“Want to know how to save money at a bar?” he asks.
We’re on our second date, and I’m suddenly intrigued: wouldn’t we all love to know the secrets to saving money on otherwise expensive drinks. Then, I watch as he suddenly plunges his hand into his water glass and grabs at the ice cubes, tossing them into his double whiskey.
I was not expecting it; I did not know what to say. I sat, wide-eyed, looking at the whiskey, which was now watery with a few sad ice cubs floating at the top. “They charge seventy-five cents to have it on the rocks,” he explains, as if it should all become clear, and I nod as if in agreement. In my head, I’m thinking: I had to watch you do that over seventy-five cents?
“It would be one thing if they gave you like a special kind of ice,” he continues, “but I’m sure it’s the same stuff from the ice machine.” Now, I’m not sure whether he does this simply out of principle or out of true stinginess—I’m also not sure which is worse.
I keep nodding, a bit taken aback. Not a whiskey drinker myself, I don’t feel that I can necessarily comment, although I wish, in that moment, that I knew enough about whiskey to know how it tastes watered down, and if it’s really worth the savings.
There are plenty of ways to save money while you’re out. Check out this list of 15 ways to save money on a night out from WiseBread, for example. That particular night, we happened to be at the bar for open mic—where, if you are brave enough to perform a song or two, you can drink beer for free. The waitress kept taking my empty glasses and replacing them, even when I insisted I’d had enough. “Oh, it’s free, I’ll just bring it,” she would say, “someone will drink it.” For the agony of standing under the lights for ten minutes, strumming a guitar and singing Ryan Adams covers while getting harassed by the rowdy group of men at the front of the room, I saved around $20—all I had to pay was the tip.
Being interested in personal finance means knowing that every dollar counts, and every dollar needs a job. While I appreciated my date’s attention to detail, I’m really thinking—the money you saved on that ice is not quite a whole dollar, and it could cost you a lot more than that if you were thinking that you wanted to see me again. Considering the unforeseen and sometimes non-fiscal consequences is equally important.
In this case, guys, I’d keep quiet and pay the extra $0.75, or wait until my date was in the bathroom before engaging in this strange behavior. No one wants to be touched by a hand that’s clammy from moving your ice from one glass to another. Just saying.
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