Pre-drinking on a student budget
What's the secret to a cheap night out? It's all about a successful pre-drinks, of course, and here's how you can nail it on a student budget.
Disclaimer: This guide is about saving money - we encourage all readers to drink responsibly!
No good night out is complete without a good old pre-drinks. 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.
Pre's is a chance to have a few drinks, chat with your mates, play drinking games and listen to your favourite tunes, without the expensive prices of your local bar or club - and here are our extra tips for saving money and having more fun.
7 simple steps for a successful predrinks
Get cheap alcohol
Get this bit right and you're sorted for the night. Predrinks means that you can get yourself a little bit tipsy on alcohol you bought at the supermarket, so you can spend less on expensive drinks at the club.
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 five glasses per bottle, this adds up to a £20 saving!
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 e.g. how many millilitres you're getting for the price.
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).
Know what to eat before you drink
If you're drinking in the house, there's no excuse not to line your stomach with the right foods before you head out.
Science shows that foods high in fat and protein take longer to digest, and are therefore best to slow down alcohol absorption over the course of the night.
But that doesn't mean a big greasy burger like the one above! Things like salmon, avocado and mayonnaise are great choices, as are nuts which are full of vitamin B that gets depleted when you drink.
Leave enough time to get ready
Getting ready with your housemates can be the most fun part of the night, but make sure you leave enough time to actually do it - especially if you know you're the kind of person to try on 100 different outfits!
The last thing you want is to turn up to pre-drinks an hour late and have to 'catch up' with everyone else who are all well on their way to being drunk (it's always a recipe for disaster!)
We'd also recommend avoiding too much alcohol until your outfit (and makeup) is complete. Wonky eyeliner and odd shoes are never a good look!
Prepare the house
The combination of people, tunes, games and alcohol in your house will inevitably increase the risk of breakages and spillages tenfold. If you want to ensure you get your deposit back when you leave, spend some time hiding the breakable stuff before everyone arrives.
Also make sure to hide all your valuables somewhere safe - not because we think your mates are going to nick your stuff, but doors and windows tend to be left open more often at predrinks creating the perfect opportunity for burglars.
Don't forget to wash enough glasses so people have something to drink out of, fill up the icecube trays and maybe set the mood with some fairy lights.
Make a predrinks playlist
The best thing about predrinks (apart from the cheap alcohol) is getting to be your own DJ. You can make sure that every single song that comes on is one that everyone loves - well, almost everyone.
It's a good idea to have a playlist ready to go in advance, as you don't want to spend the night constantly changing tracks. You could even create a shared Spotify playlist with all your mates so everyone can add their own songs.
And while you're at it, make sure you've got a speaker all charged and ready to go!
Get some drinking games on the go
We know that predrinks is all about quality conversation time with your mates, but drinking games are a good way to break the ice (if it needs breaking) or ensure everyone gets equally merry.
If you're bored of Ring of Fire, we've got a whole list of drinking games for you to try out - Friends and Enemies is bound to get everyone in the mood!
Book taxis in advance
There's nothing worse than having to frantically count up a room full of moving people when you're tipsy, before calling a taxi firm or ordering a million different Ubers.
Save yourself the hassle by booking taxis in advance. As soon as you know how many people are coming, get the call in or pre-book your Uber.
But don't book it too early, or you'll end up with a room of hysterical people downing drinks and rummaging around for coats with an impatient taxi driver outside.
Don't go too hard on the drink
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 it's 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.
One way to safeguard yourself from drinking too much is to knock up some punch beforehand. Simply mix a white spirit such as rum, gin, vodka or Schnapps in a bowl with some fruit juice and lemonade (and fresh fruit if you have it). This means your alcohol will always be balanced out with a healthy dose of mixer, even if your judgement is a bit skewed.
Everybody has their own personal limits and thresholds when it comes to this stuff, so don't try to keep up with everyone else!
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!