The Adventures of the Poor: How to Spend a Night in Niagara for Free

Oct 12, 2013 by

Classy pre-drink! Batasiolo Bosc Dla Rei Moscato D’Asti is officially my favourite non-ice-wine!

Classy pre-drink! Batasiolo Bosc Dla Rei Moscato D’Asti is officially my favourite non-ice-wine!

          I love the occasional venture to Niagara. Only about an hour and a half away from home (or an hour, if you drive like I did last night), it’s a great local change of scene. Yet, I’ve noticed that when I tell people I’m going to Niagara, they’re surprised, especially if I’m returning home the same night. They think it’s too far and too expensive to be a casual night out. Really, it’s neither. To put the drive into perspective, an hour and a half is less than some people’s daily commute to work (not mine – thank God). As for the cost, I typically don’t spend any money at all when I go, and I have so much fun while there. Though I must admit that last night wasn’t one of my epic nights in Niagara, utter exhaustion nearly causing me to fall asleep at a casino slot machine (staying up until ridiculous hours of the morning is not as easy in my twenties as it was in my teens #old); as per usual, my night did not cost me any money. Below are my cash-saving tips to a free one-night stay in Niagara. (As for thriving through twenty-something late nights out, I’m still working on it!) 

1. Eat before you go.

          Want to burn your non-existent spending budget fast? Eat in Niagara. Oh wait, you can’t. You have no money. Good. It’s unbelievably expensive. Eating out of your fridge before leaving your home, however, doesn’t credit your bank account a penny (nickel?) more than what you’ve already spent in groceries. How economically revolutionary. I know.

2. Use the gas that’s already in your car.

          Toronto peeps, Niagara isn’t that far. I got there last night and back home this morning without adding to my gas tank. I didn’t need to spend anything beyond what I normally spend using my weekly gas budget.

3. Hit up your at-home wine stash.

          I do not buy drinks at clubs. I got excited about a luxurious trip to Loblaws Maple Leaf Gardens. Does it sound like I have money for exorbitantly priced, juiced down alcohol? Last night, not planning on driving home (don’t drink and drive, friends!), I grabbed the wine chilling in my fridge and chugged it in my car upon arrival. (By the way, I’m finally beginning to like wines that aren’t ice! Now that I’ve discovered sweeter wines, I’ve realized that I just haven’t been drinking the right kinds. My friends said I’d acquire a taste for wine. I finally believe them.)

4. This one is for the ladies: Abide by the Cinderella rule.

          On Fridays, Dragonfly (which I don’t recommend unless you’re too trashed to notice the terrible music and blinding strobe lights, which I wasn’t last night; but, I was the first time I went, leading me to erroneously believe it would be fun a second time) is free for ladies before midnight. I do not like pre-midnight clubbing, but I will do what I have to do to save money. Paying club cover is like throwing your money in the garbage. Why toss money at something that is easily attainable for free? Girls, do not give up your princess treatment. Like Miss Cinder herself, after midnight, no fairy godmother can save you. You will unnecessarily pay to enter, so get there early.

5. Give your Players Advantage Club card to your gambling friends, and never pay for parking in Niagara again!

          For a girl who doesn’t like to gamble (as is probably clear by my paranoia surrounding money due to a lifetime of poordom, risking what little money I have for only a chance of increasing it does not spell fun for me), I absolutely love the casino! It’s so exciting! (I clearly have no problem living vicariously through people who do find it entertaining to lose money.) As someone who is mesmerized enough by the lights and sounds of the place to go every time I’m in Niagara to not gamble (no joke), I have a Players Advantage Club card. If you don’t have one, get one. It’s free, and your parking will be too. No matter what the cost of parking at the casino (even if it’s jacked up for a long weekend), as long as you – or a friend, as is always the case for me – plays a casino game using your card, your parking is covered. A play could be as small as a friend’s single, minimum-bet spin on a slot machine, and you will park your car for free. Pay for parking in Niagara? People, please.

6. Use homemade peanut butter sandwiches to absorb the alcohol.

          With the intent to drink, I knew I’d be hungry later in the evening, so I came prepared with peanut butter sandwiches from home. Awesome post-drinking food!

7. Accommodations? Your car! Obviously.

          Park with the hood of your car facing a wall in the casino’s parking lot, and no one will see you sleeping there. I promise. Last night, I lucked out with fabulous view of Embassy Suites. It was kind of like I was staying there! You know, minus the sheets, pillow, and bed. It was fab! I love my car for providing me with makeshift shelter in times of need.

8. Remember, breakfast is for rich people. If you are making use of these tips, you are not one of them.

          Want a quick bite to eat before heading home in the morning? You’ll live without it. Who has money for breakfast? Royalty. Who needs morning fuel brought to you by cash to have fun? Not you! You, my friend, are rich in memories that can only be created by the poor.

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