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Pre-drinking on a student budget

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!

cheap pre drinking tips

Disclaimer: 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 guide on the best university drinking games to give you some 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.

There's a plethora of different games you can play that involve drinking nonsense, but here's our guide to the best drinking games for students!

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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