Save Money At The Bar By Using Practiced Methods

I know most of you are wondering how it is possible to save money at the bar, especially since your guard goes down once you’re a little buzzed and you forget all about frugality.  It took me about three years to discover the pattern that was common among older students at the pub.  These students tended to be more mature and didn’t really have to worry about over-consumption becasue they had all the practice they could handle in their earlier years at school.  I turned into one of these said students and I’ll never look back, because these students used credit cards.  I’m not going to go into the reward programs of credit cards or tell you “not to drink so much” with this article. I just want to share my experience and see if others share my insight on the nightlife.

Keep Track Of Your Spending

The nice thing about credit cards is that they are accurate. If you take out cash it’s always $20 bills and when you get back home you empty the 5 pounds of change you have in your pockets (at least in Canada).  It’s nice to know exactly how much you spent, then you can budget accordingly. This might be harder for students but I find myself budgeting so I can actually save money at the bar.  My budget goes pretty fast when I do use it but at least it’s there, which is a good start in my books. I also use mint to help keep track of my expenses.

Related: Mint Review

Be Loyal And Tip Accordingly

I’m a loyal guy when it comes to buying things.  If I like the customer service than I’ll likely come back even if there are marginally better options in terms of price.  When I’m at the bar I like ordering from the same bartender or waitress even if there’s a bigger line up in front of them.  I do this because I get to know them after a while and I like supporting people I know.  Once you become a regular (or a shareholder if you add up the 5 years of money spend at the campus bar…) chances are you will get “perks” after a while.  Since I pay with credit cards for pretty much everything it makes tipping neater. If a drink costs $3.50 and you hand over a $5 and say keep the change, you’re handing over a 43% tip!  If you go out often and can handle your booze, it’ll get expensive pretty quick.  If you buy 4 drinks at this rate you’re spending $20.  If you use a credit card and your tab comes up to an even $14 you can still tip 20%($2.80 or just round up to $3), totaling up to $17.  I know it seems like splitting hairs, but when you’re going out a few times a week it can start to add up.


If you are paying with credit cards, you don’t want to black out. Period.

The Pre-Game Will Save Money At The Bar!

Before you go to the bar for a solid night out you want to have a pre-game.  This serves a few purposes, the first is that it will give you a good buzz before you go, requiring you to spend less at the bar to get to your optimal tipping point.  Six beers is worth around $10 to buy at a store, in the bar it would cost $21-$27, you do the math.  The second point is that it will give you a chance to meet up with everyone before you go out and you can discuss rides and sharing cabs for the right back.  Again, just like the Navy Seals do, it’s a good idea to have a “swim buddy” so you don’t leave a man behind.

The Post-Game

This one got a lot more popular as each year progressed and it wasn’t even anyone’s idea, it’s just one of those things that just happened.  Post-game parties can save money at the bar becasue you’re there for less time which is why a pre-game works so well. Probably because we had a longer pre-game and allowed us to show up late at the bar after the long lines ended. We stayed for only an hour or two than came back home again. Some could argue that the bar was the pre-game, but that might only work when you live in a residence building.

Pay Attention To Specials

The easiest way to save money at the bar is to look for specials just like when you go to a restaurant.  When I’m told what the specials are I always like to try them out.  It’s always cheaper this way and I find it a good way to try new things. They always have poor/terrible products that they can not sell, or new products they want to promote on special. I also found that sometimes the liquor sales rep just had a budget to help the bar promote their product.  In any case you’ll try something you probably never heard of before.

Tip for Men – Stay Away From Women Who Use You For Drinks

I’m not saying all women do this, but I have seen many practice this art and it’s expensive for us guys, chances are it won’t get you anywhere either.

–Side Note – – Women aren’t the only culprits of this, my male roommate always went to the bar and he somehow talked girls into buying him drinks!

I’m not going to get into how you can tell if you’re being used for drinks because if you have to ask… you probably are being used.

Tip for Women – Use Men For Drinks

If you don’t know how to do this, watch the dance floor.  I can guarantee that a girl will go up and dance with a stranger and from there they will go to the bar for some shots.  They will go back to the dance floor and this will go on for about 40 minutes or until the man is distracted than the girl will “disappear.”  I bet that since you have read this, you will start to notice it at the bar all the time now.

These are some ways to save money at the bar in normal, everyday, sorts of ways. I hope that with this article I can save someone out there $50 a few times over.

Does anyone else have any other ways to save money at the bar? Please comment below.


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12 years ago

Figure out what they are overcharging on…in NYC $8 beers aren’t crazy but for $2 bucks more you can get a straight scotch…if your end game is fall down drunk go with the $2 bucks more it will save you money in the end lol.

Dare I say it is like buying in bulk?

12 years ago

Do not buy mixed drinks. Drink straight liquor. Pre-game + only drinking straight liquor = drunk person while saving money!

12 years ago
Reply to  Evan

$8 is pretty expensive for a beer… I can’t believe they charge so little for scotch though! I’m surprised supply and demand doesnt take effect there and the prices don’t become the same.

12 years ago

The last time I was a regular at the bars was when I was in college. How to save money at the bar is tto avoid it. Nowadays, I nurse a soft drink if I am at a bar. I can be a designated driver that way. I guess that is a great way to save money.

Gosh this post reminds me of my younger days. Wow those were some “interesting’ times. We used to save money by pre-gaming as well as having house parties. It seemed to work. We would also purchase a yearly VIP card so no matter how often we went we never had to pay cover.

12 years ago

From a bartenders perspective, tipping 20% is average and really won’t get much in the way of “perks”. Which tend to be handed out much quicker and more often with those 43% tips. Plus bartenders remember who is tipping well and tend to get to those customers first.

12 years ago

Hmm. Tipping at that level is not AFAIK common in the UK but then we have a minimum wage and restaurants are not supposed to include tips in that. On the women-men front, from distant memory it never worked for me eiither! Pre- and post-game drinks are cheaper and I guess as with restaurant meals it is always cheaper and actually much more enjoyable to have friends over – as long as your kitchen/apartment/house is presentable of course! Otherwise hire the Porsche for the night to impress. But watch the credit card bills and pay them off every month –… Read more »

12 years ago
Reply to  krantcents

If you’re DD you can also pull over and pretend to fill up with fuel a few times on the way home and get everyone to pitch in. ;)

12 years ago

I forgot to mention the VIP cards and cover! I’ll have to update this article, thanks! Usually bars don’t start charging cover until later on in the night, which makes the pregame a toss up against the cover charge. As for the VIP card, I have only had experience with one bar that uses them properly. But they are good to have if you go enough. If you know any nurses or doctors they usually get these cards for free.

12 years ago

Sounds like you have this down to a science.

12 years ago
Reply to  cashflowmantra

Well I should seeing how much I spent investing in this study…

12 years ago

Stay conscious… love it! Some good tips in there, my best tip is not to get into buying rounds of drinks. One round between a few people can get costly and evidently someone always goes missing when it is their turn to buy drinks.

12 years ago

I hate “that guy!”

12 years ago

I find bars to be over-rated. As a married guy I prefer to stay home and have friends over. When we do go out we try to intertwine an activity, such as shooting pool, which is an old hobby of mine. Much more entertainment value than sitting there drinking my face off.

12 years ago
Reply to  Sustainable PF

This is where I’m at in my life now too SPF. Do you hustle people for money to help with the personal finances? There is nothing non-environmentally mentally friendly about hustling right?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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