Happy Cinco de Mayo to our Mexican friends. I expect there will be much partying that includes the consumption of lots of great Mexican food as well as alcohol.
Beyond the usual caveats to have a designated driver if you are going out drinking, and to keep alcohol consumption reasonable, anyone celebrating should keep costs reasonable, too. The best way to prevent the cost of drinks from getting out of hand is to NEVER RUN A BAR TAB. Always pay when each drink is received.
Bars and clubs know that a person drinking alcohol is losing judgment and inhibition as they consume alcohol. They are more than happy to extend a tab and have to person rack up drink and appetizer charges through the night.
In my college days back in the early 80′s, I went out to a club with a group of people to celebrate somebody’s birthday. It was lots of fun, and I figured what could a couple or even a few drinks add up to. We ran a bar tab for the 6 of us. When it was time to settle up, we owed over $260. I started the night expecting to have to pay $20, maximum for myself and my date. We had eaten before going out, so I did not foresee a lot of food purchases. We did order a bunch of hors-d’oeuvres. We lost track of everything with the bar tab.
Remember, I was a starving college student at the time. Room and board were being paid for, but my tuition, books, and all other expenses came out of my GI funding of $320 per month. My friends and I managed to scrape the money together, but it cost me $100 including tip. That was the night that I learned the danger of a bar tab. (None of us had a credit card, which was probably a very good thing.)
Besides not running a tab, keep track of what you drink, and don’t get in a cycle of buying rounds. Keep food purchases at a bar to a minimum, as well. You are there to have fun with friends, so sip your drink, make it last, have fun, and leave at a reasonable hour.
These days, a bar tab for 6 people can easily run much higher than $260. Be careful, use a little forethought, and a night out does not have to break your budget.