15 Ways to Save Money When Getting Your Drink On

By Andrea Cannon on 21 July 2016 0 comments

Going to the bar can be a fun pastime with your friends and significant other, or a great place to find your next date. However, the costs of going to the bar can add up quickly, which is why we've provided some simple tips to help you save money on a night of bar hopping.

1. Order Simple Drinks

The bar business brings in roughly $24 billion in revenue every year, so the cost of drinks at the bar can really add up over time. As a general rule, the more complicated your drink is, the more expensive it will be.

Ordering complicated drinks on a busy night is never a good idea. When the bartender is busy, they won't have the time (or patience) to make your mixed drink properly. This means that your expensive drink won't taste as good and may even contain less alcohol. In this case, you won't get a good deal and instead should stick with something simple like a rum and coke. If the bartender knows that you're going to order a complicated drink on your second round, they may not be as likely to help you promptly.

2. Choose Beer on Tap or House Liquor

Beer on tap is cheaper than imported beer. Likewise, if you want hard liquor, house liquor will be your most affordable option. If you prefer the more expensive stuff, consider choosing the cheaper stuff later in the night. Once you've had a couple of drinks and are feeling the effects, you probably won't appreciate the expensive stuff anyways.

3. Buy Pitchers of Beer Instead of Shots

Buying shots for everyone can be fun, but your hard-earned money will be gone with just one gulp. Purchasing a pitcher of beer for the table will make you look like a hero and will go a lot further than one shot or one glass of beer per person. According to US News, cocktails and wine can be twice as expensive as beer, so it's better to stick with beer at the bar and wine and cocktails at home.

4. Don't Pay a Cover

Paying a cover charge will just needlessly increase the overall price of the night. It's best to just avoid bars with a cover charge, so you can spend that money on drinks instead.

5. Pay With Cash

People paying with a credit card tend to leave the tab open, and this can quickly make them lose focus on how much they're spending. Instead, use cash so that you are on top of what you're spending all night. You can even set a budget beforehand and bring only that amount of cash with you to help curtail your drinking and spending.

6. Slow Your Roll

Try to drink slowly, so you can drink less. Take smaller sips, have a conversation while you're drinking, or drink more water so that you drink less overall throughout the night.

7. Drink Water in Between

A good way to save money, and ensure that you don't get too drunk too quickly, is to drink ice water in between every alcoholic drink. Liquor can also be very dehydrating, which is one of the causes of a hangover the next morning. By drinking ice water or mineral water between drinks, you also help ensure that you don't feel as bad the next day.

8. Find a Fun Bar

Find a fun bar in your area that offers more than just food and drinks. By choosing a bar that offers something like dancing or trivia, you can take advantage of other fun activities, rather than just devoting the whole night to drinking (and spending money).

9. Pre-Game

Pre-gaming and drinking at home with friends before going out is another great way to save money once you make it to the bar. You also get to hang out with friends beforehand and can even get ready together while enjoying drinks on the cheap at home.

10. Take Advantage of Deals

Many bars offer deals during the week on food and drinks. You can also check sites like Groupon, Living Social, and Yelp Deals to find discounts on food and drinks near you.

11. Go to Happy Hour

A cocktail at the bar can cost anywhere from $10-$15, which can really add up. Happy hour offers the best deals on food and drinks at the bar. Depending on the establishment, happy hour can go into pretty late hours. Some bars even offer late night or early morning happy hours on weekdays. Do a quick online search to see if any bars offer late night specials in your city or town.

12. Eat a Light Meal Beforehand

Eating before you get to the bar might prevent you from paying for food at the bar. On the other hand, you shouldn't eat too much or it will require you to drink more in order to feel the effects of the alcohol, so make sure just to eat something light.

13. Check the Prices

If you're already planning on eating at the bar, then take a look at their menu online. This will allow you to get a better idea of the prices on their food and drinks, so you can have a plan ahead of time. Consider also splitting appetizers with the group, rather than everyone ordering their own meals, which will be more expensive.

14. Go to a Tasting

Many bars offer tastings of beer, wine, or hard liquor like tequila. This will allow you to try and compare different liquors. It's also a fun event and will save you money.

15. Have a Designated Driver

Spending money on a cab or Uber can increase what you spend on your night out. Instead, consider having a designated driver, which can save money and provide a safe solution at the end of the night. If possible, you can also consider taking public transportation home.

How Much Do You Spend?

When you consider that the top 10% of drinkers in America drink an average of 74 drinks per week, you can see how important it is to find ways to save money at the bar. You can also use an Alcohol Spending Calculator to get a better idea of exactly how much you're spending on alcohol per week, month, and year. (See also: Save a Surprising Amount by Quitting These 4 Bad Habits)

Do you have other tips for saving money at the bar? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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