Saving Money on Liquor: A Poor Man’s Guide

Saving Money on Liquor: A Poor Man’s Guide

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Creator at Fly to FI
Cody is a personal finance junkie who constantly tracks his net worth with Personal Capital.

He also runs a Side Hustle Course that teaches others how to make $$$ outside of their day job through freelancing and blogging.
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WARNING: If you drink fancy liquor and are extremely particular about your drinking, I’d skip out on this post… Still reading? You’re in for some actionable tips to cut your alcohol expenditure WAY down.

For those who don’t know me, I’m 22 years old. During college, I liked to drink, party, and have fun. Simultaneously, I aimed to reduce my discretionary spending.

So, as an avid pursuer of financial independence, I employed “advanced” cost-saving techniques.

Some of these strategies may seem strange or cheap, but they’re tried and true methods to minimize the cost of liquor.

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Falsify Your Fanciness

Nobody wants to look like they’re drinking cheap alcohol, including me. That’s why you need to employ this tactic. This strategy is a simple, one-step to falsifying your fanciness.

Step 1: Pour a cheap bottle of liquor into an expensive bottle.

Step 2: Drink, enjoy, and look fancy!

“But Cody, cheap alcohol tastes disgusting!”

I thought you might say that. That’s why I’m going to share this next strategy with you.

Brita Boozing

Believe it or not, a Brita Filter performs a sort of distillation process (Hint: It doesn’t just work for water). Lucky for us, this means that it can make cheap liquor taste like less-cheap liquor! Trust me, I’ve tried it.

This distillment strategy works with nearly every type of liquor. I’ve done vodka, gin, tequila, rum, whiskey, and even moonshine. There’s a noticeable difference in taste after a run through the Brita.

If you really don’t believe me, just try it!

Now when you’re Falsifying Your Fanciness, your cheap liquor can taste better too. If you’re sharing or giving out drinks, nobody will even be able to tell the difference!

“It’s Just Water”

This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. One of my personal favorites for sure.

Step 1: Fill a water bottle with your clear liquor of choice (vodka, gin, white rum, etc.). You can use a clear mixer (soda water, tonic, seltzer) if you don’t want full strength.

Step 2: Hide the water bottle upon entry to the venue.

Pro Tip:

  • Best places for guys are jacket pockets or shoved down the front of pants.
  • Best places for girls are purses or jacket pockets.

Step 3: Order an ice water and drink the water out of it. Pour your prepared drink into the glass and enjoy! If you don’t have access to ice water you’ll just have to suck it up and drink your concoction at room temperature.

The Secret Recipe

This was my go-to drink during my college years… so I guess I’ll spill the secret recipe.

Crystal Light + Water + Vodka. 

Guess why I liked it so much? It’s cheap! Let’s check out the cost breakdown.

Crystal Light Packets (44 Pack) = $7.99

Water = Free

Rubinoff Vodka = $12.99 per handle

If that’s not a frugal concoction, then I don’t know what is.

In Summary

Most of you reading this probably think I’m absolutely crazy… and that’s okay! You don’t have to employ any of the strategies mentioned. But for those liquor lovers looking to save money, these advanced techniques are powerful.

Before we wrap up, I have to credit my friend Tyler for inspiring this post. He is also a veteran strategist when it comes to liquor frugality. I figured it would be selfish to hoard all of this top-secret information.

I seriously saved thousands of dollars over the past few years using these tried and true methods and you can too! There’s always room for improvement though. If you have any crazy strategies you use to save money on liquor, please share in the comments!


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Note: I am not a financial advisor or fiduciary. All the information presented in this article reflects my opinion. I am not liable for any financial losses incurred related to this content. My content is always written with the readers’ best interests in mind. I believe that my content is helpful and well-researched, but it is not professional financial advice. For more information, read our Privacy Policy.

13 thoughts on “Saving Money on Liquor: A Poor Man’s Guide”

    • Haha thanks Joel! Glad you’re on the “this is genius” side of things. I’m sure some people will think I’m a lunatic. But yeah, try the Brita Filter and let me know how it tastes! I noticed a reasonable difference.


  1. I’m the engineer…. why am i just now finding out about this? LOL!!! You are forever the life hacker man, this is pretty ingenious filtering cheap vodka (i’m going to trust that it works). Haha

    • Haha desperation drives creativity! I’ll have to bring a filtered vodka bottle to the next FI event I see you at… you can be the judge LOL

    • I’m a tequila fan as well Erik! Kombucha works wonders to cure the hangover. If only I knew how to make my own…

  2. If you are in a state where alcohol is sold at grocery stores/Walmart/Target, download the ‘Ibotta’ app! You can get $2-5 back on a bottle of liquor or a case of beer.

    • Awesome Dillon! Thanks for sharing. Unfortunately Massachusetts doesn’t have that luxury, but I encourage those who can to take advantage of this alcohol hack!

  3. But wait! There’s MORE! Liquor stores usually have a section chock-full of rebates. I got a 12 pack of Smirnoff hard seltzer for $3. Also if you have a club membership, they have AMAZING prices on large volume spirits… and they never go bad! #FIMom

    • Lol! Thanks for the cheap alcohol tips… Mom 😉 can’t say I’ve been disappointed when you come home with 8 bottles of vodka for $40 total. I’ll take that deal any day!

  4. Love it!! These are awesome tips. RE: Brita – WHAT?! I’ll have to try that…luckily my friend that has a Brita is out of town this week and I have her key! (I’ll ask her before hand of course 😉 ). I already do the fancy bottle trick – ish. I have these beautiful glass decanters that were my grandmothers and I put our liquor in that. Feels SUPER FANCY! I also rock the Crystal Light + Water + Vodka though I use MiO now (The maltodextrin in Crystal Light doesn’t play nice with me). Overall my strategies involve only buying liquor out when it’s 1/2 price happy hour and if that’s not possible and I still want to drink with my meal we pre-game (college is still alive and well I guess…) other than that we take a trek to Trader Joe’s every month or so to stock up on liquor – they by far have the cheapest in our area (Downtown Seattle). Last year they had a 1/2 off special on our favorite 1.75L 101 proof whiskey and we bought 6 bottles. The looks we got at check out were golden.

    • Hey! Thanks for reading. You should definitely try out the Brita filter. I taste a noticeable difference after just one round of distilling. I also do the same thing as you do for buying alcohol! I’ll buy in bulk when they have a crazy sale and it will last me several weeks. Sometimes they have $5 Smirnoff bottles so I’ll load up with 10 or so 🙂

      I love that you discovered the “secret recipe”… lol. So cheap yet so tasty!

      • Like minds! I love it. I’ll let you know how the Brita filter goes (though I’m sure it will be amazing – my current liquor choices include asking “can I have your cheapest 80 proof liquor please?”)

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