Let’s be real: affording alcohol and other things is really hard when you’re just living off of small paychecks from campus jobs. As much as we like to take shots and drink beer that’s not Natural Light, buying alcohol can really put a strain on our bank accounts.

So, instead of staying in while all of your friends are at the bars, here are some thrifty ways you can save money while getting your drank on. Follow these tips, and maybe you can finally have enough to buy the things that you weren’t really buying before (like laundry detergent and cleaning supplies that are not from the dollar store).

Just remember to be safe and avoid driving while under the influence. Happy drinking!
Leave Some Time to Pre-Game
Okay, pre-gaming before going out is pretty obvious, but making enough time for it is definitely something every student should do.

As a former college student that went to school in NYC and liked to go out to places across town, my friends and I often never had a enough time to pre-game because we were always running late. If you actually start drinking early, you’ll not only avoid those awkward “I’m-not-drunk-enough-for-this” moments at a party or a club, but you’ll already be tipsy, decreasing the number of drinks you'll want to order at the bar.

So, give yourself plenty of time to pre-game. Turn on some music, play a drinking game or two and get toasty with your friends before you head out. Disclaimer: Make sure you actually make it out of the pre-game in one piece.
Make a To-Go Drink
Just because you leave the pre-game doesn’t mean that you have to stop pre-gaming. Keep the party going while you make your way to your final destination by making a to-go drink in an empty plastic bottle. Not only do you get to drink alcohol that’s not overpriced ($6 for a beer?! Really, bars?), but you’ll probably save some cash at wherever you’re going for the night.

And here’s another tip: try making the to-go drink in a empty bottle that either hides the color of the drink or is the same color as the original beverage that was inside of the bottle. It’ll save you the hassle of explaining to your taxi driver why there is orange juice in your Coke bottle.

Or, check out these sneaky ways to hide your alcohol when you're going to a place that forbids it.
Buy Some 40s
Unless you live near some overpriced gas station or liquor store, 40 oz bottles of malt liquor are usually $3. Yes, you read that right—a bottle of fun for under five bucks! Maybe it’s not the best-tasting kind of alcohol, but I mean, if we’re super broke, we can’t be that picky, right? Fun games with 40s include Edward Fortyhands and 40 pong (probably not as fun as vodka pong, but better than beer pong).
Go to a Party with Free Booze
You know those huge, lame frat parties that you have no intention of going to? Well, those parties most likely have free drinks. The jungle juice may look a little questionable, and the keg of Coors Light may not taste that great, but if your budget is tight and you’re looking for a good time, going to those parities for a drink or two won’t hurt you. Plus, you won’t even have to stay there that long, and it’ll be a funny place to people-watch.
Take Advantage of Discounts
If you know that your drink of choice is vodka, do yourself a favor and buy your bottles at discount stores like Costco and BevMo! They sell liquor at an affordable price and in bigger bottles, so you can get more bang for your buck. Don’t want to pay a membership card fee? Look for deals on your favorite booze at grocery and drug stores, like Vons and Rite Aid. They always have great ways to save.