By Jesse Collier. Updated May 2017.
Disclaimer: We know that students often spend a lot of money on drinking and going out to the clubs or bars. This guide is not meant to encourage this behavior, but instead to give tips on how to save money while drinking responsibly and while drinking on a budget.
Students who drink and go out know the feeling of waking up the next morning and checking their wallets, only to discover that their hard-earned cash is gone.
On a typical night out, costs can go as a high as $90 on drinks, tickets, and events. A key way to avoid these expensive nights is to pre-drink at your house or someone else’s place.
By not pre-drinking at a club or bar, you won’t have to rush to drink as much as you can and it will be easier on your wallet too.
We realize however, that this may not be the funnest way to go out so we created this guide to make sure you have a stellar night while drinking on a budget.
Why Pre-Drink at Home?
While some of these tips may be obvious to y’all, it helps to add a bit of rationale behind drinking at home and to highlight the pros and cons of it.
Saving Money While Drinking on a Budget
Saving money is probably the biggest advantage to pre-drinking at home.
While a glass of Jack and Coke and one for your friend can cost upwards of $20, a whole bottle of Jack and a 2 liter bottle of coke will cost you about $25.
Buying your own drinks at the store will definitely help you while you’re drinking on a budget.
Buying bottles of alcohol will also ensure you pre-drink at home, because who brings a two-six of Jack to a bar? Then you can also enjoy the club without lugging around a bunch of drinks.
You’re in Control
Pre-drinking at home also lets you stay in control of how much you drink. A lot of people tend to get caught up in the bar or club scene and keep ordering drinks while not keeping track of them.
Bars and clubs sometimes have “heavy pours” as well, meaning that one standard drink could be up to two or three.
Socializing with Friends
We have all tried to scream louder than the music at the club or bar in order to talk with our friends.
You’re trying to say something to your friend, and they can’t hear you or see your awkward hand signals.
Pre-drinking at home lets you get your message across without looking like a weird mime.
Damages and Spills
No one wants to wake up to discover someone spilled their whole beer on the floor and now it’s sticky everywhere.
If you don’t want people to go upstairs or in specific rooms, lock the doors or block the stairs with some furniture and it will give them the impression that going up is a big no.
Make sure to also lock away any valuables in one of the higher-up rooms and make sure your mini-fridge is easily accessible. You should probably stock up on Red Solos and paper towels while you’re at it.
It’s Easy to Drink Too Much
Finally, it’s easy to grab a bottle of OJ and some Vodka and get lost in making mixed drinks.
Getting super drunk never did you or anyone else any favors though. It can also lead to some pretty hefty ambulance and hospital fees if it gets to that point, and is definitely not good if you’re drinking on a budget.
Before drinking too much, just remember you actually have to get into the club or bar too and people will see when you have drank too much.
What to Buy
No one wants to have to host a party AND fund everyone’s booze habits as well. Drinking at home before going out means to bring your own booze (BYOB).
Make sure you send a clear message to everyone about bringing their own booze, or if you plan on making some mixed drinks, get everyone to pay for their drinks or contribute some ingredients.
Beer drinkers have an advantage here. It can be considerably cheaper to buy a 24 of beer than a tall bottle of liquor.
One 12 oz can of beer is about the same as a standard drink, so beer drinkers usually don’t drink as fast. Another good thing about beer is that it won’t sneak up on you unless you chug it.
Buy Plastic Cups
Buying plastic cups helps to reduce the amount of spills and breaking of valuables.
It is easy to serve a lot of people that way as well, because plastic cups usually come in large packs. Consider getting tablecloths or extra towels just in case!
Plastic cups will also come in handy for a lot of drinking games too!
Find the Sales
When you go to prepare for a night of drinking, you want to save money, especially when drinking on
a budget. That means finding sales on liquor and other supplies.
Stores always have deals on beer and coolers. If you like hard alcohol, look for bottles that have taster bottles attached to them, or don’t be afraid to buy a cheaper brand too.
Check out what sales are going on in your local stores in order to get a good bang for your buck.
Recipes for a good night
There’s nothing like a party without some mixed drinks that guarantee a good night.
Below you will find a list of our favorite drinks, from best party drinks to personal cocktails. Everyone always loves someone who can make drinks, so get in the kitchen and impress your friends with these delicious beverages.
Jungle juice gets its name from soldiers in WWII that would be in the jungle and would need to make a good concoction. That means you can literally put any type of booze in the drink, along with some fruit.
We recommend getting a large container, such as an ice chest, and making it in there. Like I said, jungle juice can be made with literally any type of spirit, such as rum, vodka, or gin, but here’s a basic recipe:
- Any type of spirit – rum, vodka, gin etc.
- Fruit juice
Get large bottles of fruit juice and mix those in with your chosen spirit. Chop up some strawberries, oranges, or other fruit and toss them in there too. Here’s another recipe that will fill a crowd and is also good for when you’re drinking on a budget.
Long Island Iced Tea
This is one of those all-in drinks that is good if you want to get lit fast and have a bunch of different spirits lying around. Before you go rooting through your alcohol reserves though, check out this recipe to make it the right way.
- 1/2 ounce vodka
- 1/2 ounce tequila
- 1/2 ounce rum
- 1/2 ounce gin
- 1/2 ounce Triple-Sec (orange flavored)
- 1 ounce sweet and sour mix
- 1 ounce coke
- 1 lemon wedge, for taste (and looks!)
Pour all of the ingredients except the coke and lemon wedge into a cocktail shaker, shake well, then pour into a tall glass with ice. Add the coke and lemon wedge to top it off.
Rum and Root Beer
A good hard root beer has always been a personal favorite of mine. Root beer is surprisingly underestimated as a mix that can go well with almost any type of alcohol.
You want to pick a darker rum, such as Kraken Black Rum or some Captain Morgan will do as well.
A Kick in the Crotch Shots
You can’t start the night off drinking without a good shot. This one is tasty, and is a hit with the ladies as well.
- 1 1/2 ounce vodka
- 1 ounce blue curacao
- 1 1/2 ounce cranberry juice
Mix together in a tall shot glass. It’s one of the best drinks you’ll try. Shots up!
Best Drinking Games
No night drinking is complete without some party games that everyone can get into. Drinking games are essential to making sure everyone has something to do at your party.
Drinking games have become a staple at any party, however you won’t have to succumb to peer pressure if you don’t want to. People won’t know if you’re only drinking Coke unless you tell them!
Apart from the classic Beer Pong and Slap Cup, here are some drinking games you may have not heard of.
This one is good for around 5-6 people, and is good if you just finished off a pizza, because you will need a pizza box and a Sharpie as well.
Start off with everyone sitting around a table, and put the pizza box in the middle.
Get a bottle cap or a coin will do as well. The youngest player goes first. They flip the cap into the pizza box. If it goes into the box, draw a circle around the cap where it landed (the circle can be as big as you want).
Pick someone’s name from the group and write it in the circle. If that person’s name is already in a different circle, then make up a rule.
Rules can be about anything, so you can target a person, or apply them to the whole group. If the cap happens to go out of the box on the flip, the person gets only one more chance to flip before they have to pass it on.
Play goes around the circle, with each person flipping the cap into the box. If it lands in a circle with someones name in it, that person has to drink. If it lands in a “rule” circle, that person must follow that rule.
In this one, there are two pennies and two cups. Two people at a time take turns to try to bounce the penny off of the table into the cup.
Once they get it in on the first try, they can pass to the person on the left. If they miss it, they drink and keep trying to get it in.
If someone gets it in on their first try three times, they get to make up a new rule. Rules stack up, so there are infinitely many rules that can be in play.
Drinking Games Based on Movies/Video Games
These are great games if you and your friends have more time to play. Be prepared to power up in “Beerio Kart”, or watch a full season of Game of Thrones in “Iron Throne”. These games can be easily switched around depending on your preferences!
This game has also been called “Don’t Drink and Drive”, among other names. You will need a copy of Mario Kart to play along with.
This game requires you to drink a full beer in the duration of a Mario Kart race. You cannot have your hands on the controller when you drink. There are many variations of this game, including:
- You have to take an extra shot of beer if you get hit by an item
- You must pull all the way over to the side to drink
- If someone doesn’t finish their beer during the race or comes last in the race, then they must take a shot of liquor
Get ready for a marathon of Game of Thrones. This game starts at episode 1, season 1, and goes to the end of episode 9, season 1. You will need a lot of empties (cans mostly) and plastic cups. Take 2 or 3 drinks out of a plastic cup, then use another one.
- Someone says “Winter is Coming”
- A woman or man is naked
- Daenerys says “Khaleesi”
- Someone says “Valyrian Steel”
- People have sex (2 drinks if it’s incest!)
- Tyrion drinks
- Swords are drawn
- 2 drinks if ANY king or claimant to the Iron Throne dies
Finish your drink when:
- Tyrion beds a wench
- Someone gets beheaded
At the end of all of the episodes, take all of the empties and make a throne out of them to pay the ultimate price for trying to take the Iron Throne.
Drink to the Future
In this game, you must watch all three of the Back to the Future movies, back to back to back. Drink each time someone in the movies (or your friends!) says:
- “Great Scott!”
- “Back to the Future”
Drinking on a budget can be a lot of fun and you can make it even better with these activities, all while being easy on your wallet.
Do you have any other tips for saving money on a night out? Let us know by commenting below!