One of the most popular past times for thousands of years has been drinking alcohol, but some jerk along the way decided that it should be expensive. Here are some tips to save money on alcohol and make it a little bit easier on your wallet.
Get a Head Start Before Going Out
If your goal is to get pleasantly plastered then getting a head start before going out is a great way to save money. Whether you’re going to a bar, a sporting event, or your niece’s birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s (yeah they actually serve alcohol) you’ll quickly find that buying alcohol is expensive. Much like buying your own ingredients and cooking is much cheaper than going to a restaurant, so is buying your own alcohol.
As an added bonus you can make your drinks exactly to your liking. That means no dirty looks from the bartender when you call them out for weak pours.
Sometimes this part is even more fun than the place you’ll be heading to afterward. It’s like a little tailgate before the true debauchery.
Have a Designated Driver or Take Public Transportation
Uber and Lyft are great, but they can get expensive if you’re taking longer trips or more than a few in a night. Having a friend take one for the team and be the designated driver can save you a lot. Side note if you do take Uber or Lyft: don’t puke in them. That’s going to lead to a $100+ charge.
Public transportation sometimes gets a bad rap, but there are some legitimately good options out there. If you’re in a big city things like the subway or light rail are a cheap way to get around and they’re usually only slightly sketchy. Sure you might run into a few odd characters, but they’re harmless.
Avoid Buying Shots
There’s nothing that gets a group going more than a round of tequila shots, but I recommend you do that before you go out. That round of shots is going to cost you an unreasonable amount of money because apparently most bar owners think hard alcohol is actually liquid gold and price it accordingly. There’s no reason an ounce of alcohol should be $10+ yet here we are.
Beer and mixed drinks are almost always the better bang for your buck, and will save you a lot of money on alcohol costs in the long run. They have the same amount of alcohol, are cheaper, and last much longer (well, most of the time).
Go for the Specials
Just like when you’re shopping you’ve got to look out for the deals. Bars will post their discounted specials up so keep an eye out for those. The specials are usually especially good around holidays like St. Patrick’s Day that are historically associated with drinking.
Stores also offer discounts frequently and may even have coupons that knock the price even lower. Cash back apps like Ibotta almost always have deals that will give you a few dollars back on your purchase as well.
Consider Not Going to the Trendiest Places
Popular places know that they can get away with charging crazy prices so of course they do. That’s why it can be worth it to check out some less well-known establishments. They serve the same alcohol but for much less because you aren’t paying for all the extra hype. Hole-in-the-wall bars can have some of the coolest atmospheres, so even if it doesn’t seem like your scene it could be worth checking out.
Don’t Drink Too Much
Side effects of alcohol include lowered inhibitions, increased confidence, and the ability to make some of the dumbest decisions ever made on the face of the earth. It’s important to keep that last part in check if you want to avoid spending way more than you anticipated.
I’ve seen way too many dudes think that they’re suddenly Jay-Z after a few drinks and start buying drinks for everyone in the vicinity in an attempt to show off. Sure, people like you for a few minutes, but looking at your credit card statement the next day is going to lead to a lot of regrets. Buy hey, on the bright side sometimes they give you a free t-shirt if you spend enough!
Learn Magic Tricks
Everyone likes a good magic/parlor trick, and what better place to perfect your craft than the local bar? You may be thinking “that’s dumb. Why would I learn magic tricks? Only dweebs do magic.” Well those dweebs are out there getting free drinks by making bets with unsuspecting victims. For example, you could bet your friend a drink that you can turn whiskey into water.
Okay, so realistically your results may vary with this, but it’s worth a shot (no pun intended). I’ve seen it work, and honestly your audience probably isn’t going to be at their peak intellect anyway.
Don’t Get Arrested
This tip is the most important on the list. Not only is getting arrested expensive due to fees and legal costs, but it can also negatively impact other aspects of your life. Jobs may be harder to get in the future and there’s always a stigma attached to being arrested. Plus, it seems like it’s impossible to look good in a mugshot, so you definitely don’t want that picture following you for the rest of your life.
Hopefully this list will help you save some money on your alcohol escapades. Just remember to be safe, have fun, and don’t do anything TOO stupid.