The date is getting closer! Today our contributing writer, Katie Jakub, counts down to her Pi Day wedding with a look into liquor cost solutions.
Liquor: the sweet elixir that makes all of your relatives and friends shake their groove things on the dance floor. Liquor has been giving Grandmas the courage to learn new-fangled dances since 2000 B.C. However, the cost of liquor can add up quickly.
Many venues and their caterers require that if you’re providing liquor that you purchase it through them—the prices per package can range from nominal charges per person to $30, $40 and higher. When you select a venue where you can bring your own alcoholic beverages, savings are in your future if you do it right.
Before we get to ways to save, make sure you know the alcohol laws of your state. Certain states, such as Pennsylvania, do not allow you to bring liquor across the border if you’ve purchased them in other states.
LIQUOR BOARD CONTROLLED STATES
If it’s illegal to transport across the border and you can’t price shop between different stores, your options are unfortunately pretty limited. If you prefer premium brands, the big ways to save are to plan in advance, shop near the holidays when the prices drop, and to search for manufacturer and store coupons. We found that the prices were lowest near Christmas when the big brands were marked down. Pennsylvania’s state stores list their monthly sales online and regularly have coupons online and in the newspaper. We also try to find the hanging coupons on our favorite brands when we buy our booze.
Good news: you can return liquor that is unopened if you have a receipt. They do stare at you like you’re crazy when you do a return, though.
NOT SO GREEDY STATES
Competition in the alcohol market is your friend. Party stores and warehouse clubs had the best prices from the locations we scouted in Ohio and Kentucky (we were visiting friends in Covington, we did not just go to look at liquor prices). We did our final comparison between a Kentucky party warehouse store and the PA State stores. Generally, the regular price of items in Kentucky was the sale price in PA and most of the items were on sale on average $4-$5 cheaper in Kentucky when we did our comparison.
The store where we window shopped gave 10% discounts on single item cases and 5% discounts on mixed cases. They also had coupons on several of the items which meant multiple savings on one item. If you’re traveling from one state to another for savings, just make sure you account for the price of gas. Had we been able to buy in Kentucky, the savings would’ve paid for our trip and then some.
After the wedding, we’ll do a recap of how much we bought and how much we needed (and if someone had to do a liquor run!). All of the numbers online have been very inconsistent and alcohol is something that we didn’t want to under-buy!