Listen here, dear padawans. Life is expensive. Especially in Boulder and especially in 2018. It's so goddamn expensive.

Here, the author paused to consider the plainly visible toothpaste stain on her $2 tank top acquired from Goodwill.

As a related thought, life is also sometimes too much and requires some brain-deadening (and hopefully legal) substance to get you through to the next day.

Now, I am neither the world's most discerning nor prolific drinker. A solid night of drinking of concentrated Colorado craft brews will usually render me either snoring somewhere that is not a bed or awakening in a pool of my own vomit. Sometimes, when I'm especially lucky, both will happen.

Bartender Karolina Blonski-Hefflin pours draft beer for a customer at Upslope Brewing in Boulder.
Bartender Karolina Blonski-Hefflin pours draft beer for a customer at Upslope Brewing in Boulder. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

But the other unfortunate thing about drinking is that sometimes, that $7 cocktail you bought in order to not seem poorer than everyone else will be the last straw for your bank and you'll wake up to $90 in overdraft charges when you didn't even know you had overdraft turned on, and then that in turn means you can't pay your electricity and your fridge stops working and the—

Aaaanyways, sorry, what were we talking about? Right, how to drink on the cheap. OK, here you go.

Use your $600 hand computer

You're a young 20-something looking to spend your hard-earned dinero on something with a metric fuck-ton of alcohol content, and you're in luck! Turns out, restaurants and breweries want your money, even if you're willing to part with less of it.


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Use these sites and apps to steer your drunk friends to the cheapest place on any given night at almost any ungodly hour. They won't care. They're schnockered anyway.

Hooked ( hookedapp.com): It's like GroupOn for starving students. The creators get restaurants and bars to post deals and specials each week. You do your little thumb dance to the app and find the food or booze that makes you drool. Show that coupon to the cashier and you'll be singing a happy little tune as you gorge yourself on discounted pizza. Coupons are cool. Don't listen to anyone who says otherwise. They're frivolous spenders and will need to borrow money soon.

Boulder Happy Hours ( boulderhappyhours.com) is a bit more booze-centric. It's going to help you find what bars are whipping out cheap drinks that night. Better yet, GPS settings will make it so the top bars will be those closest to you.

DrankBank ( drankbank.com) does the same thing but with campuses across the U.S. It may not be as comprehensive, but its maps and information still hold plenty of promise for the alcohol-obsessed.

Plus follow your favorite spots on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, blah blah blah to catch their latest deals these sites might not know about. You might even venture onto Facebook even though it's soooo 2016.

Things to skimp on and things to pay for

Sometimes it's the alcohol that's expensive, and sometimes it's everything around a hazy night of too many tequila sunrises that ends up costing an arm and a leg (and a relationship).

If you find yourself hung over the next morning, here's a tip: Don't go to the emergency room. I once did a story about hangovers in which I talked to an ER doctor who told me they see a concerning amount of people at the hospital after a 21st birthday party who need nothing more than a dedicated friend to bring them plenty of Gatorade and Pepto Bismol. So if you don't want to be stuck with a medical bill that will cripple you with debt well into your 30s, pop an Advil, drink some water and don't go to the hospital with a hangover.

The temptation of expensive cocktails is trouble for your bank account. Fortunately, there are digital tools built specifically to help you find deals on
The temptation of expensive cocktails is trouble for your bank account. Fortunately, there are digital tools built specifically to help you find deals on drinks. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

As with most things, the primary rule for drinking on the cheap is Don't Be A Dick. Don't go out thinking you'll save money by not tipping your servers and bartenders. These people were not consulted when management decided to institute $1 Shot Night for Chem Majors, and they don't want to put up with your drunk ass for $8 per hour. Tip them because they deserve it. Expend the extra brain power and cash and tip them on what the non-clearance, non-happy hour price of your drink would have been.

And lastly, if you drove yourself out and you are tipsily arguing with your friend about whether or not you can drive back, just don't. I don't care if you're parked somewhere and you'll get a ticket in the morning. I don't care if Uber has banned you for life due to an unfortunate body odor incident. You walk home or you get someone to call you a cab/Lyft/Uber/friend to come get you. It's worth the extra money, and you shouldn't try to save money by driving home drunk.

Other than that, enjoy yourselves, you wonderful, penny-pinchin' boozed-up wildebeests, you!

Karen Antonacci: twitter.com/ktonacci