How To Be Frugal When You’re Not

Are you Frugal? After reading today’s post, check out my Guest post, Payoff Your Mortage Faster, Save Thousands of Dollars, at Making Sense of Cents.

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On Monday, I met with some friends and family at a local World of Beer for drinks and appetizers. I usually try to find local Happy Hour deals but in this case, there are no Happy Hour deals so we paid full price for the beer. This can be expensive and blow your budget! It was up to $8 for 12oz beer or $13 for a 22oz can of beer and that can really add up after 3 hours of drinking!

I consider myself frugal (and they consider me cheap!) so of course I mentioned that next time I’ll pick the place. Of course we started talking about the MonicaOnMoney blog they gave me some great ideas for saving money. Even though they’re not frugal normally, they sometimes act frugally too. Although, they do think I’m crazy for shopping at the Dollar Store and cancelling my cable.

Here are some ideas on being Frugal When You’re Not:

1. PRE-GAME AT HOME: Even though we met at 6pm, they had 2 beers at home to get started, which cut down on how many $13 beers they bought. College students know this one!

2. EAT DINNER AT HOME: They wanted to focus on drinking beer instead of wasting money and calories on food. So they ate dinner at home and didn’t buy any food. Apparently I didn’t get the memo because I was starving and ordered tons of food. I spent more on food than they did on beer.

3. LIVE NEAR YOUR FAVORITE BARS & RESTAURANTS: They walk across the street from the most popular shopping center in our city. Instead of driving to go out, worrying about traffic, and looking for a designated driver, they walk to and from the bars. This saves money on gas and taxis!

These small steps towards frugality add up!

What did I miss? What are some other frugal ideas?

Weekly Review: Great Articles on Saving, Budgeting, and Frugal Living

This week, I’ve read a lot of amazing articles! Here are 8 of my favorite reads this week.

  1. Financial Samurai: The First Million Might Be The Easiest: How To Become A Millionaire By Age 30
  2. Sweating The Big Stuff: Force Yourself to Save With a 100% Personal Tax
  3. Your Daily Finance: Watch Your Wallet- Saving Money and Losing Weight
  4. Life and My Finances: Pay Hundreds Now or Thousands Later
  5. Making Sense of Cents: Four Expenses That Aren’t Worth The Money
  6. Digital Spikes: 7 Habits of Highly Debt Free People
  7. Tortoise Banker: Setting Up a Budget: For New Couples

Leave a comment

  1. says

    Living super close to bars and restaurants has certainly saved us a ton of money on gas and parking! We also try to utilize the super close CTA (train and bus) systems when we may have to park anywhere. Doing so probably saves us about 2 beers worth of money!

  2. says

    I try to pick one or the other– eating or drinking out. Definitely not both! It’s so expensive. I always go to happy hour too. I’m the frugal one in my group and try to host, go to cheap movies or go to happy hours.

    • says

      @Dear Debt- You sound very similar to how I am with saving money on food and drinks. I love happy hours too, such an amazing deal compared to regular prices. We have an Italian restaurant that has $4 appetizers everyday for their happy hour, compared to $14 normally.

  3. says

    How about hosting cocktails at someone house /apartment? Much cheaper then buying the drinks out at a bar. Make the pre-game, the game and the post game too!

    • says

      @Brian- Great idea and much more frugal than going out for happy hour drinks. Besides, I like being at home instead of a crowded restaurant anyway. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. says

    I’ve lost count of how much money I’ve spent over the years on meals and drinks out. It sucks the money right out of your pocket! Great ideas here! I don’t tend to go out that much these days as any extra money goes off debts. But I would add: using public transport if you don’t live near bars/restaurants; just having a main course, instead of three courses and drinking whatever has the best offer on when you’re out!

  5. says

    Ah, pre-gaming. A uni classic!!

    Dinner at home is not only cheaper, but also better for you (health and quality) that eating in bars.

    Learning to drink slowly also really helps!

    I’ve recently moved from the North-East of England to the South of France. In the UK, a pint of beer was £3 and in France its more like £5.

    However, the French drink approximately a beer every hour (because they drinks half pints as standard and drink much less quickly) and in the UK you probably see away a pint every 15-20 minutes.

    So although its dearer, the cost per hour in France is around £5, whereas the cost per hour in the UK is around £10-£12.

    • says

      @Money Stepper- I’m glad you liked the article, pre-gaming is my favorite on the list and definitely a classic too! Thanks for sharing for opionions and insight on drinking in England, France, and the UK. I lived in Spain for a few years and I remember beers being about 5 Euros each, but that was when they first switched to the Euro so I’m guessing it’s more expensive now.

  6. says

    Great post! I recently wrote about drinking on the cheap as I too am not a fan of $8 beers. I just found a place up the street from me that had a buy one get one special so I’m excited to have found a cheap bar so close by.

    I’m also a fan of BYOB places… it’s a great way to drink on the cheap while you’re eating out.

    • says

      @Tara- Thank you, I’m glad you liked the post! Having a place walking distance is well worth it to me, I love not having to drive to go out to dinner. We don’t have many BYOB places here but thanks for the great idea!

    • says

      You’re right! Sharing appetizers and buying beer instead of mixed drinks are great ideas too. I like buying appetizers instead of dinners if I’m drinking since dinners are usually more expensive anyway. Thanks for sharing!

  7. says

    I’m the frugal one of my friends too so in order to help manage the costs of going out with them I try to suggest where we’ll go and find deals. I host in my own apartment as much as possible. Potluck style or ordering seamless always winds up being the cheapest AND the most fun!

  8. says

    Our far most frugal outing when I was your age was the local bar that had 25 cent beers on Sunday nights. Between the quarter beers and the Taco Bell next door to the bar, we could have quite the night on the town for less than ten bucks. :-)

  9. says

    In Guatemala beers are about $1 in a bar and $0.5 from the supermarket so when I go back to $12 beers in Paris I cringe. I try to get my friends to hit happy hours, it is around $5 a beer but still more reasonable than $12, the only problem is that not living there I always suggest the same bar and they get tired. You can find a ton online though.

    • says

      @Charles- Restaurants make tons of profit on beers and drinks! It’s much cheaper to drink at home or during happy hour. I like your idea of sticking to just one. Works great for happy hours with coworkers too.

    • says

      That’s a great point! I like thinking about how saving the money will buy me something I really want too. Thanks for posting!

  10. says

    Love this! It’s the drinker’s guide to frugality! I don’t know if I would be as extreme as to move close to my favorite bars, but if you drink a lot and you know it, I guess it could save you a ton of money! (And be safer. I’m a huge advocate for not driving drunk. Or even driving with a drink or two in you.)

    • says

      @FemmeFrugality- Exactly! A drinkers guide to frugality is a great idea. Living close is great for savings money on gas but might be tempting to drink more!

  11. says

    World of Beer caught my eye! I love beer! We don’t watch sporting events at bars, so I don’t have any game/pregame ideas, but we never buy food at a bar. Instead, we smuggle in a baggie full of almonds – much healthier and so cheap! Many weekends it’s just the two of us, so we head to a local bar for a Happy Hour beer and game of darts, then we head home to enjoy one six-pack of our favorite brew. We don’t need much (I’m a cheap date), so we usually spend around $20 for a fantastic night. I highly recommend putting a dartboard in your kitchen. It’s a ton of fun!

    Thank you for sharing your ideas, Monica!

  12. says

    I always make my own dinner at home. I think dinners are generally more expensive at restaurants than lunches anyway. Just some stuff I have noticed 😉

  13. says

    Whenever we go out with friends, we ALWAYS pregame at our house. People don’t even ask anymore, they just head on over because it’s the norm for all of us now. Haha saves us money and is fun!

    • says

      @Michelle- That’s great! I like how you’ve made pre-gaming at your house part of your night. I think I’ll try that too!

  14. says

    Eating more dinners at home and even brown bagging lunches are money savers in our house. For food we shop at Sam’s and entertainment we hit the beach!

    Thanks for the mention Monica really glad you enjoyed the post!

    • says

      @Thomas- Yes, good point about brown bagging lunches! I used to buy lunch at work daily and spend $300/month on just lunch. Crazy! Now I bring a healthier and much cheaper lunch from home (usually delicious leftovers). I could write a whole blog about this!

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