In many areas, alcohol consumption is actually on the decline, especially among young people. Part of this undoubtedly comes down to price. Beers, wines and spirits are often easy targets in a country’s annual budget, and you are unlikely ever to beat inflation with drinks. Nevertheless, a social drink remains an essential part of the calendar of many individuals, but even they are not immune to the potential costs associated with a few drinks each week.
It is certainly not for us to comment on how much or little that someone drinks, but what we can do is pass on our very best tips to make it as cost-effective as it possibly can be. If you are used to spending a certain amount on alcohol each week and could spend half of that or even less without compromise, you would jump at the chance, and we present the best ways to potentially achieve precisely that.
1. Plan Your Drinks around Happy Hours and Promotions
If social drinking is your thing, you are already spending more than you would at home – more on that later. Obviously, there is a mark-up on drinks you buy when out and about, leaving plenty of room for bars and clubs to cut prices and still make a profit. If you’re flexible, you can use this to your advantage and plan your social gatherings around special deals. This could be cheap beer nights at your local sports stadium, or buy one, get one free deals at the local.
2. Stay at Home
Given some of the health tips we have put forth on the site, we would not recommend drinking alone. However, if you or one of your friends can accommodate the group that would typically end up in the pub, you will make immediate savings on alcohol. Drinks in bars typically cost around triple what you’d pay in a supermarket, and there are further savings to be made when you travel home in a taxi and don’t get tempted by the kebab van as you make your way past.
3. Buy by the Bottle
Back to social, outside drinking, and we can cut costs through a simple bulk-buying technique. If you are at a restaurant or other venue and feel that you and your friends will get through 5 or more glasses of wine, it makes perfect sense to buy the whole bottle. It always works out cheaper unless the venue manager tries to pull a fast one on the menu, and will often equate to at least a free glass with each bottle if nothing else.
4. Bring Your Own
You do not need to go all James Bond in your efforts to save money and sneak in a vodka and tonic in a lemonade bottle. There are plenty of restaurants out there that not only allow people to bring their drinks but encourage it. They may not be licensed to serve alcohol or may not do so for a multitude of reasons. Regardless of the specific reasons, they do not want to miss out on customers that do like a drink, and you can take advantage of the same low prices that drinking at home allows.
5. Join a Club
Bulk buying extends further than buying the whole bottle at a bar, and wine clubs will often provide members with steep discounts for buying in bulk. You do not always get to control what you drink, but you’ll usually get it much cheaper than even buying a single bottle from a supermarket. They’ll often deliver it for free too, so you can ensure you never run out if that’s important to you!
6. Buy Your Alcohol on Any Day but Saturday
Have you ever noticed that even in supermarkets with visible price labels, some items change in price week to week or even day to day? This regularly applies to alcohol, especially in smaller stores. Demand for alcohol is at its highest on a Saturday, which is unsurprising. The price often rises in line with the demand, and you’ll save money without even noticing if you buy it on any day but that one.
7. Maximise Your Duty-Free Allowance
Assuming you go abroad regularly and can exercise a certain degree of self-control, you should plan to maximise the duty-free potential of international travel. Savings vary depending on where you go, when and why, but they are generally always available, and there is no reason not to take full advantage. Even putting aside the tax benefits, there are often great deals to be found in general, and it is worth buying more than you think you need and to store it for future use.
8. Go for Pitchers if You Enjoy Beer and Cocktails
We already covered buying wine by the bottle when out and about, and the same idea applies to pitchers for other drinks. Without fail, a pitcher will be cheaper than the equivalent amount of the same beverage, and there is absolutely nothing to stop anyone from sharing the contents with others.
9. Use Some Trade Secrets
As with any industry, there are options that not too many people are aware of and which are rarely publicised. We cannot cover everything here, but one primary option for wine drinkers is the second label option. Much as mainstream products are sold by discount brands for a lower cost even when they are made in the same place as their more expensive counterparts, the same applies to wine. Some more costly wines are sold under cheaper brands to get rid of excess stock, and there are online resources that point out what to look out for.
10. Use Your General Shopping Prowess
You have to be over a certain age, and there are often time limits on what can be bought when. Outside of this, alcohol purchases are the same as anything else, so make full use of coupons, cashback sites and anything else to bag a great deal.