Pre-drinking on a student budget

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By in Lifestyle. Updated .

Desperate to party but your student budget posing problems? It's the conundrum of all conundrums, but ace your pre-drinking and the night is yours!predrinkingDisclaimer: This guide is about saving money – we encourage all readers to drink responsibly!

Also known by the dubious title of ‘prinks', getting a few beers or cocktails in at home before going out will not only get you warmed up for the dance floor, it'll save you a considerable amount of dosh in the process.

We appreciate the prospect of drinking in a dingy student flat rather than a swanky cocktail club can be a bit underwhelming, so we've put together our top tips to make it such a good time, you won't want to leave the house after all!

Pre-drinking pros and cons

While we are sure you get the gist of why pre-drinks are a wonderful money-saving adventure, there's no harm in re-enforcing the pros and cons before you get started.

The pros

  1. Save loads of money

    empty pursePerhaps the biggest draw of having a few bevvies round your house before heading out is the massive savings for your wallet.

    While a small glass of wine will set you back the best part of a fiver when out and about, you could buy an entire bottle for the same amount (or less) at your local supermarket. At about 5 glasses per bottle this adds up to a £20 saving!

    You'll still get to enjoy the fun of going out too – just after you've consumed some lovely, cheap beverages at home first.

  2. Actually socialise with friends

    midweek drinkingWhilst we're all very impressed by the make-shift sign language you've created to communicate with your friends over the blaring club speakers, it's not exactly ‘hanging out with mates', is it?

    Staying in for a few drinks before you go out will give you the chance to (shock horror!) actually catch up with the people you call friends.

  3. Take your time getting ready

    how to be lateFor anyone who doesn't like to be rushed – and so has a habit of showing up two hours late to every night out – pre-drinking is a god-send…unless you're not the host, meaning you have to leave the house even earlier than usual.

    Pre-drinking at home means an extra hour or two sitting about with your mates in your pyjamas.

    Although do be wary of choosing an outfit and doing your make-up after a strong drink!

  4. Play DJ at home

    djmixingIs there anything better than having your mates over to dance around to your favourite tunes before a night out?

    Sure, you can harass the club DJ to play your favourite jam, but you can only go so far with that one before you're escorted out the club for harassment.

    In the comfort of your own home, you can play back-to-back favourites, and no one will judge your Justin Bieber dance routine, either.

  5. Drinking games!

    drinking gamesCredit: Greyloch – FlickrNeed we say more? If you're not sold on this pre-drinking stuff after reading all of the above, we're pretty confident we'll convince you with this one.

    What's a night out without some daft drinking games to start things off?

    And don't worry, we've got a whole section below to give you some pre-drinking game inspiration!

The cons

  1. It's easy to over-do it

    Lancaster drunk fineBasically, the art to master with pre-drinking is to get drunk enough that you don't have to spend so much in the club, but sober enough that the bouncers will let you in the door!

    And don't be fooled – this is harder than you think.

    It's easy to pick up the drinking pace when it doesn't involve any more spending, and all you have to do is reach for the bottle.

    At the risk of sounding like your parents, getting drunk to oblivion never ends well, won't win you any friends (not any you want to keep anyway) and can be pretty dangerous.

    Know your limits, and if you do peak too early – don't go out, sleep it off!

  2. It makes getting ready more risky

    drunk makeupWhilst being able to get ready slowly singing along to your anthems with a drink in your hand is sheer bliss, your beer goggles can have dangerous implications on your outfit.

    If you find yourself suddenly going for that dress you always worried was too short, or that t-shirt you thought was too offensive to wear in public – alarm bells should be ringing. Put it back in the cupboard and step away!

    Waiting to do your make-up after a few strong drinks can also result in you leaving the house looking a bit like Ru Paul, so try not to over-do it there either!

  3. It can get messy

    drinkingThe combination of people, tunes, games and alcohol in your house will inevitably increase the risk of breakages and spillages tenfold.

    No one wants to wake up to a scene from Project X the next morning, especially when you're renting (and have a crippling hangover). You do want that juicy deposit back, after all.

    Make sure you lock all your valuables away where they can't be destroyed, and stock up on plastic cups!

Tips for pre-drinking on a budget



The first rule of pre-drinks is that nobody talks about pre-drinks everyone brings their own booze!

No one wants to get lumbered with the responsibility of hosting a shindig and funding everyone's drinking too, so make sure you pay your way.

If you're the host, just tell everyone to bring along whatever they intend on drinking. Or, if you're planning on making some fancy cocktails for everyone, either arrange for each person to contribute a vital ingredient, or ask them to throw in a few quid to contribute.

If you're feeling super adventurous, you could even put in the extra leg work to save cash and home brew your own beer! Our tried and tested recipe works out at just 18p a pint.

Look for deals

The whole idea of ‘prinking' – yes, that is a real word people use – is that you're saving money.

Splashing out on brand name drinks can be costly, so don't be afraid to downgrade to supermarket own brands (psssst you can't even taste the difference).

Also make sure you check out what deals are on offer (our food and drink deals are a good place to start), and always check exactly how much you're getting for your money (always check how many millilitres a bottle is when comparing prices!).

Get plastic cups for ‘free'

Stock up on some plastic cups and bowls for your drinking and nibbles to avoid any unfortunate glass mishaps.

You can essentially get these for free from Amazon – if you're ever in a situation where you need to bring your basket total up to £20 to qualify for free delivery, throw some plastic cups in there!

Best pre-drink recipes

What's a party without some lovely things to drink, right?

We've included a few of our pre-drinking favourites here for you to try. However, if you're ok to take things up a notch, make sure you check out our guide to making your own cocktails at home.

  1. Punch

    drinking punch
    If you're in the mood for sharing, then you can't really go wrong with a good ol' bowl of punch. Make up the recipe as you go and it normally turns out just dandy. Here's a basic recipe.

    • White spirit – eg. vodka, gin, rum, schnapps
    • Fruit juice
    • Lemonade
    • Fresh fruit

    Just add a smattering of your chosen spirit to a bowl and mix with a selection of fruit juices. If you're feeling fancy add some chopped up fruit like oranges, strawberries, limes or some fresh mint.

  2. Snakebite

    snakebite drinkA student favourite and ridiculously easy to make, snakebites contain only three vital ingredients:

    • 1/2 pint of cider
    • 1/2 pint of lager
    • A splash of blackcurrant cordial

    Pour equal measures of cider and lager into a pint glass and finish it off with a dash of blackcurrant squash.

    Careful though, this does have a tendency to be quite a potent concoction.

    As an extra beer-based recipe, if you're into trying new things why not have 3/4 pint of beer + 1/4 pint of Dr. Pepper (don't judge us until you've tried it).

  3. Long Island Iced Tea

    long island ice tea recipeYes, this is the cocktail where it seems like they use every spirit on the bar.

    But before you try and make it yourself with everything you have in the cupboard, we thought we'd give you the actual recipe so it turns out drinkable.

    • 1/2 shot of light rum
    • 1/2 shot of vodka
    • 1/2 shot of gin
    • 1/2 shot of tequila
    • 1 shot of lime juice
    • Cola or iced tea

    All you have to do is whack all your alcohol and lime juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, give it a good shake, et voilà! Simply pour into a glass and top up with cola or iced tea.

  4. Jammy Dodger Shots

    jammie-dodgers-minNo list of drinks is complete without a shot on there, and we promise this will be the best shot you'll ever have.

    • Chambord raspberry liqueur
    • Double cream (yes, really)

    All you have to do is fill up your shot glasses to 3/4 full with Chambord and then top it up with double cream. Trust us, it's the best thing ever.

Top drinking games

drinking games cupsCredit: Dean Hochman – Flickr
Finally, it's essential to make sure you've got some entertainment to keep your guests amused, even if you do have a sparkling personality.

Drinking games seem to have cemented themselves as a firm favourite in student lore, but don't ever feel pressured into taking part if you're not up for it as it can involve drinking quicker than you normally would.

Alternatively, make yourself a drink before starting and make it booze-free, or much weaker than you would normally go for. No one will even notice!

Never have I ever

woman-drinking-beerA great way to discover new, interesting and even scandalous facts about your drinking buddies!

Everyone takes it in turns to say a sentence which starts with “Never have I ever…” – the more embarrassing or brutal, the better.

So for example, you might say: “Never have I ever gone without showering for three or more days”. If this is true, you have to take a swig of your drink, and so does anyone else in the room who has done it too.

Ring of Fire

download (1)Also goes by the name of Kings, King's Cup and various other aliases, there's nothing to add a bit of drama to a night in than a good ol' game of Ring of Fire.

Grab yourself a pack of cards and a pint glass and spread the cards around the glass, face down.

In a circle, take it in turns to pick up a card and follow the instructions depending on the number of the card.

While there is often much dispute over what the official rules are, we can proudly present to you the Save the Student version. And 'cause we're awesome, it's all you'll ever need.

Ace – Waterfall; One player starts drinking, allowing the player to their left to drink, and so on. Once the whole circle is drinking the person who started the chain may stop, but you cannot stop drinking before the person before you stops.

Two – You; nominate a person to take a swig of their drink.

Three – Me; take a gulp of your own beverage.

Four – Boys; all males drink.

Five – Thumb Master; when you put your thumb on the table everyone must follow. The last person drinks. You are the thumb master till someone else picks a five. Ooh the power!

Six – Chicks; all girls drink.

Seven – Heaven; last one to point to the ceiling drinks.

Eight – Mate; pick someone to be your drinking buddy for the evening.

Nine – Rhyme; start off a word, and everyone must think of an original rhyme.  The first to flounder drinks.

Ten – Categories; similarly, start off with a category and see who is the first to stumble.

Jack – Make a rule; make up a rule of your very own and it must be followed on penalty of drinks for the entire game.

Queen – Question Master; as with the five you have the power. If anyone answers a question you ask them, they have to drink.

King – Pour/Drink; the first three kings mean you have to pour some of your drink into the central cup. The last one means the central cup is all yours. Don't get too excited now.

Also take care to not break the circle of cards, or the rules dictate you must down your drink. And who are we to argue with the rules?

Beer pong

beer pongFinally, a game for those who are interested in bringing technical skill into the equation.

Set up a table with plastic cups at each end, arranged in a triangle shape, a little like a bowling alley set up.

Players at each end take it in turns to try and throw a ping pong ball into the cups, which we forgot to mention, are conveniently filled with beer.

If you get the ball in the cup, your opponent must drink it. First side to demolish the other side's cups wins.

Now all that's left is to save money on your night out.

Got any top tips for new pre-drinking games or cocktails recipes? Let us know in the comments below.

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4 Responses to “Pre-drinking on a student budget”

  1. Gabriella

    29. Feb, 2016

    Sometimes you just need to play music 🎶 and dance with predrinks and then go out to have a great time with mates x

  2. Joe

    02. Aug, 2013

    Kings aka Ring of fire was already mentioned

  3. Matt

    26. Nov, 2010

    My favourite game is Kings, you need a deck of cards and lots of booze. Each card has a different action associated with it such as 5’s (guys) = all men drink.

    As the game goes on, people starting making mistakes all over the place and things get messy!

    Full rules:

    • Lauren Bailey

      28. Nov, 2010

      Thanks Matt!!
      I’ll remember this for our next drunken night in!


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