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Oh, alcohol. It is an expense that many college students refuse to forgo in their quest to save money. Constant happy hours, BOYB parties, ordering beer or some other alcoholic drink with your meal at the restaurant…here are a few ways to save money with alcohol.

It’s no wonder that college students spend, on average, $5.5 billion on alcohol per year — and most of that is on beer. Amazing, right? Maybe not so surprising, but it still puts in perspective how much college students across the country drink. So I’m going to give you some tips on how to save money as well as some creative alternatives I’ve found online.

  1. Don’t drink. That’s the simplest way you can save money, but I’m pretty sure anyone who reads this will scoff at this tip. A random aside: I’ve had so many friends go to the hospital for alcohol poisoning simply because they weren’t limiting themselves when drinking.
  2. Drink the cheap stuff. Blue Ribbon, anyone?
  3. Buy in bulk. If you have a car and space, why not get your beer in bulk? And notice how a cheap fifth of Vodka or Tequila is already a fraction of the cost of a shot of Vodka at the club/bar. Already, you’re saving money!
  4. Go to other people’s parties. I go to a lot of BYOB parties, but sometimes I might not have enough cash to buy any beer. Trust me, other people will have brought enough for the party goers.
  5. If you must throw your own party, charge an entrance fee. 5 bucks per person. You can buy all the beer, and if you have enough people come to the party, you’ll break even or even make a little extra cash.
  6. Pre-game. Some people prefer the bars or clubs to house parties. If you’re a heavy drinker, that night out is going to set your wallet back. A lot. So get a nice buzz before you set out on the town.
  7. Leave your cards at home, and bring a small amount of cash. If you consciously set your budget early in the night, you can max out without feeling bad. Just, you know, make sure you have a means of getting home after.
  8. A beer snob? Join a beer brewers club. Or start one if there isn’t one on campus somewhere. This is actually a growing pastime for tons of college students across the country.
  9. Really want to go to the bars? Go to happy hour/college student specials only. There are tons of them around campus. Pitcher specials, $1 drink specials, etc.
  10. Avoid drinking at sit-down restaurants. They have anywhere between a 75% to 400% markup on alcoholic drinks! You’re not doing your wallet any favors there. But if you must have a drink with your dinner, consider finding restaurants that are BYOB. They are out there! Yelp it, if you must.

Anyone else have tips on saving money on alcohol? Post them in the comments section below!

Photo courtesy of Owen Parrish via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).