To quote the great April Ludgate, alcohol is fun and delicious.
But alcohol can also be very, very expensive. If you're a thrifty drinker (or want to become one), don't worry, we have you covered. Here are seven ways to make sure you're getting the very best deal out there on all of your adult beverages.
1. Shop online
Like everything else, good deals on alcohol can be found on the great, wide interwebs. Money Nation suggests that you start with the obvious search terms (like "save money on alcohol") any time you need to stock up. But, as the site says, it's important to remember where the real money in online alcohol is: Shipping. Find deals on free shipping and you're on your way to getting your drank on in a fiscally responsible way.
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2. Buy in bulk
Whether you're buying online or hitting the local Costco for a ridiculously large bottle of champagne, buying in bulk is a great way to save money on, well, anything — and that includes alcohol. You don't even need a membership card to buy from the big-box club stores in a few states. Call your local store for rules.
3. Make use of apps
Apps like Drinking Buddy help you find deals on alcohol, but you can also widen your search. The Walmart Savings Catcher app and Checkout 51 help you save money after you've already purchased alcohol (or anything else, really) by looking for coupons you missed during the checkout and helping you redeem them retroactively.
4. Shop generics
Okay, you don't have to go total generic (this isn't bagged store brand cereal, after all), but skipping out on top shelf brands will save you a bunch — and still get you to basically the same place. And really? Any alcohol you're mixing doesn't need to be top shelf. Cheapo red wine will be great in your sangria, trust me.
5. Shop smart
Any rule of thumb that works for groceries will also work for alcohol when it comes to saving money, like being smart about where you shop. Trader Joe's, for example, has some great deals on alcohol. The deals are so great, in fact, that Paste even create an awesome guide to drinking cheap at Trader Joe's.
6. Clip coupons
It's old school, but check the weekly sales ads (most are available online, if you don't get a paper delivered to your house) and pay attention to which stores have alcohol on sale. If you keep an eye on these ads regularly, you'll start to get a sense for what makes a really good deal and you'll know exactly when to stock up on your favorites.
7. Become your own bartender
Drinking is expensive anyway, but especially if you're doing it in a bar, drinking pricey cocktails. Skip the bar night (at least some times) and teach yourself to make your favorite cocktails at home. They'll be way cheaper and it'll be a great skill to impress your friends/coworkers/future party guests with.
Remember, you don't have to give up everything you love just because you're trying to live on a budget. With a little smart planning, you can enjoy even your most expensive, um, hobbies without breaking the bank.