Unsolicited Senior Advice: How to get the most booze for your buck

Ryan Lynch’s weekly column tackles not messing up in college like he did. This week: drinking cheap on a budget.


Ryan Lynch. Photo courtesy of Mohammed F. Emran

Ryan Lynch, Business Manager

Editor’s note: The University Press asks you to drink responsibly. If you go out and drink, designate a driver or use a ride-sharing service.

At some point in college, you will drink copious amounts of alcohol. That’s a fact.

And full disclosure, I’ve had my fair share of benders. The most memorable one? Being kissed by a dude on St. Patrick’s Day because he thought I was a leprechaun.

But as a broke college student, it isn’t easy to drink on a budget.

If you’re struggling to break even every month, here are my tips for drinking smart and saving money.

Keep an eye out for drink specials

It’s tempting to grab a craft brew or mixed drink when you go out. Avoid these. They’ll only empty your wallet.

Instead, pay attention to the available specials. Most bars have happy hour, cheap drinks, and/or specially priced taps.

If that’s not your thing, look out for the liquor used in well drinks. (e.g. rum and coke, Long Island Iced Tea, and scotch and soda.)

Does it really matter if you get the stupid cupcake vodka if you’re not going to remember the taste tomorrow? You might as well just stick with the vodka and avoid the calories from the added cupcake flavoring.

The same goes when shopping for beer at the store. Look for what’s on sale because half the time, the bottom shelf stuff all tastes the same anyway.

Pay in cash

Trust me, don’t open a tab using your credit card. It makes it too easy to keep knocking drinks back without realizing what you’re spending.

Using cash lets you be responsible and makes it easier to tip your bartender. It also allows you to avoid going over credit or debit card minimums that could have you paying more.

If you budget for the night, the only headache you’ll have is your eventual hangover. Well, that and the fact you missed a couple of homework assignments.

Pregame more

One of the easiest ways to save money is to spend more time pregaming. Instead of buying a single pint for $7, you can pay the same thing for a six-pack of decent brews.

If you start the night at the bar, it’ll also take longer and cost more to get buzzed.

Instead, save your money for the car service there and back.

No word on helping you the morning after. You’re on your own there.

Ryan Lynch is the business manager of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @RyanLynchwriter.