Save money on wine and beer

( 11 September 2018 )

Drowning your sorrows is not the answer to beating any money-related blues - but wouldn't it be nice to enjoy a relaxing drink without breaking the bank?

Step one: Skip wine by the glass. Most restaurants like to make enough on a single glass to pay for the whole bottle, which is not an appetising prospect, especially since the plonk may even have been opened hours before. Think instead about ordering a half bottle of your choice or even a small carafe of house wine.

Step two: Buy in bulk. Many off licences and supermarkets offer a discount of up to 10% for purchases of six bottles and it is not unheard of to secure a discount of 20% for a dozen bottles. If you are a collector of wines, or enjoy trying different ones, it might be prudent to join a wine club, many of which offer significant introductory discounts. Watch out though for high delivery charges.

Step three: Avoid the big names. Don't fall into the trap of paying more for wines from a well-known region or which are made from a popular grape. Experiment with new vintages from other countries – you will find something you like but at a fraction of the cost. If you are feeling nervous, why not hold a wine-tasting party? Get all your guests to bring along a bottle of their choice, within an agreed price range, with the aim of everyone trying something new.

Step four: Find a good, budget 'follow up' wine. When entertaining, people always want to offer their guests the best possible wine. However, once they have had a couple of glasses their palette isn't nearly as sensitive and a good, inexpensive, 'follow up' wine will taste a lot better. Once again, experiment to find some good budget wines.

Step five: Water first. There is nothing more tempting in hot weather than the thought of a cool beer to quench your thirst, but you'll save a lot of money (and will feel much better the next day) if you drink a pint of water before turning to the old amber nectar.

Step six: Shop around. There is more to a good local pub than just the beer, for sure, but it does pay to shop around because prices do vary. The price of beer in a freehouse, for example, is generally a lot cheaper than in a chain pub.

Step seven: Brew your own. Home-brewing technology has come on a lot in the last few years and in some cases a beginners' kit involves little more than mixing the ingredients in water in a sterile bag and waiting a few weeks. Granted, not all the results will be up to the standard of your favourite beer or vintage tipple, but it will be a lot of fun having a go.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.