Day 17: Go out without being fleeced

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Christmas drinksPA

The Christmas party season is upon us. Tis the season to get dressed up to the nines, squeeze into a packed venue, and drink and eat until you either burst or fall over.

There's nothing like a good Christmas party. And if you're fleeced in the process, it'll be nothing like a good Christmas party. So how do you stay safe?

There are five common ways to be parted from your cash when you're out having a good time which will leave you with a bad taste in your mouth the following morning. It's worth being aware of them all before you set foot outside.

1. Beware of 'special events'

Christmas is a classic, but it's not alone. New Years Eve, New Year's Day, Easter, Valentine's Day: they all come with special menu and so-called deals. However, by far the majority of them are much more meager than the normal menu. You may get a 'free' cracker or glass of bubbly, but you can be sure you'll be offered the cheapest dishes on the menu and charged handsomely for the privilege. Its worth avoiding these 'specials' like the plague if you can.

2. Beware of the 'second cheapest'

Whether you are ordering food or wine, there's one trick it's worth being aware of. The second cheapest thing on the menu will be an utter rip off. Businesses work on the basis that you don't want to seem like a tightwad, so won't buy the cheapest thing. You buy the second-cheapest instead, so that's where they put the biggest mark-ups on the menu.

3. Beware of the 'cheapest'

Sadly you won't do much better by sticking to the cheapest thing on the menu. That bowl of soup and vegetarian pasta dish may be the cheapest, but given the fact each costs less than £1 to make, and sells for several times that, you may well find you're getting the least for your money too.

4. Beware the extras

Are you offered a glass of bubbly when you reach your seat? How about a salad or a side of garlic bread? These are by far the most overpriced things on the menu and they will push your bill up into the stratosphere without you even noticing you have had them.

5. Take care towards the end of the night

We don't make our best decisions when we have had something to drink. Try to keep your wits about you when your friends suggest a cycle rickshaw or a round of cocktails. It's these things that could end up breaking the bank.

Likewise, make sure you have your eye on your personal possessions, so your Christmas night out doesn't end in complete disaster.

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