‘How to Make Your Evening Out Affordable’ is a series of blog posts with tips and ideas to help people afford better date nights, romantic getaways, gatherings, or plain old fashion fun evenings. If you want to make the most of the your time and money whether by yourself, with a date, or with a group of friends, subscribe to these helpful hints to make the most out of an evening out.
Tip # 1
Drink a Little Before and a Little After, and Not As Much While Out
One of the most expensive things people pay for when they enjoy an evening out is drinks. Alcohol is charged triple the amount the pay by volume, sometimes higher, and teas, sodas, and other drinks are just as lucrative for establishments as well. My wife and I have found that by indulging at home before and after a night out, it makes dinner more affordable and helps us enjoy more nights out.
If you do the math, a 5 ounce glass of wine is about $5-$8, and that’s a house wine or a specialty hour price. Restaurants try to train their bar tenders to pour 5 ounces, although if you find a place that pours heavy, go for it. You can get 5-5 ounce glasses out of a 750 ml bottle of wine. That means that a restaurant pulls in a total of $25 – $40 a bottle of wine. At whole sale prices they probably pay $7 – $15 a bottle. If you end up having three glasses of wine (normally my wife will have one and I have two), that adds up to about $15 – $24 extra on your bill; and again, that’s if you are drinking a less expensive wine, house wine, or go during a happy hour deal. Also, Don’t think for an instant that BOG (by one get one) deals are any less a deal.
Liquor is even more lucrative; consider for a moment that bottle of rum or vodka, low-end quality (wells-drink worthy), may cost you about $15. For $5 -$8 dollars a drink they can get at least 10 drinks out of a bottle. Now, factor in that the restaurant gets bottles at whole sale costs and your looking at a higher intake of profit for establishments.
It is important to note that I am not against restaurants and bars making these profits. I am just showing you that ordering drinks is where these places make the most money and I am giving you some information to show that perhaps you can change your spending habits so you can enjoy more evenings out. With that in mind, try to have your drinks at home, before you go out, or when you get home, or both. If you feel that you still would like a glass of wine with dinner, at least you won’t have to have two or three glasses at the establishment.
One of the things we like to do is to have our drinks by our pool. Instead of having a drink at the restaurant, we make it ourselves and unwind before going. Not only does it cut down on the check at the restaurant, but it provides us with the control to make the drinks the way we like. It also doesn’t give us the feeling of being rushed to go out if we both sit and talk about our day. Then when we go out, we either have fewer drinks, or no drinks at all.
If the evening just consists of dinner or something brief away from the house, we not only have a drink before we go out, but we will wait until we get home also. A lot of times we will not have drinks beforehand if we are going somewhere right after work. If we know its only to go eat or to pick something up at the mall, we will wait and have our drinks when we get home. This allows us to have a more cozy or intimate setting to finish the evening, all the while saving money for other nights out also.
Lastly, If you’re going out with a group of friends for beers, cocktails, or even out to eat, encourage them to do the same. Sometimes we will have guests over beforehand to indulge in a drink or two, or we will make sure that we don’t drink as much at the bar and invite people over afterwards. You can always start the party early and end it later this way; again, it is more about not giving all your money to the restaurants so that you can enjoy more times out.
So, whether its a drink beforehand or waiting a little longer to have a drink afterward, one of the best ways to make more evenings affordable and allow you to go out more often is by having alcoholic beverages away from establishments that make a killing off of alcoholic sales. Again, I am not the type of person to tell you by completely giving up these beverages completing while going out will help, sometimes it is unavoidable, but by cutting back you will help reduce dollars spent where it doesn’t need to be spent.