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The cliché is that millennials are throwing around piles of cash on brunches and Pret sandwiches. But as far as nights out go, new research suggests that so-called generation Y’ers are actually thriftier than their baby boomer parents.

The study, commissioned by Pro Plus (beloved of students with pressing deadlines) on how social spending habits vary between generations, polled 2000 18- to 34-year-olds to ascertain the costs and components of a millennial night out.


The survey revealed that the average maximum spend for a millennial night out is $48 (with guys spending on average 13.5 per cent more than girls). Compare that to the majority of 55-64 year olds, who the research found would happily spend $120 for a night out.

Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of that age group would be willing to spend as much as $200 on a night out – something only four per cent of money-conscious 18-24 year olds would be prepared to do.

Now of course this has a lot to do with security. The older you are, generally, the more money you earn and the more financially secure you become. Job security, homes, marriages, salaries – they all play a part.

But nightlife habits are changing more drastically than that. Millennials, as we know, are going out less.

A New York Post article described them as “the greatest generation – of couch potatoes”. They’re streaming more television series, spending more time on our phones, socialising via social media, and drinking at home.

A 2016 survey by Heineken found that when we actually put the remote and go outside, 75 per cent of millennials drink “in moderation” – seriously, “moderate alcohol consumption is becoming the new cool”.

There are, of course, economic factors – less job security, lower salaries compared to higher rent, increasingly expensive cities. But consider, also, the decline of nightclubs.  A survey found millennials aged 18 to 35  found that the closure of hundreds of clubs, the smoking ban, improvement to bars following more relaxed licensing laws, has all caused the younger generation to leave the Nineties club scene firmly behind.

According to the  survey, only 53 per cent said clubs were an essential part of a night out, and the vast majority of respondents believed a night in now preferable to a night out.

Bear in mind, that while Gen Xers might have had to get off their sofas to meet a prospective partner, young people can sit comfortably at home on their phones and swipe through hundreds of potential mates via dating apps.

What constitutes a Big Night Out has also changed between generations. Millennials, according to the study, define a night out as an evening which involves buying a new outfit (26 per cent), wearing heels (21 per cent) and attending predrinks (an overwhelming 72 per cent).

The millennial is known for their happy-snapping habits. Almost a quarter of millennials (22 per cent) said selfie-taking was a key component of a night out.

“Despite claims that imply millennials are care-free in their spending habits, the research shows that millennials are much more money savvy than their parents when it comes to having a night out.

“There is no doubt that younger generations, just like their parents, are still looking for great experiences. However, it appears that millennials are finding affordable ways to ‘Live like a Pro’, even on a tight budget.”

-Harriet Marsden

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