SmartMoney proclaims it has discovered the cheapest way to buy booze.

Stocking up on enough alcohol for a party can cost a small fortune. Your best bet — visit your local warehouse clubs, which regularly offer discounts of 10% to 30%. But what about those hefty membership fees, you ask?

Thanks to some little-known state laws, nonmembers can purchase alcohol without paying a membership fee. These laws date back to the 1930s, when Prohibition was repealed. Massachusetts’ law, for example, provides that applicants for a license to sell alcohol must “serve the public need and protect the common good.” In simpler terms, alcohol sold must be available for purchase by the greater public — no membership restrictions.

SmartMoney lists example savings on vodka and beer. The article also notes that this is a very obscure policy, so you should follow three steps to make this work:

  • Find a manager. Employees probably won’t be aware of this policy.
  • Take the article with you to bolster your point.
  • Only purchase alcohol. Don’t push your luck.

I sometimes buy wine at Costco, though I’ve found that Safeway can be just as cheap if I take advantage of the “save 10% when you buy six bottles” policy.

(Also note: as with soda, you save the most money by not drinking alcohol at all.)