Going out on the town doesn’t have to mean spending your whole paycheck. Your smartphone is a powerful ally when it comes to saving cash at your local bars, restaurants and concert venues. How? It’s simple: money-saving apps. Before you plan your next cocktail meetup, first date or night out with friends, check out some of these apps to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Food and Drink
Whether you’re looking for a simple drink on a weekday night or a five-course meal for your anniversary, use one of these apps to save a few bucks.
Scoutmob operates in a number of major cities and offers deep discounts — sometimes up to 50% — everywhere from coffee shops to nicer restaurants.
2. Blackboard Eats
Not sure where you want to head after work? Blackboard Eats offers suggestions, including specific food discounts. The app also has a built-in tip calculator to help you figure out how to tip on the original total before your huge discount is applied. (Like this idea? Click to tweet!)
Are you always looking for something fun to do? Poggled is a members-only mobile club that offers discounts on unique nightlife events like liquor tastings and concerts. Many of the events in the app are exclusive to Poggled.
4. Daily Gobble
Looking for a discount on dinner, but don’t want to pull out a coupon in front of your date? Daily Gobble offers deep discounts on popular restaurants by reimbursing you later on. To redeem a deal, simply save it in the app, then upload a copy of your bill after you dine.
5. Happy Hour Finder
Need to find somewhere to go with the team after work? Happy Hour Finder can help you find happy hours near your location or any address. You can view deals in list form, or plot them on a map to get a quick look at which ones are closest.
Concert and sporting event tickets are notoriously expensive, with venues rarely offering discounts at the door. Luckily, a few apps help keep those tickets to the big game from doing as much damage to your wallet.
Need a last-minute ticket to the game? Stubhub has a mobile version of its popular web service that allows you to buy discounted tickets from your phone, even minutes before game time from outside the venue. Once you buy, the app displays mobile version of your tickets so you’re ready to go.
7. eSeats Tickets
Before you buy overpriced tickets from a scalper, check out eSeats. The app allows you to buy tickets on the fly that will be waiting for you at Will Call when you arrive.
Broadway tickets don’t have to cost an arm and leg. TodayTix offers last-minute tickets to some of the biggest shows at considerably lower prices. Filter shows by type and price tag, and buy tickets up to seven days in advance. Interested in seeing a particular show? You can also sign up to get an alert when tickets become available.
Not sure what you’re looking to get into tonight? WillCall makes it easy to find concerts, DJs and events near you. Purchase your tickets within the app, and redeem them on mobile — no need for a printer.
Even if you’re not expressly out looking for a deal, some apps offer little-known discounts just for using them. Consider putting these four apps in a folder and quickly checking them for a discount whenever you visit a bar or restaurant. You might be surprised at the deals you find!
Yelp isn’t just for reviewing restaurants anymore. The app offers a check-in feature where you can tell the world (or just your friends on Yelp) you’re at a particular location. Some places offer free appetizers, drinks and discounts just for checking in. Check in every time you visit a favorite establishment to become a regular and unlock even more savings.
11. Foursquare / Swarm
No longer all about check-ins, Foursquare just relaunched itself to focus on reviews. The company also released a companion app called Swarm, which is where checking in at your favorite restaurants and bars can pay off. Use the app to find “specials” near your current location (as well as friends who are nearby). Swarm is fairly new and opinions are mixed so far, but it will be interesting to see whether businesses continue to offer deals ranging from a free drink to a huge discount on your bill.
Did you know you can pay your bill at tons of local restaurants using PayPal? The app now offers an easy way to pay in-store at a number of different locations. Many stores offer discounts ranging from $5 to $10, just for paying your bill using your phone.
Groupon isn’t just for advance planning. The company’s mobile app can offer big savings while you’re already out on the town. Deals vary from day to day, and often require you to take advantage immediately to score a discount, but it’s worth checking the app to see if any new offers have popped up.
Your Turn: What’s your favorite app for saving money on meals and entertainment?
Emily Price is a tech reporter and enthusiast located in the Bay Area. She loves discovering new apps, IPAs and great deals.