Monday, April 17, 2006

Can you be frugal when you're out drinking?

I don't particularly enjoy going out drinking to bars or clubs, but my boyfriend does, so sometimes I acquiesce in the spirit of harmony and compromise.  And there are the occasional situations with coworkers or others when I decide that the social benefits outweigh my initial disinclination.  But I must admit that part of my hesitance is due to my frugality, and so I appeal to you-- how do you manage to be frugal or semi-frugal on your nights out?
One thing that drives me nuts is that there never seem to be any prices listed for alcoholic beverages-- are we supposed to just order and not care how much we're paying?  That's something my frugal nature has a very hard time with!  But I feel like a big dork asking, since no one else does.  Sometimes I'll order the drink specials even if I don't think I'll like them, because at least I know their price!
Mapgirl suggests saving money by being a lightweight-- done!-- but the only real tip I can offer is to have a drink or two at home before you go, thus paying for fewer drinks while you're out.  Oh, and of course, have your expensive favorites only at the beginning of the night; stick to the cheaper stuff once you start losing the ability to tell the difference! (For example, I dislike beer-- yes, another reason why drinking cheaply is a challenge!-- but I usually have one as my last drink of the night.) But beyond that, I've got nothing.
Is there any hope for me, or is it impossible to combine frugality and alcohol?  Should I really just try to let go of frugal thinking when I'm out?  What do you do?
(PS: I'm more looking for general thoughts, rather than specific drink suggestions-- but I wouldn't turn down the latter, either!  Are there any cheap drinks with rum that don't involve cola?  Any girly drinks that aren't ridiculously pricey?  I know part of my problem is that I'm too picky!)


mapgirl said...

A Singapore Sling I think is rum, but all fruity. Order rail drinks anyway since for most drinks, you can't taste the difference with a mixer.

Thanks for the link! :-)

LAMoneyGuy said...

My biggest point would be one that you mentioned: have a couple of drinks at home first. Heck, sneak in a flask if you're daring! I think you can manage the social aspects just fine with one drink. If it's rum you're looking for without cola, try combining with juices. I would recommend Malibu Rum with Orange or Pineapple juice. However, be careful. Bars will always charge more for a "call" liquor. In other words, the moment you say a brand name, the price goes up. The girly, blended drinks with multiple types of liquor, strawberries, etc. are always expensive.

Try a vodka-cran, take whatever vodka is in the well. I sometimes get a gin and tonic.

Him (Make Love, Not Debt) said...

As a fellow Chicagoan, I'd say don't feel pressured to drink when you go out. I see a lot of people NOT drinking in bars and more people who are just hanging out.

There's nothing wrong with asking for water if your wallet can't handle it.

Being a lightweight always helps. I work with a girl who goes out to happy hour with us who always drinks half of her beer, and is good for the night. The rest of the co-workers, of course, are more than happy to help her finish it.

jonathan radande said...

I agree with LA money guy, if you want to spend less at the bar, have a couple of drinks at home before leaving.

While at the bar, if you're going to order beer, don't buy the bottles. Instead, buy pitchers.

if drinking is not your think, feel free to simply order non-alcoholic drinks

Penny Nickel said...

Thanks, you guys are great!

LA Money Guy, sadly, I have girly tastes! Is it possible to ask for "coconut rum" and still have it be a well/rail drink?

young guns said...

I shop around for all of the happy hour specials. My girlfriend loves the fruity drinks and I have found many places that will offer them half-price during happy hour.

Jose Anes said...

Referenced in Money and Investing

My answer to your posting there.

mti said...

I don't take frequent sips. I love Belgian Pale Ales and a few mixed drinks. But I get more bang for my buck in a beer so I order one and a glass of water. I can make the beer last for nearly 2 or more hours. Mixed drinks don't last too long as the ice melts and then it tastes like some fruity juice.

I also listen instead of talking so much so I don't have to wet my throat. Shyness helps sometimes

Dave said...

Best tip I would have to say is drink a few before you go.

A few more:

Stop when you get to the happy point and drink water for a while(helps next day hangover aswell).

Don't go out, get everyone round to your place (or go to someone elses), your boyf will love haven a gathering (not a party everything gets trashed) get your playstation out, let the lads play that and drink, get all your mates round so you can have a chat (and actually hear what they are saying).

Always drink a few at the cheap bars, and only one at the expensive ones. Organise your night and you might be able to get three or four happy hours in!

Good luck and have fun!