- Spiked & flavored coffees: At bars, restaurants and resorts you can save a lot by ordering plain American coffee and a shot of Baileys Irish cream liqueur or other liqueurs. One shot of liqueur is good for spiking several rounds of coffee, especially if the establishment offers bottomless cups of coffee. Final ingredient: Tip the waiter or bartender generously.
- Virgin drinks: When lounging poolside at a resort, beach or hotel, save money by ordering the non-alcohol version of pina coladas or other mixed drinks. Spike your virgin drinks with your own small bottle of rum or vodka. At one one resort, virgin drinks were $4-5 each, compared to $8-12 for the spiked versions. Note: Only use this recipe at resorts where it's customary for guests to carry DIY snacks, sodas and food. Many resorts have no problem with customers bringing brown-bag treats from hotel rooms, beach bags, the food court or other take-out establishments. Final ingredient: When you order the virgin drinks, be sure to tip the waiter or bartender generously.
- Watered down drinks: One area resort serves strong drinks. When I asked for a watered down version, one fellow customer chided me. She told me take the strong drink as-is and to request an extra glass of soda to dilute the original drink. In this fashion, it's possible to create your own two-for-one drink special. Final ingredient: Tip the waiter or bartender generously.
- DIY iced tea or iced coffee: Some hotels and resorts offer guests free (hot) coffee and tea bars, with high-end herbal teas and gourmet coffee. At one resort where we were staying, I made a cup of hot passion fruit tea and requested a cup of ice from the bar area. With the ice cubes and the hot herbal tea, I was able to create a tall glass of iced tea at no charge. The same strategy works for turning hot coffee into a chilled-out drink. And of course, it's good karma to tip the bartender for the ice.
- Drink water: It's healthier. It's cheaper.
Sharon is the author of the Frugal Duchess: How to Live Well and Save Money -- a coming of age memoir about money -- and a contributing writer in Wise Bread's 10,0001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget.