Saving Money on Booze – The Aussie Way

Saving Money on Beer


I recently read a post by Fly to FI about ways to save money on liquor. It was written by a 22 y/o fire-walker, and he noted some excellent points. (Although young, Fly to FI has a cool blog and perspective, check it all out here)


I remember when I was 22. I pulled all sorts of tight-ass shenanigans to save money on drinking.  I’d like to contribute the following tips I have learned over the years.


Fair warning, this post contains unconventional money saving techniques and isn’t suited for everyone.


A quick background on my qualifications to discuss cheaper ways to get booze:

  1. I’m Australian. We drink beer for breakfast.
  2. Aside from rent, alcohol used to be my biggest annual expense. Not kidding.
  3. In 2013, I personally exceeded the legal home-brew limit (brewed over 200 Gallons of beer at my house)
  4. Sadly, I have no shame.


Ok, here we go…


***By the way… If you can’t be bothered reading this entire post, just bring a 6-pack over to my place and I’ll share all the info with you in person.***


🙂 See what I just did there? That’s actually Tip #1…


Tip #1: Trade favors for beers.

I can’t even count the number of times I have been paid in beer for doing simple favors and chores. Things that I would gladly do for free anyway.

Next time you’re out helping people and doing good deeds, drop some subtle hints about booze, and watch the beverages float your way.


I recall a quote from the famous Zig Ziglar:


“You can get free booze in life if you just help enough other people get their free booze too.”


(Maybe not his exact words, but I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant when he said this quote)


Tip #2: Want a free beer? Try just asking for it.

Ever gone to a pub and talked your way into a free beer? It’s easier than you think. I took a negotiation course for one of my old jobs and learned that everything is negotiable. Even at the pub.

Don’t believe me?


Try this trick:

Next time you’re about to pay your bar tab, hold out both your fists and ask the bartender to pick one. In one hand hold your credit card, and if picked you will pay for your drinks. In the other hand is nothing, in which case you get the drinks for free.

Since bartenders are bored and like to play games, they’ll usually go for it. You got a 50/50 chance of getting free booze.


You’re not witty and cunning? Keep reading…


Tip #3: Hide Booze in the Bushes

BYO and pre-drinking before an event is a favorite for most people. But any amateur drinker can do that.
True tight-asses pack multiple stealth beverages and hide them in a nearby bush at the entrance of the event they’re attending.

Try it next time you go out. Hide a small bottle of tequila under a bush in the parking lot around the corner from the pub. When you get thirsty, politely excuse yourself from the conversation, and sneak outside to enjoy your success.


Cheap Booze under bushes

To the untrained eye, this is just a picture of some nice bushes.

Pro Tips for hiding spots:

  • Don’t reveal your stash to anyone. Even your closest friends can and will rob you.
  • Even the best hiding spots can be found by the trained eye. Always secure the perimeter before choosing a hiding spot.
  • Consider hiding your booze under multiple bushes. My dad always taught me that only fools put all their beers in one basket.
  • Always bring enough for the walk home. The last thing you want after a successful night of free drinking is to be completely parched on your walk home.


Tip #4: Boxed Wine = Free Pillow

Cheep Booze box wine pillow

Exhibit A: The “Goon Pillow”

Most people don’t know this secret. Once you’ve finished drinking your box of Trader Joe’s wine, remove the inner plastic bag from the box. Then with a careful and gentle technique, blow air back into the bag to inflate a nice sized pillow.
If you’re in a strange city or can’t find your way home, just find a nice park bench or grassy spot, and rest your head on your comfy new creation.

This way you can save money on expensive hotels.

Don’t forget, the plastic bag is recyclable. In the morning when you wake up, tie a piece of string to the end of the bag and give it to some kids as a homemade balloon.


Saving money while helping children. I can’t think of a more noble act.



Tip #5: Always Calculate per Ounce!

So you’re at Islands Restaurant with your friends grabbing lunch. You order a Red Trolly Ale and the waiter asks you if you want a ‘Standard’ or a ‘Tall’ beer. Since you want to seem manly, you order the larger beer thinking it’s only a few bucks extra and a better deal.

Cheap booze from Islands?

Exhibit B: Restaurant trickery!

But check out the sneaky pricing those restaurants charge:

16 ounces for $3.95 or 22 ounces for $5.95.

Which is the better deal? If you break it down per ounce, the smaller option gives you a savings of 3 cents per ounce.


Let’s do some quick math…

If you had one restaurant lunch per day, with an average of two beers per meal, times by several years, saving 3 cents per ounce, including compound interest… By the time you are 40 you would have accumulated at least $147 in additional savings to put towards your Vanguard or Roth IRA.


Tip #6. Don’t Try This at Home:

As mentioned before, I started home-brewing my own beer. It’s a slippery slope!

What started as an innocent hobby to save money, ended up as on obsession that took over my life. I ended up hitting the legal home-brew limit for USA households, brewing over 40 x 5 gallon batches of the finest Pale Ales and Hefeweizen’s this world has ever seen.

But, as most home brewers will admit, I ended up spending MORE money on doing it myself, than just sticking to buying good craft brews at the store.


My home built Kegerator.  YES it is still operational. And YES you can come around and pour as much as you like anytime you want.


And finally,…


Tip #7: The BEST Way!


Quit drinking.


If you can’t afford it, don’t do it. Simple as that.


I have yet to master this technique, and I respect anyone that has given up on all alcohol completely. The ultimate money saving tip is to not spend anything in the first place.


Hope you enjoyed reading. CHEERS!


12 thoughts on “Saving Money on Booze – The Aussie Way

  • So many awesome Aussie tips! I can’t say I’ve negotiated beers at a bar before but it’s certainly something I’ll have to try. I definitley drank my weight in goon during my 5-month Australian adventure though. The pillow thing really works 😉

    • Glad you got to experience it first hand. When I first moved to the US I was shocked that everyone didn’t do these things. Gotta love the pillow trick.

  • Don’t put all your beers in one basket… Words to live by right there. I definitely want to try one of your home brews upon your arrival home.

    • Or, stay tuned… that may be a future post! I took some photos while making mine and have some good tips I learned. Honestly I can’t wait to make my next one!

  • Ha! Such great tips…and could be applied across the board…especially like the reference to wine box pillow! hilarious.

  • I ‘bought’ my first sofa for a slab of VB. It was green (the sofa, and the VB turns out). KInd of a velvetty green like a pool table felt thats seen to much sun. Hideous. So was the couch! Great post Joel!

    • That’s how first sofas are supposed to be! So hideous you never forget them and are traded for alcohol somehow. I might start selling some of my furniture down at the college dorms and see what they offer me.

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