Disclaimer: I do not condone underage drinking. In the United States it is illegal for any person under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcohol.
Ok, so one of the biggest non-school related expenses in college is alcohol. It’s a fact of life, parents, you need to accept it, students, you need to understand it. Many many freshmen get to school and go NUTS. They can finally drink freely, and they do it. I’m not going to say not to drink the first week or two, don’t skip classes because of it, but for the first month, most freshmen are drunk most of the weekend. I won’t say not to, because you won’t listen to me; it’s kind of a right of passage I guess. Anyway, your first few weeks, you’ll be at parties where you won’t spend much on booze.
IF you decide to have someone buy alcohol for you, you will spend lots of money very quickly. Don’t believe for a second that you will “buy a bottle of captain and make it last a month” You’ll drink it in two days, or one night if other people are with you (drinking alone=alcoholic) If you are not careful, you’ll be eating ramen for the rest of college. I had a couple of friends who the first week each got a bottle of Grey Goose Vodka…$30 each (good price) and after that they were drinking Popov Vodka…about $10 each. Grey Goose was for a 1/5th, popov for a handle; you do the math.
Drinking good stuff for a special occasion is ok; we celebrated many a birthday with a bottle of champagne and good liquor. You just cannot keep up the good stuff. You also can’t keep up buying alcohol every weekend. I knew two kids who spent about $40 a weekend on alcohol alone; they had to explain to their parents why they were spending so much money.
Moral of the story; too much alcohol will make you go broke, but so will buying only the good stuff. Get good stuff every once in a while (everyone deserves to indulge) but learn to drink the sub-par quality alcohol. If you drink very rarely, you can get away with buying better stuff. The point is you need to keep your costs down; I have literally seen people drink away all their spending money.
Another hidden expense is the food you buy when you’re drunk. Find the best pizza places with low costs. Also, find some Chinese, and make a little plan before you drink. I feel pizza and Chinese are the best foods while drunk. Go in with some other people and buy something in bulk; a large pizza, lots of Chinese, and split the costs, this will save you some money as well.
Just remember, with some careful budgeting and planning, you can have fun and save money.