A group having drinks on a budget.

Having Drinks On A Budget

If you are on a tight budget, you might think that having a few drinks with friends is out of the question, but think again. If you follow a few rules and set some limits, you really can have a good time out with your friends and stick to that budget. Let’s take a look at how to get this accomplished.

First, it goes without saying that you should drink responsibly and not drive while intoxicated. Okay, that is out of the way, now, let’s look at how to have a good time without breaking your budget.

Drinking is expensive, there is no doubt about that. Go out on a regular basis and it can easily add 300 dollars or more to your monthly budget. If you are smart though, you can still have a great time out with your friends and stick to your budget. Don’t be a social outcast for the sake of saving money. Here are some ways to have a few drinks on the cheap.

Have A Few Drinks At Home First

Assuming that you will not be driving, having a few drinks at home can save you a lot of money. A drink at home costs about $1-$2 while that same drink at a bar can easily reach the $10 mark or more.

So, why not rally the troops at your place before you go out and have a few pre-cocktail cocktails. Then have someone drive you, walk or split an Uber to the bar. Once there, you can nurse a few drinks and save a lot of money.

Go To Happy Hour

Choosing the right time to have drinks can make all of the difference. Happy hour specials can be incredible, especially on things like draft beer. So, if you like to have a few drinks right after work, searching for a good happy hour might be the trick.

When taking advantage of happy hours, remember to be careful though. There are a lot of tricks used by bars and restaurants to get your tab up. Stick to the drinks that are on sale and avoid those tempting and usually overpriced appetizers.

Order The Drink Specials

Similar to frequenting happy hours, you should also look for places that offer drink specials all day. Many bars and restaurants will have one or two drinks that they have on sale all of the time.

The idea for them is to get you in so that they can get you to order food and in general spend a lot more money now. Stick to the specials and you will be okay.

Get The Most For Your Money

When deciding what drink to order, consider your bang for the buck. This means alcohol content. A lot of those fruity drinks are made with things like schnapps that have lower alcohol content than regular liquor. Besides that, they are usually rather expensive so it is best to stay away from them.

If you are a beer drinker, avoid the light beers. Most light beers are reduced in calories because the alcohol content is less. If you order light beers, you have to order more to get the same “effect” which negates the calorie savings and costs you more money.

Tip Cautiously

Some people claim that you can tip your bartender more and get better drinks. Thinking that they will get more money, the bartender will add a bit more liquor to those mixed drinks or fill your glass a little fuller.

I have found this to be completely false. Unless you are tipping one hundred percent, you will not see a difference in the strength or volume of the drinks you receive.

Because of this, tip cautiously. You should still tip your bartender but there is no reason to go beyond the standard 15 percent.

If you pay for each drink individually and tip individually, it is easy to go over that mark though. Instead, run a tab and pay for your drinks and tip all at once. It is easier to stick to the 15 percent tip that way. Just don’t let the fact that you are running a tab cause you to drink more or order more expensive drinks.

Do Not Order Food

Have something to eat at home or pick up a bite on the way to the bar or restaurant. Food will quickly add up in cost and you have to tip 15 percent on it.

Besides that, alcohol tends to make you choose expensive and often very unhealthy food options. How many high fat chicken wings have you eaten while drinking? Too many.

Choose Cheap Transportation

Last but not least, let’s look at how you are going to get out and back home. If you are drinking, driving your own vehicle is out of the question.

Ideally, you would have a designated driver. If you often go out with a large group of friends, you can rotate this duty.

If a designated driver is out, look for other cheap forms of travel instead of relying on cabs.

The best alternative would be to find a bar in walking distance of your home. If that is not an option, why not check out public transportation. Last, but not least, split an Uber. It is still a bit pricey but is cheaper than a cab.

Wrapping Up

You really can have a good time on the town and stick to a budget, you just need to be smart. You do not need $200 in your budget to have a good night out, do it for a fraction of that cost and still have a great time. Just choose low cost options and enjoy yourself in moderation

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James Car is a finance, loan and budget expert based in the United States. After attending Brookhaven college, he went on to become a successful entrepreneur. He now enjoys writing articles that help people save and make the most of their money.