In our searches for frugal meal plans and shopping lists one thing is very apparent, alcohol never makes the list. Since alcohol is something that we consume we always include within our food budget. How do we keep costs down when shopping for alcohol, specifically wine? We drink boxed wine.
Bulk Means Bargain
There are many great boxed wines available these days and they are much more affordable than buying single bottles of wine. The idea many people have of boxed wine is the box you saw at college parties. As we know from personal experience boxed wine has come a long way. Some wineries have started boxing the same wine they sell in bottles, so you may be able to get your favorite wine in a box. A box of wine is the equivalent of 4 bottles of wine. The boxed wine we buy ranges anywhere from $18-$24 which works out to be $4.50-$6.00 per bottle. We don’t mind paying that amount for everyday wine. Right now, we’re both enjoying Black Box (Cabernet and Pinot Grigio). Of course if you like the cheap stuff you drank in college, it is even more affordable.
Not only is boxed wine more affordable, but it also requires less packaging, so less wasted resources. Boxed wine, after it is opened, stays fresh longer than an open bottle of wine. So if you need a box of wine because you don’t drink wine that often or if you need a box of wine because you need your wine on tap either way the “box o’ wine” is the way to go.
Drinking boxed wine is also helpful when cooking with wine. Chefs always say that you should cook with a wine that you would drink, but if your like me you don’t want to use a quarter of a bottle in a dish, because your left with that much less to drink. If your having guests you need to buy an extra bottle of wine. The cost can start to add up. If you have a box of wine the amount you use for cooking is just a drop in the bucket and the cost per that amount is much less.
Good to the Last Drop
To make sure you are getting your money’s worth you need to drink or use every last drop of that delicious wine. When no more wine will come from the tap you need to open the box and pull out the bladder (the plastic bag holding the wine). Cut the corner off the bladder with a pair of scissors and pour the last bit of wine into a glass. In some cases it will be a full serving of wine left in the bladder. Think about how much a glass of wine costs at a restaurant! You wouldn’t order a glass of wine at a restaurant and then not drink it. Why would you leave the last glass of wine in your box of wine?
Speaking of cutting the bladder. When we were newly weds had some friends over one evening and someone brought a box of wine. We were having a hard time getting the wine open, so we gave it to my sister to open. She was still in college and had been to her fair share of box o wine parties. She ended up cutting the bladder with a pair of scissors, but since it was a brand new box it was completely full. We ended up dumping the whole thing into a large mixing bowl and using a soup ladle to serve it. Ahh memories, we were so classy back then.
We have since mastered the process of opening a box of wine. Cooking supplies are no longer necessary to serve our wine. We have even learned how to class up the boxed wine for guests. Simply pour wine from the box into a clear carafe or decanter and your guests will have no idea the wine came from a box unless you tell them.
If you need boxed wine suggestions let us know in the comments. We have tried a lot of them, all at different prices and can give some useful advice.