguarding yourself against over-spending. A behavioural economics study conducted by Dun & Bradstreet in the USA found that people spend up to 20% more when using cards instead of cash.

Here are five suggestions for making the most of your budgeted cash on the big night out:

1. Pre-drinks
There is something kind of cool about going on a mission together. Maybe it subconsciously reminds us of those hunting expeditions our early forefathers went on? You could tap into this ancient ritual by having everyone meet at someone’s house first, chill out and have some drinks there before heading out. This will get everyone in the mood for the night ahead and also save you a fist full of money right off the bat.

2. Water on Tap
If you’re going to be drinking, try making every other drink a glass of water. Not only will this help stretch your money for the night (tap water is FREE!), it may also prevent you from making regrettable late night spending decisions.

3. Keep it simple
Remember when you were a student or not yet employed? Back then you didn’t have extra cash for fancy drinks with umbrellas in them and foreign names that sounded like exotic islands or a line of obscure poetry. On your big night out, why not keep it simple and only order humble drinks that won’t sink your budget like a B-52 bomber.

4. Bar-flight
Speaking of spending decisions, look around for some specials or deals that you can take advantage of when you’re out. Consider deals offered by restaurants as a way of scoring a cheaper meal and maybe even cheaper drinks. Actually, going to a place that isn’t a bar may in itself help you spend less money since if you’re at the local pub the only thing to do there is drink. However, by going to a restaurant or even a place that offers some kind of activity, you may end up spending less money than when all you’re doing is buying rounds of drinks.

5. Keep it real
When it comes to your money, think soberly and be honest with your friends. Tell them upfront that you’re on a budget and that there is a limit to how much you’re willing to spend on your night out. This avoids any potentially embarrassing situations in the course of the night while also paving the way for you to say no when faced with an option to go do something that you don’t have the cash for.

Probably the greatest benefit of paying cash, beyond all the money you’ll be saving by not over-spending on your card, is the financial self-discipline that you’ll be practicing and learning. So, while your mates may be making it rain for one night your money is growing for a rainy day. Like a Boss!