I am really cheap, and hate spending money. However, I also like to go out and have lots of fun, which generally costs $$$.
After I turned 21, I realized the sheer amount of money people waste at bars. Here in Austin, TX. we have a thriving Downtown nightlife, consisting of several streets of busy clubs and bars…needless to say there are tons of places to throw away your money.
From about 9pm till 2am, the main product being sold all over Downtown is alcohol. Clubs/bars make almost all their money from alcohol, restaurants make much of their money from alcohol and even cruise boats make much of their money from drink sales. It’s actually pretty ridiculous how much money is made from alcohol sales.
To combat these high prices (and allow me to be extremely cheap), I will sometime bring a flask out with me. This thing cost me $20, fits perfectly in my back pocket and holds roughly 5 oz. of liquor.
What I can’t stand about drinks are their extremely high margins. Liquor is ridiculously marked up almost everywhere. Another thing I begrudgingly have to do every time is tip. If someone simply opens a bottle of beer for me, does that warrant even a $1 tip?? I tip, but don’t like it. After a tip, an already expensive drink becomes even more expensive.
If I know I’m going out, but don’t want to spend a lot of money, I’ll fill the flask with a liquor of choice, for example, rum. This way I can ask the bartender for JUST a Coke with ice. I’d say about 70% of the time they’ll give it to me free. I can then secretly mix in some rum, and have a Rum & Coke.
Ghetto? You bet!
The most I’ve ever spent on a single drink was at an upscale club in Miami – $17 for a Vodka & Red Bull. Imaging my surprise when I pulled out a $10 bill to pay, but was quoted $17….and then I had to tip $3!! TWENTY DOLLARS for a small drink in a plastic cup filled mostly with ice!! OUTRAGEOUS. I can buy 20 Double Cheeseburgers from McDonalds for that money.
Another thing I do when going out is use CASH ONLY. I NNEEEVVERRR charge drinks to a card. This way you can SEE how much money you are throwing away, and I can control my spending much better this way. A $20 bill can generally cover an entire night (Generally which I end up spending mostly on Pizza :-) and leave me with some money the next day.