How Much Cheaper Is It to Drink at Home?

drinking at home, frugal living, drinks at home

I had a serious case of sticker shock at a bar in downtown Chicago when a bartender told me that I owed $8.50 for a rum and coke.   I’m from a smaller town where I’m used to paying half that on the rare occasion we go out.

I’m the kind of guy that likes to sit on my deck with some friends and throw back a few cold ones or mixed drink or two. I know it’s cheaper to drink at home, but staring at my $8.50 rum and coke I wondered just how much cheaper.

Cost of Rum and Coke Supplies:

  • Captain Morgan Spiced Rum: 1.75L bottle for $24.99
  • 1.75L = 56 fluid oz = $0.45 per ounce
  • Coca Cola: 2L bottle for $0.99
  • 2L = 64 fluid oz = $0.015 per ounce

Making the Drink:

  • 2 ounces of Rum ($0.45 per ounce) + 4 ounces of Coke ($0.015 per ounce) = $0.96

I can make my own drink at home for under $1 a drink!

How about beer?

A can of beer at my favorite watering hole runs $4.95. How much would drinking the same beer cost me at home?

  • A case of my usual brand of beer costs about $18.
  • $18 / 24 cans per case = $0.75 per can.

That’s a markup of 660% for a can of beer!

I understand why the prices in bars are higher. You’re not only paying for the drink, the cost of the bartender, the building, the entertainment as well as some pocket money for the owner is all built into the price of the drink. There are certainly reasons why I would go out to a bar and pay higher prices too. Maybe there’s a band I want to see, or my wife and I decide to go to the local comedy club.

But when you pay for your next drink at the bar, think of this post and remember just how much the bar is inflating the price. You might just end up sitting on your deck with your closest friends instead.

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • It’s definitely a lot cheaper to drink at home. I remember one time paying $12 for a can of Pabst beer. I think those are usually like 50 cents at the store!

  • @Michelle – I’m always amazed by how much a Pabst costs these days…they were a discount beer forever – until a couple of celebrities were seen drinking it, now it’s in style and the “in” beer to drink!

  • @Andy – I’m a big fan of drinking water at restaurants as well….except for wine. Even though I know the markup is atrocious, I like to have a glass of wine paired with my meal occasionally. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • It is soooooo much cheaper to drink at home! My spouse has allergies and so can’t just drink whatever is on sale, and the cost of a night out is always well more than the cost of a whole bottle of alcohol and a bottle of mix!

  • @Anne – Great point, Anne…when you have allergies it’s hard to know (or sometimes inconvenient) exactly what you’re getting. Drinking at home allows you to make 100% sure you know what you’re putting in your body. Thanks for your comment!

  • @erastus – Definitely true, I usually drink water at a restaurant. I can guzzle soda like it’s going out of style – and although soda is cheap, there’s a lot of unwanted calories in there!

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