How Can I Save Money Without Sacrificing Quality on Alcohol?

Man Drinking Cheaper AlcoholJust because someone likes to have a few alcoholic beverages now and again―or daily―doesn’t mean they’re willing to down any drink that’s put in front of them. Believe it or not, plenty of booze enthusiasts care more about the flavor of what they’re drinking than the fact it can get them wasted. That’s right, not everyone buys alcohol with the intention of getting hammered. Imagine that.

The problem is, of course, that good-tasting booze―be it wine, beer, or hard liquor―usually costs more than “whatever’s on special.” You also don’t usually find award-winning alcohol in your local store’s discount bin, which may be located right beside a display for generic potato chips and expired mayonnaise. While not all cheap alcohol actually tastes, you know, cheap, the price tag on a bottle or case of beer often gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect.

So, if you’re on a tight budget but enjoys the finer drinks in life, then you may be wondering “How I can save money without sacrificing quality on alcohol?” Or, if you’re just tired of drinking cheap booze that always leaves you wondering “Has this gone bad?” read on. Just because you’re not loaded (financially speaking of course) doesn’t mean you can’t drink fine wine.

Where should I buy booze?

If you’re a fan of great liquor like single malt scotch, nicely aged French Bordeaux, or award-winning Pale Ale, then it’s worth your while to look around and see who’s selling it for what price. While a convenience store might have what you’re looking for, and stress the word might, chances are the price tag won’t be. The same can probably be said for your local liquor store if it’s on the smaller side.

Like it or not, the best prices on quality booze are usually found at bigger supermarkets or liquor stores. Just like any other huge store, they don’t have to mark up products quite as much because they have so much merchandise in stock. For the same reason, you’re much more likely to find the type of alcohol you’re looking for.

Of course, if you don’t live in the suburbs or you live far outside a city, you might have to make a bit of trek to find a bigger liquor store. If so, it might be wise to save up some cash and when you do go on a booze run, stock up. You’ll have to show a little discipline knowing that you have a ton of delicious alcohol in the house, but the savings through shopping this way can be substantial.

If you would rather listen to a fax machine ringing for a day then head out to one of these monstrosities, then keep your eye out for sales at your nearby store. In particular, look for great prices on high-quality booze when the holidays are approaching. After all, what says “Happy Holidays” better than buying your pal a 25 year-old bottle of scotch?

What about when I drink at a bar?

The fact is that, if you’re really a booze snob (not that there’s anything wrong with that), then you’ll be hard pressed to save money drinking at a bar. These places exist to make something called a “profit,” so even the regular booze is already marked up. In other words, if you’ll only drink martinis made with premium vodka, chances are it’s going to cost a pretty penny.

That being said, every now and then restaurants will run a promotion that can feature a pretty great wine, beer, or liquor. It won’t be as cheap as buying it at a store but the price might not be so bad. Depending on the establishment’s “Happy Hour” deals you might also be able to get a high-quality drink for less.

One of the oldest, money-saving tricks in the book is to find out if the establishment sells doubles at a discounted price. Although some bars, and particularly fancy clubs, don’t offer a deal on drinks that are doubles, plenty do. So, for example, while a single serving of your favorite bourbon might cost say $6, a double might only cost $9 instead of $12. If you can’t see how that works, maybe you shouldn’t be doing so much drinking.

What kind of alcohol is good but cheap?

Of course, the reality is that there are plenty of small breweries and start-up companies that are making great and affordable alcoholic products. Discovering which ones are, and where they’re sold, however, is another matter.

While it may seem like you’re defeating the purpose of drinking if you have to do a little homework first, you can find a lot of diamond drinks in the rough by doing some research. Search online to see what products have been winning awards, or pick up a magazine that reviews new drinks. Chances are they’ll be more than a few in your price range.

Finding local producers, or at least ones that are located relatively close by, is also a good way to find great booze. Since the product isn’t being flown in from overseas, it probably won’t be as expensive. It may not be quite as cheap as buying a mass-produced lager that you see an ad for everywhere, but it will probably taste better.