Stanley Zappa
Students are always broke. The simple pleasures non-collegiate adults can enjoy--such as booze, strippers, and drugs--are often far beyond most students' financial realms. Sure, credit-card companies try to lend a hand, with pre-approved cards with ridiculously high credit limits, but they can only do so much for so long. In the end, the student needs to live cheaply--a task that usually means living without fun. Entertainment is a privilege, and privilege costs money.

But a student's life need not be void of pleasure. Below are some tips on how to live cheaply and still have fun.

Home Entertainment

Dorm life can be a dull, grating affair. Cramped quarters, an annoying roommate who smells like old bacon and plays The Wall incessantly--without proper distractions it can drive you straight for the razorblades. But distractions cost dough-rae-me, and dough-rae-me (as we've already established) is scarce. Still, there is hope. Napster and other music-swapping sites are a godsend for the broke college student. Free music, downloadable via modem, offers a plethora of listening pleasure free of charge (for now).

But what about movies? Cable modems are still slow, slow, sloooow when it comes to downloading feature-length movies, and the movies themselves are generally hard to find. On the other hand, the major video-store chains, such as Hollywood or Blockbuster, are a student's best bet for cheap video watching. With five-day rentals, a group of friends can swap videos after watching them, getting two or three videos for the price of one. For just $3-$4 a week (or $2 for older movies), you can watch five or more movies!

Internet porn is also readily available, and (surprisingly) a lot of it is free. Various sites, such as www.manchilds.com, www.freebigmovies.com, and www.moviepost.com offer free video snippets, often categorized ("cumshots," "doggie," "lesbo," etc.) for your convenience. These snippets vary in length, anywhere from nine seconds to two minutes, and most can be downloaded to your hard drive for repeat viewing.

Oh, and there are books, too--the library, used bookstores, etc. But really, who wants to spend a Saturday night reading, especially when you could be basking in free porn?

Movies

Other than discount houses such as the Laurelhurst ($3, 2735 E Burnside), the Hollywood Theater ($3.50, Mondays $2, 4122 NE Sandy) or the Avalon ($1.25, 3451 SE Belmont), a cheap night at the movies can be found through a little investigating. Most weekly papers (such as this one) offer promotions for passes to free "word-of-mouth" screenings. The downsides, however, are limited seating and annoying radio DJs babbling like goons before the show. Still, the price is hard to beat.

A part-time job at a movie theater is another way. If you can get past the humiliation of wearing a uniform and nametag, you can see movies all over town. The hours are generally flexible, with downtime between movies for studying, and all the popcorn and soda you can stomach.

Bars and Clubs

By far the most espensive entertainment endeavor (other than skeet-shooting and cocaine), drinking in bars should be considered a luxury for the broke student. But if you simply must get out of the dorm, your best bet is to drink in a group (pitchers of beer are cheapest), or have a few drinks at home before you go out. Buying booze from a liquor store is relatively cheap when compared to a bar. For under $20 (depending, of course, on how much you drink), a bottle of vodka or bourbon can last you a couple of weeks.

Before you go out, down a drink or two, thereby cutting down the number of drinks you purchase while at the bar. But be careful: Bartenders cannot serve you if you appear to be "intoxicated"--an unspecified state punished only sporadically, but still something to watch out for. Don't get drunk before you leave the house, but while you're at the bar. Plan out your alcohol intake beforehand, and you can spend $10 on drinks instead of $30. A flask can also be a handy tool, but don't get caught or the bartender will confiscate it or toss you out.

Most bars offer a happy hour, where for a couple of hours each day drinks are usually $1-$2 cheaper. But in general, happy hours are a waste of time. Like shopping at Costco, the only real savings can be found in drinking in bulk, which is not a very good idea. Only hard-core drinkers ever see any real savings.

Clubs are always more expensive than bars. Besides the cost of booze, there is also the cover charge, which can be anywhere from $3 to around $15. There is also very little room for savings, other than becoming friendly with a club booker or bouncer/doorman.

To sum up, with the average cost of a drink being $3-$5 plus tip (and if you want a decent drink, you have to tip), getting tanked in a public establishment can cost a bundle. You'd be better off drinking at home, perhaps while perusing Internet porn or swapping Blockbuster videos.