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about 4 months ago

How to Not Go Broke During 55 Days

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During the last seven years, 55 Days of Café has become a rite of passage among a portion of the senior class. As many saw last week, an ambitious crowd packed Café for both Saint Patrick’s Day and the 55 Days Kick-Off celebration, but on each return trip I’ve seen more and more highlighted blanks where obligations were slighted.

There’s no doubt that the list will continue to dwindle as the semester progresses and bank accounts become increasingly meager, but you can be frugal and still complete 55 Days. It’s possible to earn your place in Café history and your name on this year’s plaque without decimating your life’s savings.

Drink (or Eat) on Special

This should be obvious. If you’re just going in for one drink, make sure it’s something on special. Unless you plan on spending a night there, ordering a tea pitcher probably isn’t the most fiscally responsible decision. Skillet fries are delicious, but get this: They’re even *more* delicious when they’re half off —  that’s scientifically proven.

For your planning convenience, here are the daily specials:

  • Sunday: $2 nachos, $3 Jose Cuervo margarita, $3.50 Goose Island 24oz draft
  • Monday: $2.50 burger baskets, teas, and Bud Light bottles
  • Tuesday: $1 off wings and salads, $7 Captain Morgan pitchers, $3.50 24oz Sam Adams draft
  • Wednesday: $3.50 pulled pork basket, $3 20oz Redd’s Apple Ale, $2.50 Fireball
  • Thursday: $1 off wraps, $3.50 Lienenkugel 24oz draft, $4.50 tea pitchers
  • Friday: Half off skillet fries (6 p.m. – 8 p.m.), $1 buffalo items, $6 Bud Light pitchers
  • Saturday: $3.50 Blue Moon 24oz draft

Don’t Miss a Day

If you skip a day and don’t have a valid “excuse” (Café allows you to show a receipt from a bar or restaurant from another town if you need to leave State College), you have to do a daylong where you stay from 11 a.m. until midnight, and you can only do this twice anyway. It’s a lot cheaper to just get it over with.

Go Between Classes

If you just want to have one drink and get out, go when you have limited time so you don’t catch yourself ordering tea after tea after tea until you’ve racked up a $30 tab. Or just go by yourself; no one wants to sit around drinking alone in public.

Go Early

Get there early, avoid cover. Simple. If you aren’t getting there early, take advantage of happy hour, which is 9-11 p.m. every night.

Get a Soda

You don’t have to buy alcohol for your day to count, you just need to spend money and prove that purchase with a receipt. A soda costs roughly $2, plus tip. That’s an easy (and cheap) solution if you’re looking to get in and out for that day. Also, I’ve heard that getting a side of celery is roughly the same price, perhaps a bit cheaper, though I’ve yet to see anyone take that option or try it myself.

Make Extra Cash

Instead of watching while your bank account sinks closer and closer to obscurity, try to find ways to make extra cash on the side to support your Café habit. Let’s be real, most of us 55 Days-ers are not merely going to Café for the remainder of the semester, and our one drink or food item per day will not be the only ones we purchase each day. If you don’t have a part-time job that allows you to grab some extra hours or you don’t want to convince mom and dad why you absolutely *need* to finish 55 Days to graduate, check out our advice on quick ways to make some extra cash around Penn State.

I recommend the BioLife route. You can make roughly $50 a week donating plasma, and if you hypothetically limit yourself to $5 a day at Café, that’s about $275. If you donate every week between now and graduation, you should be able to cover that. Plus they give you a debit card, which is a nice way to keep your bar money separate from money you need for essential purchases.

How are you protecting your bank account while attempting 55 Days? Let us know in the comments!

image Dave Cole
Downtown - Located in Centre County, Pennsylvania, State College is a college town heavily influenced by the campus life of Penn State University and have gained the nickname "Happy Valley" for its resilience during the Great Depression. They say there's something magical about the Nittany Valley, where time just seems to stand still. Read more