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But Can I Still Have a Life? (Bar Edition)

5 Apr

One of the things I was most nervous about regarding “saving money” while young was that I’d miss out on all the fun activities that are normally reserved for 20-somethings.  Prime example?  Nights out at the bar.*

Well, I’m here to tell you that is not true.  I’m not a big bar-goer in the first place, but I do enjoy an occasional night of drunken debauchery.  I never want to turn down a night of fun just because of the effect it will have on my wallet.

The best way to save money when going out, would obviously be to not spend money at the bar.  Simple concept, eh?  It’s rather depressing to see a bud light going for $6+ a pint… SERIOUSLY?  There’s no way I’m paying for that.  So I racked my brain for a way around that and remembered the brilliant activity of pre-gaming.**

For those who don’t know, pre-gaming means to drink before you go out.  In college, it was used partly to save money and partly to ensure you don’t show up to parties or bars stone cold sober (don’t lie- you know it’s an awkward feeling!).  Here, we’ll just focus on the money saving benefits ;)

How to Pre-Game:

Step 1:  Purchase your beverage of choice and stash it at your house for times of need.

Step 2:  Receive invitation to partake in shenanigans with your friends.

Step 3:  Realize you have your favorite beverage on hand and would prefer to drink that rather than expensive bar drinks.

Step 4:  Ensure you will have a ride to the bar (reserve a cab, bribe a friend, figure out how to take mass transportation, etc).

Step 5:  Begin drinking.

Step 6:  Utilize ride to get to bar.

Step 7:  Realize you are not (or only slightly) tempted by expensive bar drinks!  Enjoy your night at a much cheaper price tag.

Truthfully, it can get a bit tricky to figure out the logistics of a night out that includes pre-gaming (seriously, nothing is dumber than drinking and driving-  don’t do it) but it will be worth it!  You may spend $15 on cab fare or bribing your sober friend to drive, but you’ll most likely save $15 at the bar.

And to clarify, I don’t mean that you can’t drink anything at the bar.  This method will hopefully allow you to cut your tab to 1 or 2 beers, rather than 4 or 5.  Or perhaps you might even opt for soda or water instead of another alcoholic beverage!

So let’s bring it back– let’s make pre-gaming a socially acceptable activity for any age group (or, you know, the ones above the legal drinking age)!  You wouldn’t have dreamt of arriving to a college party without drinking first, so why do it now?  Just because we have big bucks to spend on fancy drinks doesn’t mean we have to.

[Even better, let’s bring back house parties.  Why go to a bar to hang out when we could do it in the comfort of our own homes?  But that’s a post for another day.]

*This post is geared towards people who want to drink alcohol while partying.  If you’re not a drinker, props to you!  You’re already saving oodles of money.

**I make a lot of assumptions about the college-use of pre-gaming in this post.  If you did not pre-game parties while in college, just go with me ;)

One last note: I wrote this lighthearted-ly (that’s not a word) but you should really take it seriously.  NOTHING, and I mean nothing, is dumber than putting yourself or others at risk by drinking and driving.  If you have any doubts as to your ability or a friend’s ability to get home safely, spring for a cab.  Those few bucks could save your life!  Be safe, please.

Cheap Entertainment: Redbox

2 Apr

One of the biggest categories of spending for 20-somethings is entertainment*.  We have grown up in a culture where we feel the need to be constantly entertained, so it is only natural that we spend a large amount of our budget buying things that entertain us.  Think movie tickets, trips to the amusement park, video game systems, huge DVD collections, mindless wandering/purchasing at the mall, mindless internet shopping… the list goes on.

So how about a way to entertain yourself but still save cash?


English: a RedBox video rental kiosk located o...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone’s heard of Redbox by now.  If you haven’t, the general idea of Redbox is this: Redbox movie rental kiosks are located in grocery stores, convenience stores, fast food restaurants, etc.  You pay $1.25ish to rent a movie for a day.  You are responsible for returning it to a kiosk by 9 pm the day after you rent (note: you can return it to any kiosk!  not just the one where you got it).  For every extra day you keep it, they charge you another rental period (so another $1.25ish).

Alright, so $1.25 is pretty cheap.  This is true.  But what is even better than $1.25? ….. FREE!

Try this: next time you rent a movie at a Redbox kiosk and it gives you the option to type a promo code, type in “DVDONME”.  This should give you a totally free rental for a night!  This will work on each of your credit/debit cards… so use it once for every form of plastic you have!  Just remember to return it by 9 pm the next night or else you’ll be charged $1.25 for that next day :)

Try this next time you’re tempted to spend major money to entertain yourself.  A movie night at home with your friends can be just as fun as going out– and WAY cheaper!  Trust me, your friends will enjoy the change of pace.

* Yeah, that’s not backed up by any sort of fact or figures.  Just go with me here.