Do Not Go Broke Because of Happy Hour

Peer pressure is a thing, but you don’t have to surrender without a plan

After a hard day’s work, hitting the bar during happy hour sounds very appealing. However, in the company of friends, lovers, and potential lovers, it is easy to get carried away with the joy of the moment while letting the booze flow. Thus, if you are the charismatic-people loving-social butterfly without inhibitions, you might find yourself running an open tab occasionally.

Socializing with a good group of friends is very healthy, but it might come with a cost. For instance, while hanging out with your friends, an occasional “rounds on me” may be necessary, especially, if you are sometimes a beneficiary of other people’s generosity. However, it does become financially irresponsible should you find yourself going broke because of your penchant for happy hour entertainment.

My best friend and I, while in college, decided to set aside the funds we would have spent on drinking, for a month. We were pleasantly surprised how much was in the kitty at the end of one month. Now, this article is not admonishing social and responsible drinking. However, there is a takeaway from the little experiment my friend and I conducted in college – that is, deliberately setting aside funds for happy hour will keep you from going broke.

No, do the math on how much you potentially spend at happy hour, monthly. Depending on your financial situation, this could be little, a lot or just right. You might want to adjust your “fun” budget if you find yourself spending a significant amount on happy hour. For example, deliberately setting aside a $20 bill for happy hour and being disciplined in adhering to that budget when hanging out means you stop buying drinks once you run out of cash. You are not being a cheapskate by so doing. Think about it, if you hang out with friends at a bar, after work, that adds up to $100 at the end of a work week and $400 at the end of a month.

There is also the question of social etiquette and reciprocity of “rounds on me.” When someone else offers to pay for drinks, you benefit from that person’s generosity. This could translate to you drinking more that day as you get a free drink in addition to the drinks you had budgeted for. However, you should be cognizant of the person’s generosity and someday returning the favor. 

Therefore, how do you periodically pick up the tab without bursting your budget? Well, whatever you save due to someone else sponsoring today’s rounds, could go into your tomorrow’s “rounds on me” stash. This way, you have funds to pick up the tab when it is your turn to sponsor first round. Yes, it is the socially responsible thing to do; you cannot enjoy other people’s generosity without reciprocating from time to time. The good news is, you do not go broke due to unplanned generosity on your part.

While this may all come across as mechanical, it does not necessarily have to be executed mechanically. Benefits to this practice include you drinking responsibly while also being fiscally responsible. Social drinking without becoming that guy or girl who gets wasted and belligerent makes you more fun to hang out with. 

In addition, practicing proper social etiquette as a member of a social group strengthens your position in the group. As we all know, human beings are social creatures; being part of a healthy, thriving group improves your quality of life and wellbeing. 

So, now that you know this little secret, go enjoy happy hour responsibly and without going broke.

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