A Guide to Drinking on the Cheap

Boozing on a Budget

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It’s summertime and the weather is fine! For those who drink, it’s perfect weather to kick back and enjoy the sunshine with a refreshing cocktail. One of our favorite ways to unwind is with an ice cold beverage, whether it’s a pint, glass of wine, cocktail, or a simple ‘on the rocks’. Unfortunately, indulging in alcohol can get expensive, which is especially true for those nights out on the town! Here are a few ways to booze on a budget:

Pre-Game/Drink at Home

This college classic will NEVER go out of style. It is much cheaper to drink at home than to pay the markup on a bar tab. Whether you are pre-gaming before an event or enjoying some drinks pre-dinner, your wallet will thank you! Just remember to arrange for a safe ride should you venture out.

Look for Happy Hour Specials

Take note of happy hour specials in your area. While happy hours have limitations, I have had luck with finding some that feature half-off, all-day, and premium drink specials.

Become a Member

Your neighborhood beverage store may offer a rewards program. There are state restrictions that affect availability and inclusions, so be sure to check if your state qualifies. Becoming a member allows for certain benefits, which may include early access to marked down products, discounted rates, free tastings, access to events, and more.

Purchase in Bulk

We love shopping at our local Total Wine store. It’s essentially a huge warehouse of alcohol. We have found that the prices are about $2-$6 less than our neighborhood liquor store. Total Wine offers case discounts, though these are only available if your state allows for it. Purchasing in bulk can save you between 10-20%.

Pay with Cash

Paying with cash not only keeps your budget in line, but it also saves you at the liquor store! We all know that it’s incredibly easy to ignore your budget when you can hand over plastic to your bartender. When you only bring cash, you are more likely to stick to what you can spend for the night. As for liquor stores, some offer a discounted rate when paying with cash as opposed to credit card.

Host an Alcohol Potluck

Test drive new beverages at little cost to you. An alcohol potluck is a super budget-friendly way to spend time with friends, enjoy a few drinks, and discover new brews, whiskies, and more. You can even get creative and put a limit on the price point.

Tip Well

If you plan to drink throughout the evening, consider tipping your bartender well right off the bat. We have done this ourselves, which has often resulted in free drinks, tastings, as well as more generous pours.

Use Your Discount

Military, student, or senior citizen discounts come in handy. Show your ID for qualifying purchases. Also, don’t be shy about asking whether or not an affiliated discount is available. You might be surprised at what options and discounts are available to you.

Check Out Dive Bars

Drinking at higher end restaurants and bars often come with a higher price tag. While Brian and I appreciate a craft beer and cocktail every now and again, we aren’t picky and will happily drink what our local dive bar has on hand. Prices on their drafts, cocktails, and even liquors are considerably less expensive than the gastropubs we frequent.

Short of becoming more of a lightweight, we have found these tips to be more attainable and effective in curbing the cost of drinking.  In what ways do you save money on drinks?

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