Connor Beckett McInerney
It’s almost Cinco de Mayo — also known as Drinko de Mayo — when everyone will be rushing from work to grab a refreshing margarita and maybe a few tequila shots.
So I’m going to give you the lowdown on how not to celebrate Cinco de Mayo (read: avoid drunken mishaps), plus a few tips on where to find the cheapest margaritas and other great deals. As we slowly get our buzz on, there are five scenarios you want to avoid getting yourself — or your wallet — into.
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1. “I’m Buying Evvvvvvveryone a Drink!”
Admit it. We’ve all had those nights when we’ve gotten too giving while drunk. I’ve definitely lent my wallet to fellow drunks at a bar more than a few times. Here’s the problem: You wake up the next morning poor as hell.
How did our wallets become so empty? How did we become so financially irresponsible? Peer pressure.
The remedy? When you’re planning to drink one more than you should, call on a dependable friend to take charge of your wallet. Don’t worry — you won’t hate them in the morning.
If you make the mistake of picking up the tab for the whole crew, there are a few apps available to make sure your friends pay up. For instance, Cash App, PayPal, and Venmo are godsends after a lucrative night out. Just send a quick request specifying the amount and items purchased, then transfer those funds to your account as quickly as you like.
Of course, you’ll have to remember what your friends consumed to invoice them the correct amount. But at least a sore head doesn’t have to equal empty bank account anymore.
2. “Just Keep the Tab Open”
Doing this makes it easy to rack up debt on your card while you drink into oblivion. Do yourself a favor and use cash to pay for drinks up front. Limiting yourself to two or three drinks will keep things light on the wallet and salty on the rim.
And there’s a Part 2 to this, too: Bars are one of the most common places for card fraud and identity theft to happen.
A quarter of grand larceny cases occur at bars and clubs, according to a study conducted by the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing. This accounts for thousands of stolen credit cards every year.
It’s one thing to wake up the next morning and realize that you purchased drinks for the entire bar. It’s another to see hundreds of dollars in charges that weren’t yours drain your bank account of your hard-earned money.
If your card is subject to fraudulent activity, contact your bank immediately to report it. Doing so limits your liability and the maximum loss you’ll experience to your debit or credit account. Of course, if your card is stolen, you’ll have to take a different route to address canceling and replacing your plastic.
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3. “Guys, Where’s My Wallet?”
It’s that “oh, shit” moment we all dread when we’re out and need a taxi or a Lyft – your wallet is missing. You trace back your steps and remember how sketchy that hot guy you were dancing with was. Suddenly, it dawns on you: You’ve been robbed.
It’s okay. It happens to everyone at least once in our partying lives.
A great tip? Downplay the amount of cash you’re carrying and opt for a cute clutch — or better yet, a small over-the-shoulder bag that’s harder to set down and forget someplace. If you’re a guy, keep your wallet in a pocket where it would be awkward for someone to reach.
If, despite your best efforts, someone still makes off with your valuables, you should immediately report all of your stolen debit or credit cards. Most banks have a 24-hour customer service line, and the earlier your report, the easier it is to recuperate any cash spent by the fraudster. Also notify the authorities, as well as the bar owners to see if they can review any closed circuit television that may help in apprehending the perp.
Finally, make a pact with all your friends to keep a watchful eye on one another. There’s safety in numbers!
4. “Ugh . . . I Spent All My Money on Food Last Night”
Getting drunk isn’t the only thing that contributes to an empty wallet. When you drink, you get hungry. And when you’re hungry and out bar-hopping, well … it’s taco time. Nearly every Cinco de Mayo drinker gets hungry for delicious food around midnight and will order whatever’s available from the kitchen.
But are those $35 nachos really worth the price? Nope!
If you must eat, look for affordable options like a hole-in-the-wall taco shop or a cheap diner on your way home. Also check sites like GrubHub, Seamless, and Postmates for holiday deals on chips and guac before buying more overpriced Mexican food. Otherwise, carb up before the happy hour specials end.
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5. “Our Waiter/Waitress was Super Nice, Right?”
I’m an advocate for tipping wait staff and bartenders responsibly, but you know what isn’t appropriate? Leaving tips that are equal to the total of your bill. It’s super nice if you can afford it, but if student loan debt haunts you monthly, that’s way more important.
Only tip what’s right for the service you received. That could save you bundles, and that means more margaritas — after making your student loan payment, of course.
Now for the Fun Part — Cinco de Mayo Deals!
Here are a few places you can buy a cheap but delicious margarita or taco.
$5 beers and margaritas. If you’re a souvenir lover, you can take home the cup once you’re done with your booze!
2. Margaritas Mexican Restaurant
Arrive before 4 p.m. and enjoy an all-you-can-eat nachos and $5 house margaritas — plus lots of raffles and free giveaways, too.
3. On the Border
$5 Cinco ‘Ritas and $4 shots at participating locations. If you’re more of a beer drinker, specials will be offered on select brands, as well.
This chain is offering tacos for 79 cents each.
5. Bahama Breeze
$5 classic margaritas. Some locations are even throwing block parties with $3 bottled beers, 2-for-$5 tacos and empanadas, and live entertainment.
6. California Pizza Kitchen
More $5 margaritas, obviously. To wash down that pizza, if tacos aren’t really your thing.
7. Joe’s Crab Shack
Cinco de Mayo deals on tacos and margaritas. Plus you can get a $20 bucket of Modelo Especial. That’s a lot of cerveza for very little dinero.
As always, drink responsibly, take a cab if needed, and keep a close watch on your wallet. Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Additional reporting by Connor Beckett McInerney.