What do people spend money on when they go out Saturday night? I went to a variety of locations to ask a variety of people. I hit Horton Plaza downtown, the Belmont Park roller coaster in Mission Beach, and the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, and I headed east to the Grossmont Trolley Center.
A number of people I approached ignored me. They thought I was going to either beg for money or try to sell them a cell phone. Others let me ask my question but responded with a statement along the lines of "You don't want to hear about my weekends — they're boring." Those people mentioned doing housework, hanging out with their kids, or watching TV.
Many people said they went to a movie on Saturday night. I didn't want to fill the story with only moviegoers, but it's safe to say that's the most common thing San Diegans do when they hit the town.
Marital status: Single
Home: Toronto, Canada
Work: Retired executive director of secure facility for young offenders
Total cost: $20
I don't want to sound too boring, but I watch TV on Saturday night. I'm a big hockey fan. I used to be a bigger fan and would go to the games on Saturday night. But the game has gotten so rough and gotten away from the skill involved. I still go to some games on Saturday nights, but usually I just watch them on TV. I may go to a baseball game on a Saturday afternoon. Watching TV is free, so I don't spend money when I'm home.
I'm here on vacation, and I like walking around the outdoor malls. The weather is so nice here, and I like to people-watch. Obviously, it doesn't cost any money to do that. I may go walk around Seaport Village. I will have dinner somewhere on Saturday night while on vacation. That would probably cost less than $20.
Marital status: Married, with two kids
Work: DJ and AT&T employee
Total cost: $130.50
If I'm not DJing, I'm with the family. I might spend $100 or $150 on a night out. We go to movies, dinner, and there's the cost of gas. There are four of us, so dinner might be about $80. The movie tickets -- we need two adults and two kids. That's around $31.50. We'll sometimes buy the popcorn and Cokes [$3.00 for one small Coke, $3.50 for one small popcorn]. Maybe two popcorns and four Cokes. It all adds up.
Marital status: Divorced
Home: San Diego
Total cost: $40
When my daughter was younger, we might go see a movie. Sometimes we still do. That's $18 for two tickets. Other times we just jump in the car and drive around and get dinner somewhere. That's around $30. Now that she just got her own car, we do less of that. She's out driving around on her own or with her friends. Since I'm going to school again, a lot of times I'll just rent two DVDs [$8] and study. Once in a while on a Saturday night, me and my friends will go clubbing. That's usually $20 to get in, and if I buy a couple of drinks, that's another $20.
Work: Student at Mount Carmel High School
Total cost: $60
The two main things my friends and I do is either go to Tijuana or go to see a band play. For the bands, it's either SOMA or the Epicentre in Mira Mesa. The cover charge varies, but it's usually around $8 to get in. The other thing we like to do is go to T.J. Some Saturday nights, I'll only spend $10 down there. But if we go do a lot of stuff down there, it could end up costing more. If we go to a few different strip clubs, and we're throwing money at the dancers and buying lots of drinks, that might cost me $60 or $70.
Trista and Ray Perez
Ages: 31 and 33
Home: Las Vegas
Work: Own a graphic design studio
Total cost: $64
Trista says, "We usually go out and listen to live music in Vegas. It's not like we're hanging out in casinos just because they are all over the place. It's usually $35 or less for the national acts that we like. Local bands are a lot cheaper. We've found that when the bigger-name bands play here [in San Diego], it's a lot cheaper. The concert tonight [the Raveonettes at 'Canes] was only $12 a ticket. When we got here at 7:30, though, they wouldn't let us in. They said they weren't open yet. We've also found that when we're here, places seem to close so early. In Las Vegas, everything is open all the time."
Ray adds, "We have three kids, but now that our oldest is 14, we don't need to hire a babysitter anymore. Tonight, we ended up having dinner and drinks across the street at Coaster Saloon. That was around $40. We walked on the beach a little before coming into the concert."
Jeff and Catherine Jefferson
Ages: 69 and 45
Home: Mira Mesa
Work: He's retired military/engineer
Total cost: $15
Catherine says, "Usually on Saturday nights, we sit around the idiot box. The nightlife in Mira Mesa pretty much sucks. Sometimes we go to a coffee shop to see somebody sing. Sometimes I'll be singing at a place as well. Other times we might go to karaoke, which is fun. All of that is relatively cheap. A coffee shop might have a cover, but usually it's free. We'll buy a few cappuccinos and pastries. That might cost $15. Other Saturday nights, I'm working on my songs in my home studio. That doesn't cost anything but the electricity we use."
Marital status: Divorced
Work: Retired military, currently an account manager