Yes, I know.
There’s still a little too much month left. And for me, several trips to the physio and treatments to try and fix a dodgy calf have added to the purse strains. So, in the spirit of being skint but still keeping the romance alive, here are some suggestions for a date , or just a night out with your mates.
It’s still doable. I promise.
1. Take advantage of offers.
Ok, I know this is preaching to the converted (I hope), but January sees a glut of offers from restaurants, bars and clubs. Take advantage of 50% off, or 2 for 1 or reduced prices. I’ve listed some sites below that have details of offers available in Manchester and the surrounds for this month and most of them run until 31st January, some of them a little longer.
Mr GFB and I are taking advantage of a couple ourselves, including the tasting menu at James Martin Manchester, £30 for 6 courses. Yes please, thank you.
2. You don’t have to do dinner.
There are lots of places – Michelin starred venues, independent venues and chains that are doing fantastic lunch offers. Can’t afford to take your date to dinner? Go to lunch, go for a walk afterwards, maybe a drink nearby. Quality time, over quantity of cash.
For example, Manchester House (when it reopens on 20 January) does lunch at 2 courses for £27.50, 3 courses for £32.50 or 6 courses for £60. 3 courses plus wine flight is £35. Compare this to a single main at dinner from £24 – hello bargain.
Media City is on the case too, Damson Media City is offering a lunch and pre-theatre menu (5.00pm – 6.30pm Monday to Saturday, all day Sunday) with 2 Courses for £16.95 and 3 Courses at £19.95.
Away from the posh options, Splendid Kitchen is doing a great lunch offer, that’s running all year, items are £5 or less, so you can afford to splurge on a beer or two with your soul food.
Common‘s Sweet Deals, are just that with Burger & Side/Sandwich & Side/Taco & Side/Salad & Side all £7.95 each Monday to Friday. And I’m rather a fan of Velvet who have lots of deals to keep you happy, whatever the time of day.
3. You don’t have to drink at the venue.
A controversial one maybe, but this actually comes from a chef, who in his younger days, couldn’t afford to spend vast amounts on dinner in competitors restaurants to see what they were doing. One colleague simply suggested drinking water with the meal, saving the £30+ they would have spent on wine.
There is always the option of going somewhere before or after where there is a drinks promotion on, or even just a single glass of wine with dinner – £7 for a glass versus £30 for a bottle? Yes, I know it’s better value for the bottle sometimes, but sometimes counting those extra pennies helps you make it through the month. I mean £23 is lunches, coffees or tram fare, right?
4. You don’t have to dine out.
Have a lazy afternoon in the pub and take advantage of drinks offers – you can always have a butty before you go out. Or hit the museums or art galleries – we have such a fantastic heritage, take advantage of it. Admittedly, Whitworth Art Gallery is still being refurbished, but Manchester Art Gallery, the People’s History Museum, Manchester Museum, MOSI, National Football Museum and IWM North all have some fantastic exhibitions on at the moment.
Go for a coffee and a gossip and if you need a feed, fish and chips in the park on a chilly day can be perfect.
5. Staying in isn’t all that bad.
Pick a mates house and go round with a bottle and have a potluck supper, where everyone makes something.
Go and buy some cheese, a fresh baguette or two, butter from the fridge and have a living room picnic (it’s a little chilly outside for that yet).
Visit friends, download a movie (legally please, thank you), and buy a big bucket of popcorn, or a giant bag of nachos and salsa, or if you’re me, a box of Malteasers.
Or raid some of that booze from Christmas, and have a cocktail party of sorts.
We’ve two weeks to go til payday. Let’s do it in as much style as we can afford.