10 tips to save money on alcohol

Jacob Lund/ShutterstockDrinking is usually expensive, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be.
  • The cost of drinking can quickly add up.
  • To save money, consider drinking at home or prioritising happy hours.
  • Buy pitchers or bottles of wine when you’re drinking with friends.

Drinking isn’t cheap. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or just love going out for cocktails with friends, the cost of booze adds up quickly.

Factor in the tips you’re handing your bartender and it’s easy to blow your budget pretty quickly after a night at the bar. If you want to get your booze spending in order, try these tips to save money on alcohol before you totally liquidate your checking account.


Prioritise happy hour.

Getty Images/Adam BerrySnag a good deal at happy hour.

After-work drinks breaking your budget? Go for the bargains. Find bars that have decent happy hours (like half off all well drinks or draught beers) and drink there within those hours.

Some bars have all-night specials on slow nights and some have late night happy hours to keep you drinking cheap past prime time.


Drink at home.

Dimension FilmsSave money by drinking a glass of wine at home.

Drinking your own booze will pretty much always be cheaper than drinking at a bar or restaurant, where the typical markup is three times what you’d pay in the store. Invite friends over to learn to make a new cocktail or practice your mixology skills, or just kick back with a few beer cans that you’re not being totally up-charged for.

Make a ritual of drinking a glass of wine before or after going out to dinner, so you don’t buy wine at the restaurant.


Buy the whole bottle.

Flickr/alexbrnIf you’re going to drink a couple of glasses, opt for the bottle.

If you are buying wine at a restaurant, the whole bottle is always a better deal. Standard restaurant pours are typically 5 ounces, which equates to about five glasses of wine per bottle. Do the menu maths and you’ll see that buying the bottle should equal at least one “free” glass of wine.


Some restaurants allow you to bring your own alcohol.

Drinking with dinner is a favourite pastime for some, and Bring Your Own Bottle restaurants corkagelet you do so cheaply. Call the restaurant ahead of time to ensure it doesn’t charge corkage fees to open and serve your own bottles.


Join a wine club.

ShutterstockMany wine clubs offer great discounts.

Plenty of small and large wineries offer wine clubs where subscribers can enjoy a steep discount on bottles and cases, but if you’re not ready to commit to a single winery, try and online wine club, in which various wines are shipped to your door monthly, often at prices lower than you’d pay by the bottle in a wine shop. If you have a roommate or neighbour to share the monthly shipments with, even better.


Buy in bulk.

Pixabay via Google ImagesSometimes bulk is better.

Just like groceries, buying alcohol in bulk at big box stores can save you money. And you don’t have to sacrifice quality for top-shelf brands, sold cheaper and higher volumes. No big box membership card?Boxed.com sells premium liquors in bulk, shipped to your door (if your state allows) and each purchase gains you reward money to apply to your next order.


Don’t buy alchol on Saturday.

Who knew that your favourite beer and wine is more expensive on some days of the week than others? The folks at cash-back shopping site Ibotta crunched the numbers and determined that Saturday is the worst day to purchase spirits. As Forbes reported:

According to the shopper-rewards app Ibotta, consumers pay 9% more for beer on Saturday than on Monday and 6% more for wine than on Tuesday.This appears to be the first-ever data to show that by purchasing different products on different days, consumers can save cash.


Go duty free.

ShutterstockThe best deals might be hiding in your airport.

Not only are there often great deals at airport duty-free shops, but you don’t have to pay tax if you’re travelling abroad.


Buy pitchers when possible.

Sarah Stierch/FlickrYou’ll save money in the long run.

If you’re at the bar with some friends, consider buying a pitcher rather than each buying glasses individually. Considering there are five 12 ounce cans of beer in a single pitcher, you’ll likely save money.


Buy “second label” wines.

David Paul Morris/Getty ImagesPay less for quality.

Second label wines are a cheaper version of their more expensive brothers. According to Second Label Wine, using second labels for excess expensive wines allows “winemakers to bottle and sell this still very high-quality wine under their name and through their distribution channels.”

Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.