In our next installment of “How to _____ without spending a billion dollars”, (previous activities: going out at night, restaurants, friend dates, mani/pedis, movies) we’re going to tackle the age old question of:  


How to do a beer/wine tasting without spending a billion dollars.


Okay, maybe this isn’t really an age old question. BUT STILL… it’s important.


So I could probably make this article very short and just leave it here: always say yes.


Haha no, just kidding. I’m slightly biased because I’m a big fan of tastings: they’re normally pretty cheap and provide a pretty fun experience. But they can get pricey if you do them wrong. So here are my tips on doing it without spending a billion dollars:



Beware of the post-tasting buzz.

By the time you’ve completed your flight of tastings, you’re probably entering ‘slightly buzzed’ territory. That post-tasting buzz makes you extremelyyyy likely to purchase a bottle/pint/case/annual subscription afterwards… and that’s where they get ya ;) Make your budget before you go and before you’re buzzed; it’s almost impossible to convince yourself to save money while drunk. Decide ahead of time that you'll only purchase a 6 pack, or 1 bottle of wine, or whatever... and then stick to it!



Research before you go.

This may or may not make me sound high maintenance... but I prefer specific types of tastings. I don't like places that offer a la carte tastings... you know, the places that say, "you can try any 4oz pour for $2". I like the ones that say, "you can try five 4oz tastings for $10". Even if the math is the same, I like having a predefined tasting rather than making my own. Weird preference, perhaps, but that means I try to seek out places that offer the types of tastings I like, rather than ones that don't. No point in spending money on something that's not my favorite!

On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who knows you don’t like a certain type of beer/wine, it might be smart for you to seek out places with a la carte tastings rather than flights, so you only pay for tastings you know you’ll like!



Have tasting parties.

To really save some money, plan a tasting party with your friends-- have everyone bring a bottle or a 6 pack they’ve never tried and hold your own tastings! Kath from KathEats wrote a post about how she throws pumpkin beer tasting parties-- complete with rating cards so everyone can decide which beer was their favorite. I think that sounds SO fun!



Recreate your favorite parts of the tastings at home.

For me, my favorite things about tastings are: trying new drinks that I wouldn’t normally pick up, spending one on one time with Mike outside our house, people watching, and drinking out of mini tasting glasses (yes seriously that's actually one of my favorite parts). So we’ve started doing tastings at home while recreating these favorite aspects.

Our method is: Pick up a few beers we’ve never tried (a lot of stores are doing the “make you own 6 pack” thing nowadays, and that’s awesome for this purpose), pour into tasting glasses (we have a few 6oz glasses from various brewery tastings, but you can get a legit set to make it even better!) and we sit on our porch so we can people watch and get out of the house. (well, we did when it was summer. Now we suck it up and sit inside) It's not quite the same as being out and about in a real brewery, but it allows us to save money so we can have tastings way more often!


And for the DDs or non-drinkers…

I’ve seen tons of wineries and breweries that offer free water, juice, or soda to DDs or non-drinkers. Look on the menu or just ask if they offer anything for you!



Are you a wine/beer tasting fan?

I definitely prefer beer tastings, but I also enjoy wine tastings. I’m not a huge wine fan so I think tastings are good to help me identify which types I do and do not like!


PSSSSST-- For the past few months I've been doing some fun things behind the scenes... I reworked my entire Budget Coaching process and it's about to be up and running, better than ever! Check out more info here!