If you’re like most students, you’re probably headed to college or just started on your new schedule. No matter what you’re up to in your new life, you’re probably looking for ways to save some money on going out. This is one of the best ways for students to blow off some steam when their busy college lives get to be too much. Unfortunately, going out on the town isn’t always the cheapest option, especially when you’re feeling stressed out. These ten ideas will help you cut back on the amount you spend when you go out, so your student budget won’t get blown before the semester ends.
1. Go Early
A lot of people tend to not go out until it’s already late out. This can be one of the worst things you can do for your budget. During the later hours, clubs have more people which often means you’ll have to pay a cover fee. That is, after you wait for quite some time in a line. You’re less likely to find a happy hour or deals on drink and food during these times too. The peak hours are also more crowded, which means longer lines and less space to move around and enjoy yourself. Leaving earlier will even get you home a bit earlier, so you can catch up on the sleep you need to feel less stressed for your classwork.
2. Drink Ahead of Time
If you’re planning on buying drinks while you’re out then one of the best things you can do is grab a few drinks before you actually go out. Pre-drinking is one of the more common concepts when it comes to going out, so you probably have friends who already make a point to do this. If so, then split the cost of a pack of beer. This will make you less likely to buy multiple drinks while you’re out as you will already have a buzz. You may not even want to hit the bar while you’re out, since you won’t need to loosen up as much. This will save you quite a bit of money and may even allow you to get out of spending a thing while you’re out. Even if you’re not drinking alcohol, you should hydrate well before you leave. This will help make you feel better while you enjoy yourself and won’t force you to break down and buy expensive bottled water from the bar.
3. Skip Rounds
One thing many students get suckered into is by their peers is buying rounds for their friends. This can work out in some instances, but more often than not only a couple of people actually end up spending money while the rest drink for free. So, if you hear talk about rounds then make sure you aren’t part of the deal. Buy your own drinks and go from there. This will give you more power over how much you drink too, which can help you save even more money as you are less likely to over-drink or spend money on things you normally wouldn’t.
4. Bring Cash
Credit and debit cards can be a huge burden for college students, especially if you aren’t totally in control of what you’re doing. It is very easy to go overboard with drinking or eating when you have a card with you to take care of the damage. However, if you have cash on you then you have to be more careful. Before you go out, budget the amount of money you can spend on your evening and only bring that amount with you. You can pay for food and drinks as you go, so you always know just how much money you have. If you have to take a ride home then store your debit information in the app or set aside cash in a different spot to take care of this expenditure.
5. Eat to Drink
A lot of people go out on the town without properly eating. This can be a problem when you’re on a budget, but it is also not the best for your health either. Before you go out, try to get some carbs on your stomach to help soak up the alcohol. This will help prevent you from throwing up or getting drunk too quickly. You may want to avoid sweets though as these will only increase how quickly the alcohol works. Eating a decent meal before going out will also prevent you from feeling like you’re starving in the middle of the night. This can lead you on an adventure to find food to help you satisfy your urges late at night, which can blow your budget. If you’re worried that you may be hungry after drinking then make a snack ahead of time, so you can help ease the hunger pains before you hit the sack.
6. Buy Draft Beers Only
It’s easy to fall into buying fancy drinks when you go out. This is especially true if you’re just starting to try new things. Fancy drinks can cost as much as a meal sometimes, so you will want to avoid them at all costs when you’re on a budget. Exported beers or even bottled beers can add to your budget too, which can leave you hurting after a night out. The best thing you can do is buy draft beers. You should always ask what the specials are and go from there. You will usually be able to find something you like and the taste will be a lot bolder than that of a bottled beer. You can also purchase more of a beverage when it’s on tap opposed to when you buy it otherwise.
7. Know Sales
Before going out, you should always do a bit of research to see what sales are in your area. Most clubs and bars will have happy hours, ladies’ night and other promotions to help bring in college students and locals. This is your best way to get the most for your money. Of course, you should also watch out for gimmicks with the deals, so you don’t end up spending more. You might want to keep an eye on sales on food too as this will help make your experience even better. Keeping food in your system will mean less of a hangover and might encourage you to drink less too as you will feel full.
8. Share a Ride
One thing you should never do is drink and drive, so make sure you have alternative plans to get around when you go out. If there is nothing within walking distance of you then you do have a lot of options. Public transit is one of the cheapest forms, but some cities don’t run their busses late, while others many not appreciate you using their facility if you can’t behave yourself after drinking. One of the cheapest options is finding a designated driver to help you out. Of course, this isn’t always an option though. Companies like Uber and Lyft are reasonable options, especially if you can share the price with others. There are lots of options for women too, so you can feel safe when you go out.
9. Wear What You Have
Many people feel the need to buy new clothes just to go out on the town. If you are going to a club that requires a dress code, try not to buy something new for it. Instead, borrow from friends if they have more than one outfit that suits their standards. If you only have a few outfits for going out then try to find clubs that don’t require you to look a certain way. This will allow you to go out in the items that you already have without feeling insecure. Of course, if you like to mix things up then borrow from friends when you can. You can also get creative with your outfits by mixing up the clothes that your normally wear with clothes that you don’t. You can also alter your clothing to look different if you think something is too bland for going out in. Skipping new wardrobe items while you’re in school will help you keep more money in your budget, so you can have a little more fun.
10. Stay Sober
One of the easiest ways to save money when you go out is to actually just stay sober. Try to pick a place that doesn’t require you to drink in order to have some fun. If you’re into dancing then just go to a club to dance. You can even ask for an underage stamp if you don’t want to be temped by the bar. You can also offer to be designated driver to others for a price. Have people who want a ride from you buy you a soda or other virgin beverage for your willingness to drive them home. You can find a whole lot of ways to improve your ability to stay sober, which will help you save a whole lot of money during your time out in college.
Going out in public is part of college life, but it doesn’t always suit the college budget. These ten tips will help you figure out a way to save more money when you go out, so you won’t hurt your budget. You may even be able to plan more trips out after utilizing these tips.