Frugal Fail: Beer Shirt Edition

20 Aug

I have a very un-frugal confession to make: I’m obsessed with craft beer shirts.

My obsession beings innocently enough. Living in the Napa Valley of beer has its advantages, including easy access to some of the nation’s – if not world’s — most celebrated craft breweries. Try a pint of Odell’s latest session beer? Don’t mind if I do. Get a taster of New Belgium’s fall seasonal? Why not? Check out the latest merchandise on Brewery Row? Now that’s trouble.

I recently wrote a guest post for the charming Girl Meets Debt and discussed the “when in Rome” syndrome, a made-up affliction with very real budgetary impacts. It’s what you get while you’re on vacation or during girls’ night out, when suddenly that extra excursion or round of drinks becomes a legitimate expense. This same phenomenon hits me the moment I cross the threshold of a taproom, my clothing radar pinging loudly in the direction of the merchandise wall. I often justify my tee shirt purchase by envisioning a trendy ensemble that includes a blazer and skinny jeans.

The average cost of a woman’s tee shirt is $25, while men’s shirts are inexplicably $5 less despite being composed of more material. If I were shopping elsewhere, I wouldn’t give a $25 tee shirt a second glance. Give me a pint of good beer, a buzzing atmosphere and an overwhelming sense of local pride, and suddenly that $25 tee shirt is not just a want, it’s a necessity.

Photo by Jenni C via Flickr

Photo by Jenni C via Flickr


In total, I’ve spent over $100 on a handful of beer shirts that I rarely wear. What double sucks about this situation is that sometimes, the shirts I buy are not that flattering. They’re often made of organic bamboo cotton or some such hippie combination of material, making them undeniably soft but also terribly malleable.

Despite being acutely aware of how overpriced they are, I’m always tempted by the latest brew-inspired tee or tank. In fact, researching prices for this post has me longing for a cute v-neck offered by Odell Brewing Co. It would look super cute under my navy blazer.

What’s your frugal fail this week?

12 Responses to “Frugal Fail: Beer Shirt Edition”

  1. Troy August 21, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    I bought a new TV. The salesman upsolded me an additional $500 of stuff and now I’m totally regretting it.

    • Kendal August 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

      Oh no! Can you return any of the extra items you purchased?? I hate it when that happens. It’s so easy to get sucked into their game and then recognize it as a mistake once you remove yourself from their grip. I would look into your options for returning some items.

  2. Thomas | Your Daily Finance August 22, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    Luckily nothing for me so far this week! Still got time to mess something up I guess. It is funny depending on how you look at it, that our shirts are a lot cheaper. Maybe they just figure men are going to buy $25 tees.

    • Kendal August 22, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

      That’s true! My husband certainly won’t pay that much for a shirt, though even he has indulged in craft brew shirts from time to time. The difference is, he wears them constantly. I think the cost-per-wear on his Odell and NBB Ranger shirts is a portion of a penny at this point.

  3. Mo' Money Mo' Houses August 22, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    Frugal fail of the summer is just eating out and buying wine weekly. I’m just always in the mood to relax and unwind with some good food and wine, I can’t help myself!

    • Kendal August 22, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

      I totally understand! Summer is a great time to sip vino on the patio of a favorite restaurant. There’s plenty of time in winter to stay home and hibernate, right? 🙂

  4. Josh @ CNA August 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    Hmmm…my frugal fail this week? Well, I can’t really think of anything. I can tell you last week I went and bought a new raft at Wal-Mart…it was about $50. A couple days later, I saw the same thing at Big 5 for $30….grrrr! Thanks for the great read!

    • Kendal August 26, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

      Oh man! I hate it when that happens! It might be worth requesting a price-match/adjustment from Walmart if you can find the Big Lots offer in hardcopy. Since you only bought it last week, you might get the difference back!

  5. Pretired Nick August 26, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

    Mine this week was “being too tired to cook” which of course is a recipe for a lot of expensive eating out. Whoops!

    • Kendal August 26, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

      Hey, it happens! When we don’t have something planned for dinner (and the ‘fridge is looking barren), I usually scroll through the list of restaurants on my mobile coupon app to see who has a good deal on dinner. Or we have cheese and crackers for dinner; food is food, am I right?

  6. Kyle | August 30, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

    Ironically, one of my frugal fails this summer was at the Deschutes Brewery in Bend, OR – we did the tour, had a few free samples, and stumbled into the gift shot where I proceeded to spend over $100 on pint glasses, t-shirts for the whole fam, and even a beer cribbage board. WTH was I thinking…they clearly give you the free beer samples first for a reason!

    • Kendal August 31, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

      I hear ya! My sister-in-law was just at that brewery. She enjoyed herself a bit too much as well! Drunken shopping is very dangerous indeed. Thanks for commenting!