(Guest Post by Paula Pant, while J$ is in Cali)
It’s no secret that our dear friend J. Money loves beer — he ranks it among hip-hop, his mohawk and his insanely high credit score as his favorite things in life. (Oh yeah, and I guess he also loves his family, blah blah blah.) Others (I won’t name names) are bigger fans of the “hard stuff” — rum, vodka, Everclear. Personally, my unsophisticated palate has led me to a love for wine.
But in case you haven’t noticed, these age 21-and-up beverages (age 19 if you’re from dear ol’ Canada!) can cost you big bucks. If you work for particularly unappealing wages, one top-shelf drink at the bar can cost an hour’s pay. So how do you save money when Friday night comes a-knockin’? Here’s a handful of tips to keep your wallet from suffering a hangover.
1) The Pre-Game
Otherwise known as “drinking before drinking,” pre-gaming is the act of drinking at home BEFORE you go out to the bars. Knocking back a few beers at home will cost you … um, let’s see, $36 divided by a 24-pack is $1.50 a beer. And you don’t even have to tip. When you head out, you can still enjoy the “ambiance” — while nursing just one drink from the bar instead of four.
2) The Limited Appearances
This is an obvious tactic: Go out Friday, stay home with a book on Saturday. ‘Nuff said.
3) Buy what you like, not what you’re supposed to like.
We’re taught that Grey Goose is premium and Smirnoff’s is cheap. But a blind taste test conducted by the New York Times found that when people didn’t know what they were drinking, they preferred the cheap stuff.
Of course, your taste buds aren’t the aggregate of a survey. So blind taste-test yourself. Have a friend pour several beer samples for you, without telling you the brand. Who knows? You might prefer the cheap stuff. Better yet, ask a friend to offer you 3 drinks: 2 of which are the same, and 1 of which is different. Test yourself to see if you can actually detect the difference.
4) Blasé about booze?
If you’re like a lot of people, what you really love about going out is the company of friends — not the booze coursing through your liver. (Or is it your kidneys? I can never keep them straight.) If this is the case, you can save hundreds a year by: realizing that! And acting on it!
This is the part where the average advice-giver would tell you to call your friends and suggest that instead of going out, you should all stay home, order pizza and play a game of Yahtzee. The trouble is, your friends will quickly turn that round of Yahtzee into a drinking game.
Let me assure you that it’s easier to change your own behavior than it is to change the behavior of others. If you’re a social butterfly who is blasé about booze, then keep hitting the town with your friends — just start sipping water instead of vodka. No one will notice.
5) Figure out J. Money’s method.
Mr. J. Money says he loves beer, but a blog post he wrote revealed his beer budget at $15 a month, prompting one reader to ask if he’s drinking PBR. He replied that the post was written in 2008. So I went to USInflationCalculator.com. Turns out $15 in 2008 dollars is $15.42 today. If he’s not drinking PBR, what’s his secret?
I poked around a little further, and found a post he wrote in 2009 that put his beer budget at $58 per month. This means his budget rose 386 percent year-over-year. And that was two years ago. Since it’s now 2011, I must conclude that his monthly beer budget is now $864 per month. (This represents a 386 percent increase over his presumed 2010 beer budget of $224). Hmmm. On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t follow his lead.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Haha… I am a sneaky beer drinker, aren’t I? ;)
Guest post from Paula Pant, that awesome blogger at AffordAnything.org, who teaches you to live richly + savor life. If you like this post, check out her site or follow her on Twitter: @AffordAnything.
(Awesome pic by DieselDemon)