5 Totally Legit (and Legal) Ways to Make Money Every Time You Buy Booze
For most of us, a predilection for happy hour or a tipple with dinner is a money sink.
Sure, your responsible love affair with merlot or craft beer might not destroy your budget… but it’s still an avoidable expense.
After all, you don’t actually need a glass of wine. (At least, that’s what they tell me.)
But the devoted among us find ways to keep booze in our budget. And the seriously devoted have even found ways to get paid to buy it.
Yup, you read that right — and yes, I’m totally sober.
You can earn money by purchasing alcohol.
6 Ways to Get Paid to Buy Beer, Wine and Spirits (Yes, Really)
Ready to feel the buzz of totally hacking the system?
Here’s how you can earn money next time you make a booze run.
1. Get rebates for your alcohol purchases with Ibotta.
First of all, if you’re not already using Ibotta on your everyday purchases, you’re doing it wrong.
This app is a super-simple way to earn cash-back rebates on items you already buy on the regular — everything from cereal and toilet paper to fresh produce.
And it goes way beyond groceries.
Ibotta will even reward you for certain purchases from retail fashion outlets and other vendors. (For example, in my market, there’s a rebate available for booking through Hotels.com right now.)
You guessed it: Booze is no exception.
All you do is find a rebate at a grocery or liquor store, make your purchase, and then take a photo of your receipt within the app.
Once you accumulate $20, you can transfer your earnings to your PayPal account. And considering rebates on alcoholic beverages are usually between $1 and $3 (plus the countless rebates available), it shouldn’t take you terribly long to get there!
2. Use a cash-back rewards credit card.
An oldie but a goodie, this trick ensures you’re earning at least a little bit of the purchase price back, every single time you shop — no matter what you buy.
If you spend $50 on beer and wine over the course of a month, a 5% cash-back card will have earned you $2.50. It’s not a huge gain, but it’s still better than nothing, and you might be surprised at how quickly it adds up.
Depending on where you live, in two months, that would likely be enough to buy you a beer out at a bar. In a year, you’d have earned back $30 — that’s three months of Netflix or a nice steak dinner.
You just have to be sure you don’t get too carried away with those purchases — and that the card is paid off at the end of each billing period.
Here’s an option we like: It’s the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. Its claim to fame? You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. Plus, if you spend $500 in your first three months of opening the card (hi, groceries), you’ll pocket a $150 bonus.
There’s no annual fee, and the cash-back rewards don’t expire. We checked Credible’s annual rewards calculator, and it estimates $417 in annual rewards based on our spending habits.* (You can enter your unique spending habits and see what you’d earn, too.)
Get signed up — and 0% intro APR for 15 months — here.
*Annual Rewards amounts will change based on the amounts you enter. The monthly spending category names and definitions may vary among issuers, and categories may not align one-to-one.
3. Buy your booze through a cash-back portal.
This won’t work for every state, or every vendor.
But cash-back portals like Ebates do sometimes have offers valid for outlets where you can order alcohol online.
For instance, Ebates often pairs up with Amazon, which allows customers to order booze in certain states. You might also see a cash-back offer for Groupon, which regularly features deals on wine subscription boxes.
Sure, it’s not immediate gratification, but it’s worth an extra few clicks and a couple of days to know you’ll earn money back on your purchase.
Besides, you know what they say: Good things come to those who wait.
4. Become an Instacart or Shipt shopper.
These grocery delivery companies offer fun, easy, flexible work if you have reliable transportation.
Obviously, you’ll buy items other than alcohol — but you may still get paid to purchase a bottle of wine or three!
5. Get paid to scope out the liquor store.
Our CEO, Kyle Taylor, loves to recount tales of his time as a liquor store auditor — and the subsequent popularity boost he achieved amongst his college buddies when he kept bringing back tons of free beer.
Like other types of mystery shoppers, compliance auditors are undercover agents who pose as customers. In this case, they try to purchase age-restricted items like beer or cigarettes to see whether or not the cashier asks for identification.
They also get paid for their troubles, and reimbursed for the stuff they buy. That means free booze… and a paycheck for buying it.
Um, yes, please.
It’s easy, fun and totally self-directed, so this makes a great flexible side-gig.
Taylor says gigs pay between $5 and $30 per audit, but some have gone as high as $50 when auditors are in high demand. (And that’s before the reimbursement!)
Cheers, Penny Hoarders!
Jamie Cattanach (@jamiecattanach) is a freelance writer whose work has been featured at Ms. Magazine, BUST, Roads & Kingdoms, The Write Life, Nashville Review, Word Riot and elsewhere. She’ll have a bourbon neat or a glass of Mendoza malbec, thank you!