Having fun is just as much a part of college life as learning, not to mention how great it is for managing stress. However, you don’t want to devastate your budget just to throw a raging, all-night party that instantly ruins your reputation as a neighbor.
In fact, it’s not only possible to have a great time on a budget without alienating your neighbors—it’s easy. If you’re looking for some great tips for entertaining as a college student, you’ve come to the right place.
Start with a Budget
It may sound dull, but your budget is the place to start, whether you’re planning Saturday night or the whole school year. Knowing how much you can really afford frees you up to do whatever you can with what you’ve really got. It also helps you have a better time, because you don’t need to worry that you’re out of control; you already know that what you’re doing is within the hash marks.
Go Old School with Board Games or a Card Tournament
It’s super cheap to grab up a few board games on clearance, and you probably already have a pack of cards on hand. Whether it’s Poker or Bridge, or Monopoly and Cards Against Humanity, game night is cheap and fun.
In fact, make it a regular occurrence. This way, you can have a true tournament toward the end of the semester! No need to gamble for money; by the end of the term, bragging rights are enough.
Keep it Simple
Resist the urge to compete with Martha Stewart. You can plug in your phone to some speakers for music and call it done; don’t find yourself hanging a real disco ball in your apartment just because some friends are coming over. And when people are coming by, ask them to pitch in, and bring their own snacks and drinks. Keep it simple whenever you can.
Let’s face it, chances are you’re already paying for Netflix, at the very least. Pool resources and start a movie club so you can watch whatever you’re in the mood for once every few weeks and then discuss it afterwards over some snacks. A shared movie rental and soda may just be your record low budget night out.
Head On Out
It’s true, we checked: some people still go outside to have fun! A cookout at the park or in someone’s yard is always a blast, as is a party in the community pool. Or head to the beach day or night for your version of the great outdoors with friends.
Keep it Low Key
Sure, inviting all your Facebook friends on campus seemed like a good idea at the time, but in the end, all that adds up to is a lot of cleanup. Keeping things low key has many benefits. Inviting 5 or 10 people you know well means waking up the next day with an apartment that’s intact, and with all of your stuff still there!
Teamwork Pays Off
Get by with some help from your friends and save money and time. When you’re getting ready for a party, make a list of the food and other supplies you need, and ask everyone to bring one or two things. Make sure everyone is responsible for their own one or two things so you don’t end up with 40 bags of ice and nothing else!
Or amp up your teamwork and do a pot luck “crawl” where you eat something different at each person’s apartment. Too much traveling for you? A standard potluck works, and everyone still only has to bring one thing.
Be a Bargain Shopper
There’s always a good, better, and best deal on everything! If you know you need a full apartment full of furniture but have no need to buy it,—and bid it farewell again at the end of the year when they come to pick it up. Easy! If you’re about to throw a party, shop for deals at the family warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club.
Planning ahead all year long will help you find the best bargains. You too can be a super shopper!
Whatever kind of entertaining you’re hoping to get up to this year, with some advance planning and organization, you can do it right on a student’s budget. And remember, to add more room to your budget all year long, rent furniture from!