Well Christ on a cracker, people. Thanks to the monstrous, mind-boggling incompetence of, oh, every elected official since 1967, I'm now officially on a budget! And also it seems that my Great Drive Across America in early August wreaked (wroke?) a little havoc on a credit card I wasn't supposed to be using very much and now I am practically like a member of the goddamned Joad family, eating locusts for dinner and washing my clothes with a stick.
It's hard but I have discovered some ways to keep things cheap. The main one is: drink at home. You'd be surprised at how much money you can save by not going to bars. For one thing, the drinks are about 80 percent cheaper and for another, you aren't tempted by drinks that cost thirteen dollars in the first place because let's face it: you don't have any elderflower liqueur at home so you won't be needing to make any drinks that have that in it. You also won't be tempted to buy other people drinks, which I almost never am anyway because every single time I have done that, they're all happy with beer until the drink offer comes and then it's all "ooohhhh, could I see the wine list?" and it's all downhill from there; before you know it, you're pulling out the previously mentioned verboten credit card so you don't have to pay with loose change from your car. It really is surprising how many drinks I've paid for with loose change. Drinking at home also cuts down on the number of DUIs that might come your way, so it's win-win.
ANYWAY! Another way to save money on strong waters is to be friends with restaurant owners. You just show up and say "hey! Is there any sample wine? How about any marked-out-of-stock bourbon? Or wait, I know - GRAPPA!" And there always is and they hand it over like I have a gun to their heads. It's like magic. If magic involved putting a keychain in a hat and pulling out a dry Manhattan instead of a rabbit. Which it should be, as far as I'm concerned. I mean, let's face it - who the fuck needs a rabbit?