By: Kristina Esdale

When you ask a college student why they are “so poor,” the almost knee-jerk response is to say “food.” But according to, college students spend an average of $900 per year on alcohol; that’s practically double of the average cost of textbooks, around $450.

Going away to college comes with a lot of pressures educationally, mentally and especially socially. Drinking is pretty much college culture; you’re always surrounded by people talking about getting drunk, or just drunk people in general.

Meeting new people and making friends is hard, and sometimes it’s just easier to bond over an activity that so many teenagers engage in and have in common. When someone suggests a fun night out at the bars and the guarantee of a good time, college kids tend to jump at the opportunity. Those nights at the bars sometimes aren’t enough, though; now it’s even more common to day drink or “darty,” and obviously you have to pregame any party or social outing at all. The copious amounts of alcohol consumed over the weekend stack up, and sometimes it’s not just the weekend — we are frequently enticed by Two Dollar Tuesdays or Thirsty Thursdays!

Eve the act of getting drunk in itself causes you to spend more money; going to your favorite pizza joint or run-down Mexican restaurant after a night out is a MUST. But to do that, you have to call an Uber; get ready to fork up at least another $5-$10, since driving is definitely out of the picture.

According to, the average college student spends 10.6 hours per week being drunk — if they were to spend that time working an $8 per hour job, they would make an extra $4,409.06 per year. Money like that can go a long way: towards a new car, student loans or even your own apartment.

If you’re finding it hard to abstain from the overwhelming presence of alcohol that your roommates or sorority sisters surround you with, it’s not hard to suggest an ulterior agenda for the evening’s plans. There are so many other options that cost a lot less money; things that you probably SHOULD be doing instead of drinking the weekend away:

  • Go for a walk or a hike — exploring your college campus and the area around it can be an adventure and a great way to bond with new friends!
  • Go to a dog park — really, who doesn’t love dogs?
  • Have a spa night — kick back, watch a movie and put on a face mask; it’s also a great way to de-stress and have a moment for yourself in the middle of the chaos that is college.
  • Play a sport — we did it in high school and we all know that we miss it; go outside and toss a ball around with a few friends.
  • Read a book or study — we all know we should probably be doing this anyways!

Money problems and college are commonly intertwined topics, and students stress every day about the looming debt of student loans and how to live paycheck to paycheck. But there are so many ways to still have a great college experience and get a degree in the process — no alcohol required.

 Kristina Esdale is studying journalism at the University of Missouri.