Alcohol, is one of the biggest expenses in every college student’s budget. According to a 1991 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report, college students drink an incredible $5.5 billion dollars’ worth of alcohol every year. That adds up to more than what students spend on all textbooks, coffee, milk, sodas and juices – combined. For example, according to an article by Student Health Service of Pennylvania, the average college student spends $900 a year on alcohol and $450 a year on books!
Most college students simply never factor this incredibly high expense into their budgets. They’ll factor tuition, board, food, textbooks and everything else, yet leave out this giant slice of the pie.
If you’re in college, managing your alcohol expenses is crucial if you want to stay in good financial shape. How do you do this, without cutting into your college lifestyle?
Go for the Drink Specials
Get to know which bars in town offer drink specials. Two shots for $1? Two for one Margaritas? $1 PBRs?
Usually bars will have specials on specific nights of the week. For example, one bar in town might be known for “Taco Tuesdays,” where you can get taco and beers for $2 every Tuesday.
Learn the specials and save money by frequenting less expensive spots.
Drink Cheap Alcohol
Instead of reaching for the Heineken, reach for the Pabst Blue Ribbon.
The price difference between cheap alcohol and expensive alcohol can be astounding. A cheap beer can cost just $2, while an expensive beer could cost $5 – at the same place!
Go to House Parties
House parties will often have kegs and beer – for free.
Getting into these kinds of parties can be a little tough. You may need to be in a fraternity, or just be part of the right circles.
Get in the habit of accepting every party invitation. The more you show up at parties, the more people will invite you to parties.
If you’re going to an expensive club, pre-party instead of drinking at the club.
Buy $20 worth of cheap alcohol with your buddies and drink at home rather than paying $10 apiece for drinks at the club.
Try to avoid clubs that have high covers whenever possible.
The Cash-Only Technique
One great way to manage your money on a night out is to simply limit the amount of cash you have in your pockets.
If you only bring $20 with you, you’re simply not going to be able to overspend. Make a decision early in the night about how much you’re going to drink, then budget accordingly using cash.
Finally, if you really want to save money on alcohol, there’s always the option of not drinking. It might not be as fun, but it’ll definitely help your studies.
Now you know how to manage your alcohol costs. Alcohol might seem like a strange thing to calculate into your monthly expenses, but it’s absolutely an expense that deserves attention.
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