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Frugal Hack: Winning at Wine!


I love wine. Also, I’m a bit of a wine snob. Wine snob and frugality usually don’t go together. Or so you thought! Just you wait, we’re going to hack this thing.

Spending Too Much on Wine

The first step was admitting I had a problem. I drank too much really nice freaking wine. Thanks to our budget dates (why did I start this tradition again?), I realized I had spent over $200 on wine in one month. This was the same month I discovered the wine delivery service in town. Not good for the budget. Also, not good for the liver. This service would deliver wine from the local corner wine store to my house. For $15-20 per bottle, I would get a mediocre wine that was already marked up at the store, and then made more expensive by the delivery charge and driver tip. Super convenient though because I could order a bottle while cooking dinner and it would be delivered by the time we started eating. But, it was breaking the bank. So, something had to change.

Trying a Wine Club

I made an intervention. I signed up for a wine club- the 90+ wine club. They would ship a crate of nice wine to my door with an intelligent sounding write-up about each one (sure I can smell the hints of blackberry and tobacco...). The cost was around $170 per 3 months for 12 bottles. It was fun getting a crate of goodness but it was annoying because the delivery needed specific times. Often I would miss it and then have to go pick it up. The delivery would also be dependent on the weather- wines can’t get too hot or cold. And while the wine was great, I realized they were all retailed under $10 and I was paying a markup to around $14 per bottle. Also, I found out the nice write ups I was getting about the wines were readily available online at Wine Enthusiast, etc.

I Found my Wine Store

I found a solution. Albany has an awesome wine store called Empire Wine. On their site, they have a 90+ list. These were the same wines I was getting in the mail with a 30% markup! Empire also has a pick up service like Walmart. So all I do is go through the 90+ wine list or the under $10 wine list and get reasonably priced, delicious wine. Then I go and pick it up the next day. On average, this costs me $130/case. I print out the write-ups so I can read them just like the 90+ wine club list. And, bam, I have the 90+ wine club for $40 cheaper. I go and pull into a pickup spot, someone delivers my case to my car, and I don’t have to take the kids out. Frugality, efficiency, and delicious wines... That’s what I call a frugal win!

All the Savings!

Let's bring it together. So I went from spending $200 a month to $130 every 2 months. That comes out to $65 a month. That's a savings of $135 a month! Now lets do some compounding magic. So if I keep this up for 35 years and invest my savings, I can save over $300,000! When you make frugality a habit, little numbers add up to a lot!




What you can do. I’m sure you can find a store around you that does something similar. If not, Empire does ship (look for the 12 icon for free shipping, also be aware of your state's laws about shipping alcohol). Or, you could use their website just for the information to compile a nice shopping list for your local store.

Cheers my friends!

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