How to Save Money on Booze

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A cocktail here, a bottle of wine there…you can spend money on alcohol very quickly without realizing it. If you enjoy a boozy beverage every now and again, those seemingly small purchases can start to really add up! Here are some suggestions to help you save on alcoholic beverages. 

Going out?

  • One of the simplest ways to save is to have a drink at home before you go out to avoid drinking exorbitantly marked-up booze at a bar or restaurant.
  • Look for specials and savings events, like Happy Hour or Ladies’ Night
  • Order a bottle or pitcher to share instead of buying drinks by the glass
  • Some allow BYOB!

Buy wholesale

  • In some states, you don’t have to be a member to buy booze at wholesale clubs, so check with your local stores.
  • Most wine at Costco is sold at 10% to 20% lower than at other wine stores. According to the New York Times, “no wine [at Costco] is marked up more than 14 percent, and some barely at all; wine stores customarily mark up as much as 50 percent.”
  • Buy the warehouse store brand
    • Costco has their own line of wine and spirits – Kirkland Brand. Most are fairly well reviewed and the prices are excellent. Prices may vary by location, but 1.75L of Costco’s Kirkland Signature American Vodka has been spotted at $16.99 as compared to Tito’s, for example, which usually sells for upwards of $30, or Grey Goose which sells for around $59.
    • Costco’s Kirkland Signature craft beers are worth a look too. A 24 variety pack of Kirkland Craft Beers costs around $19.99, where a similar 24-pack assortment of craft beer from other stores will typically cost double that or more.  
    • Sam’s Club’s Member’s Mark spirits are a great deal too. Their tequila even received an “exceptional” rating in the 2019 U.S. Spirit Awards with 91 points. This 1.75L bottle of silver tequila costs around $20 compared to 1800 Silver, which typically costs in the $40 range. 
  • Buy the biggest size/quantity for the biggest savings. 

Get in the subscriptions spirit…

  • Time is money! Running out to buy booze costs both. For busy people, a subscription service or membership club can be a lifesaver and a great way to explore new varietals. Here are a few popular wine subscription boxes and how you can save by using them:
    • Winc
      • Buy 4 bottles, get $20 off your first box
      • Buy 12 bottles, get 10 percent off
      • Members get free shipping when they buy 4 bottles or more
      • Check the “Wines Under $20” section for value priced
      • A great Winc feature is that the site compares their price to retail price for you. At the time of this writing, a 2019 Point de Passage Red Blend is listed at $12.99 for members compared to the retail price of $14.99.
      • Share your referral link with friends and family, and they’ll receive $22 of Winc wine! And, to say thank you, you’ll earn a bottle on each of their first two shipments for a total of $30 in credits.
    • Firstleaf
      • New members can get over 60% off the standard price using code WINECLUB2021. At the time of this writing, you can also get $40 off and free shipping on your first order!
        • There’s no fee to cancel if you don’t want to pay the higher prices after the first month.
      • Use my referral link – you get $40 and so do I. Then set up your own referral link!
    • SommSelect
      • Get free shipping on any 6 bottles
      • Refer a friend and you’ll both receive $20 off when they make their first purchase.
    • Bright Cellars
      • Get $50 off your first box
      • Earn member rewards and discounts for referrals, reviews, repurchases, and gifting. Use the rewards points toward free wine or cheese pairings for your next box delivery. 
    • Pro tip: Install the CouponCabin.com Sidekick browser extension. When you visit these subscription sites, you’ll be alerted to available offers.  
    • Pro tip: Plan on being home when your delivery arrives. These stores require an adult signature upon delivery

No-subscription required

  • Though many subscription services allow you to cancel anytime without penalty, there are delivery options available for those who aren’t ready to commit.
    • Drizly
      • Drizly is the Uber of alcohol for those living in major cities. Shop from thousands of spirits from the comfort of your home, select your favorite available liquor store, and place your order. Your spirits will be delivered in an hour or less!
      • Get $5 off your first order with code First5
    • Liquorama is an online liquor store that ships nationwide. Get a 12 bottle case with free shipping or check out their end of bin sales for incredible deals! You can also filter selection by price.
    • Worldwide Wine & Spirits offers free shipping on orders of 100 mini liquor bottles or more. 
    • The Liquor Store has a great sale selection.

Take a photo to save

  • Earn rebates by snapping photos of your receipts with the Ibotta app.  The rebates can be rewarded to you via Paypal or Venmo. At the time of this writing, you can get between $2 and $4 back on most wine purchases and between $.50 and $5 on most beer purchases at common grocery stores like Publix, Kroger, and Whole Foods, as well as at stores like Costco and Target.
    • Ibotta works at restaurants too. Right now, you can get $2 back when you buy a Three Olives Vodka mixed drink or shot and $8 back on any Cupcake Vineyards bottle of wine. 

Stay in the know

  • Look for special offers and deals at popular stores like Total Wine.
  • Most liquor stores will offer a discount if you purchase alcohol in bulk. 
    • Pro Tip: If you buy in bulk for an event, some liquor stores will buy back any unused alcohol
  • Keep an eye out for hang tags on your favorite spirits offering a mail-in rebate. The extra step is often worth the reward!
  • Follow your local liquor stores on social media for special events and discounts.
  • Sign up for newsletters with your favorite liquor stores – physical or online to receive updates on specials. 

Shop in unexpected places

  • The next time you’re at Trader Joe’s, ask if they sell wine and beer at your location. Their Charles Shaw brand of wine sells for as low as $1.99 at some stores, earning it the nickname “Two Buck Chuck!”
  • Depending on where you live, some pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens, and Rite-Aid sell wine and beer. These chains often offer rewards that help you save big on alcohol.
    • For example, if you’re at CVS and there’s a sale on wine or beer, that sale can often be combined with any CVS ExtraBucks Rewards you may have accrued. 
  • And don’t forget duty-free! Avoid taxes by hitting the duty-free shop at the airport. 

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Trae Bodge is an accomplished lifestyle journalist, TV presenter, spokesperson, and educator, specializing in beauty, tech, apps, toys, gift guides, and smart shopping. She has appeared as an expert on dozens of TV shows and radio networks, including Today, Rachael Ray Show, Inside Edition, CNN, Reuters, CNBC.com, Sirius Radio, and numerous FOX, ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates. Trae has been featured as a beauty tastemaker in Elle, Redbook, InStyle, and Essence, and her work has appeared on Yahoo Finance, Marketwatch, USNews.com, Credit.com, CBSNews.com, Time.com.