/ Money

How a quiet night in could blow your budget

As our budgets continue to stretch, it seems that staying in is becoming the new ‘going out’. This works out nicely for me as I love a good night in. But could staying in be costing more than a night out on the town?

It’s not very ‘hip’ of me, but a cosy night in is my idea of a perfect Saturday night. So I was surprised by the results of a Sheilas’ Wheels survey that found the average Saturday night in is apparently costing hosts as much as £174 each, or £118 on average.

The survey says that approximately £22 per person is being spent on booze and takeaways for a night in watching TV. This compares to just £17 each for a night down the pub, or £22 to eat in a restaurant. This suddenly makes the Saturday night in look a little on the pricey side.

The cost of Saturday night TV

‘So how can a night in cost £118?’ I hear you ask. Well, as social creatures, we prefer to invite our friends to enjoy our evenings with us – leaving us (the generous hosts) to supply drinks and nibbles.

And then we must consider our guests – as apparently they’re spending up to £66 on drinks and taxis for the evening so they can enjoy a drink or two without driving home. So, as thousands of us take to our sofas instead of the tiles to keep costs down, we may be putting ourselves out of pocket.

But here’s where I have a bit of a problem – I can’t comprehend how these figures can be correct. Of course, if I was hosting a party, I’d expect costs to top £118 for alcohol and food, but for a Saturday night in watching TV with my mates? Not even close.

Come on guys, BYOB

In fact, call me ‘Scrooge’ if you will, but I would rarely expect to pay for drinks and takeaway for my friends! I might have a few basic supplies in, but only £20 worth at most. So who are these generous folk spending hundreds of pounds every weekend on feeding and watering their friends? And do they have room for one more?

As the cold weather descends and more of us stay in, will you be having your friends over to watch the Saturday-night TV line up, whether it’s X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing or a film? And will you be treating them to booze and takeaways, or do you prefer to share the bill (like me)?


I have girldfriends coming round for pizza a few times a year and we always share the bill! And they bring a bottle of wine each, so there’s always plenty left over for the hostess as a gift or for the next time. My friends would never come empty-handed or expect me to pay for their pizzas. If dinner is more “formal”, ie if I cook, I won’t expect them to pay a penny towards the grocery bill, but they won’t expect me to provide all the drinks either. £118? I don’t ply them with champagne and foie gras. I really thought what we do was the done thing, and I’m very surprised to hear that some people out there expect to be fed and watered for nothing. I certainly wouldn’t call them friends.

I always bring a decent bottle of wine,
a golden rule I unfailingly abide.

Phil says:
20 October 2012

Instead of buying takeaways, which are full of rubbish anyway, why not try cooking? It works out much cheaper and is a better experience all round.

Blimey – what a way to make me feel cheap! If I’m having a party (lots of people) I’ll usually buy food and some drink, but everyone brings things as well – drinks and nibbles. I’d say for a big party I might spend £118, but I’m usually left with all the leftover bottles of wine.

If I just have friends round to watch a film, I cannot understand how it could possibly cost that much. My friends can eat a fair amount of pizza, but even still everyone would chip in. £20, maximum, I reckon. Unless, as Sophie says, you have *very* expensive taste in snacks =)

Nigella freezes opened unconsumed bottles
of wine guests bring along, in the freezer
for later culinary use… waste not, want not
and very sensible too.

Good tip, Argonaut – I didn’t realise you could freeze wine! As you say, handy for things like stews, spag bol, etc, that often wants a glug or two of wine for flavour.