When people grab beers with their coworkers after a stressful day at the office or down a few cocktails at the nightclub with their friends, they tend to worry about the potential hangover. They are right to be concerned about a pounding headache and a sour stomach, but they should be focused on a bigger problem that comes attached to their drinks.
Routine drinkers should be troubled by the influence that their habit has on their bank accounts. If you want to stretch your savings, you should think about limiting your alcohol intake — or better yet, quitting it completely.
A Round-Up of the Costs
At first glance, your drinking routine won’t look like it affects your finances, but the small purchases quickly add up. Even one $5 drink every day will cost you $1820 in a year. If you want the ballpark estimate of how much your drinking habit costs you, use the alcohol spending calculator from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
It’s not just the price of the drink that affects your finances. Anyone who has gone out bar hopping understands the feeling of starting the night with a full wallet and ending it with an empty one. After drinks, coat checks, entry fees, tips, and cab fare, those crisp dollar bills all but evaporate into thin air.
The website Finder points out that another cost that comes with a night of drinking is intoxicated shopping — on average, Americans spent $447.57 each on drunk purchases in the year 2018. Common purchases were food, shoes, clothes, and gambling opportunities.
When you consider all of these costs, you’ll understand why quitting alcohol is one of the best New Year’s resolutions to help you save money by the end of the year. You can easily combine two amazing ambitions into a single resolution, cutting down your drinking habit and growing your savings at the same time.
How Do You Get Started?
- Take Baby Steps
Vowing never to touch a drop of alcohol again is a huge commitment, especially when drinking has been a part of your weekly routine for a long time. A better way to stop drinking is to start with a month-long challenge and then extending your challenge once you reach the deadline — making the goal short and clear will make it much easier to achieve.
- Get Your Friends on Board
Kitchn writer Alli Hoff Kosik lamented the drinking peer pressure she received from well-meaning friends who encouraged her to have alcohol when she showed no desire to do so. Her friends thought they were being nice when they bought her cocktails or shared their wine.
Unless you tell your friends, they will make the same assumption and tempt you to abandon your goal. Let them know you need them to be your cheerleaders in this situation.
- Look for Alternatives
You’re cutting out a substance, not enjoyment. Don’t accept that sobriety means standing in the corner with a cup of water and watching everyone else have fun. Learn tasty mocktail recipes like Mango Mules and Lavender Lemonades that you can bring over to house parties and events. If hard liquor was never your drink of choice, do your research on popular non-alcoholic beers and wines to pick up from the store.
- Remind Yourself of the End Goal
It’s easy to get bogged down by the fact that you’re sacrificing something that you normally do. One of the best tips for limiting alcohol is writing down all of the reasons why you’re following the resolution, so you can always push yourself to keep going.
When you’re quitting drinking for financial reasons, look at your bank statements for motivation. Calculate the difference between your old budget and your alcohol-free budget. Move your extra dollars into an emergency fund and proudly watch it grow over the months.
You will always want to have money put away for bad situations, just in case you need to make a quick payment when there’s nothing left in your budget. With an emergency fund as your financial back-up plan, you can tackle unexpected bills, repairs, and accidents without stress.
This fund may take a while to build up, leaving you unprepared for these expenses in the meantime. If you don’t have enough savings, an option like MoneyKey may be a practical alternative. They offer installment loans to help you take care of problems promptly. The installment loans have lengthy repayment terms, so clients don’t have to rush to repay in one lump sum. You can visit their website to see if you can receive this specific service in your home state.
While alcohol can be fun, it comes with a lot of difficulties. You may be able to power through headaches and nausea, but you can’t ignore the impact that it has on your finances. If you want to stop pouring your money down the drain, reconsider pouring yourself drinks.