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How to Go Clubbing When You’re Broke

The experts weigh in on how to not let an empty bank account cramp your big night out.

Welcome to THUMP Guide to Clubbing, a new video series starring some of our favorite DJs and producers. Every week, our team of experts will guide you through the ins and outs of the club experience, from skipping lines to chatting up bartenders.

This week on Guide to Clubbing, club music warrior LSDXOXO, Fool's Gold co-founder Nick Catchdubs, Jersey club queen UNIIQU3, NYC party-starter Tygapaw, rising Philadelphia DJ Gun$ Garcia, and dance music veteran Nick Hook, give you their time-tested tricks for how to go clubbing when you're flat broke. It's a rite of passage, really, and as Nick Catchdubs points out, "you can have a wonderful time at the club, dead broke, if you're really about the music." So from making a budget to morally questionable mooching tactics, here's how to go clubbing when you've got no coin, according to the pros.


Making a party budget

For Nick Hook, whether you're broke at the time or not, "the budget is always zero." That way, in times of "feast or famine," as Gun$ Garcia adds, you can have a rainy day club cash reserve. But even if you have a budget in place, the key is enforcing it. In that case, cash is king.

"Bring out cash. Don't bring out your card," advises UNIIQU3. "You're gonna swipe it hella times." It's true, there's really no better way to blow a party budget than by spending your plastic money that you don't actually have.

And if you really, really don't have any money, they key is friends who've got your back, and have been in the same boat themselves. "Just 'be real with them,'" says LSDXOXO. "Try and have good friends," adds Nick Catchdubs. "That solves all of these problems."

Partying for free

The two biggest money pits at a club are the entrance fee and the drinks.

"Be on a guestlist or go to a party where you can get in for free," says LSDXOXO. If you live in a city with a poppin' club scene, there are always shows going on for free that might even expose you to new experiences. "Get out of your comfort zone," adds Nick Catchdubs. "Don't make it about the crazy headliner show. Discover something new."

But if a show with a cover fee is the place you've gotta be, Nick Hook is always looking for that back door. You could befriend someone in security, or maybe some club crew members, or just other partygoers taking a smoke break. "It's always good to have cigarettes for these types of situations," says Gun$ Garcia. "Because just like prison, at the club, cigarettes have value."


Once you're inside, the biggest cash-suck is alcohol. Nick Catchdubs says, if you're broke, you've gotta remember that you don't need drinks to have a good time. "You don't need to go to the bar," says Catchdubs. "You should go to DJ-based event for the express purpose of hearing music."

Pregame, or just be sneaky

If you're really trying to turn up on the cheap, there are a few strategies. "Pregaming is always a tight way to get lit," says UNIIQU3. At home, scrounge around for "any of the turn up supplies that you've got, and consume them" before you go out.

"When you're broke and you want to go clubbing the first thing I would suggest is to throw a pregame at your house," says LSDXOXO. "Have all your friends come over."

You don't always have to leave the supplies at home, though. Nick Hook says to always come with your own, maybe stashed in a secret coat pocket [Editor's note: THUMP is not condoning your breaking of the law—use your head!]. UNIIQU3 likes to do some handiwork on her bag and slip some bottles into the lining. And if you're letting fellow club-goers buy your drinks, that's one way to go, but be wary. "I would never accept a free drink from somebody," says Nick Catchdubs. "I don't know you!"

Getting home on the cheap

"Hitchiking: a surefire way to get killed in New York," said LSDXOXO when he contemplated how to get home with no money. Like partying for free and making a budget, you have to be real with and lean on your friends. "Don't go home with random strangers just to get a ride," says Tygapaw. "You just have to be resourceful. But you have to be smart."

If you're lucky enough to live in a city with public transportation, broke nights out might just be the time to embrace it—and that could be a good thing. Nick Hook relishes his 4AM subway rides. "It's not only cheaper," he says. "But that's where you hear new language, new rhythm."

"Don't let your pride or your ego get in the way," Nick Hook adds. "Just 'cause all the homies are taking an Uber, you don't gotta take one."

And while, as UNIIQU3 says, how you're getting home should always be the first thing you plan when you're going out broke, you will probably be ok.

"The key to going out while broke is remembering that you have two feet," says Nick Catchdubs. "The same stumps you dance on will walk you home." Bless.