In 2016, the same year I was 21 years old, I took a long hiatus from alcohol. Like most 21-year-olds, I was drinking way too much alcohol.
After much deliberation, I challenged myself to take a year-long break from alcohol.
I failed. I think I made it like 6 months, but that's not the point of this post.
Though the alcohol hiatus was meant to get my health back on track, I had no idea what it was doing for my wallet as well.
On average, I was drinking about 3 days per week.
Binge drinking, to be brutally honest.
On a typical drinking day, I had roughly 4 drinks, sometimes way more, sometimes less. The average price was $7 per drink.
Breaking this down (as seen in the graph below) I was spending:
Let's say I drank like this for 10 years. That would make the total over $43,000. WHAT.
Below is a photo of the $$$ breakdown per week, month, and year.
Where the f was all of my money going?!
I was literally drinking my money for years and had no idea where my $$$ was going.
If you're thinking about taking a break from alcohol, I recommend it!
There are so many benefits to taking a break from drinking, such as:
- Clearer skin
- Better sleep
- Lose weight
- Improved concentration
- Your liver gets the break it deserves
Statistics on drinking alcohol in the United States:
- $100+ spent weekly on alcohol by 6.7% of millennials
- 1 in 6 adults binge drink, which is roughly 8 drinks per binge
- Alcohol abuse cost the United States 249 billion in 2010
- 15.1 million adults 18 and older have AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder)
- Alcohol-related deaths mark the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S.
- 5.1 million people between the ages of 12-20 report binge drinking in the past month
And not to get all emotional on you guys, but I realized a lot of my drinking was stemming from being bored with my life. I didn't have hobbies, interests, and needed the alcohol to feel better about myself.
Hobbies or things to do with friends instead of drinking:
- Rock climbing
- Knitting and crafts
- Volunteering at a local animal shelter or city clean-up
- Book club
This post isn't meant to guilt-trip anyone into getting rid of alcohol. Maybe you don't need any break at all from alcohol because you have self-control or don't binge-drink like I did.
With the money you save from not drinking, you can:
- Put the money towards an emergency fund
- Take a vacation
- Pay off debt
- Invest your money
- Have a spa day
How to stay motivated to stop drinking:
- Keep track of your receipts spent on drinking and calculate it each week
- Keep track of bar and alcohol spending in the Mint app
- Put the saved money toward a debt immediately
How to spend less when you start drinking again:
- Bring cash only, no credit or debit cards
- Buy cheaper drinks
- Stay hydrated before going out so you don't become consumed by alcoholic drinks
- Stick to a goal of only drinking 2 drinks
Health benefits of drinking:
Though this post is about taking a hiatus from alcohol, it's important to note that there are health benefits to drinking in moderation. Moderate drinking refers to 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men.
- Improved sexual function in men
- Libido-boosting for women
- Alcohol can soothe sore muscles
- Red wine may boost memory
- White wine may be weight loss friendly
- Beer is packed with vitamins like Riboflavin, Thiamin, Magnesium, and more
- Beer can decrease menopause symptoms
- Beer can strengthen bones
- Vodka can improve heart circulation
Non-Alcoholic drinks to make:
Articles that will inspire you to take a hiatus from drinking:
One of my favorite parts about limiting my drinking intake is memorizing things better. I've had so many great nights with friends, but the memories are a bit foggy. Now I remember everything without experiencing massive hangovers the day after.
Disclosure: I did not drink every single week, let alone 3 days every single week, but I'm spacing it out to 3 days per week every week for simplicity purposes.
References for statistics: Alcohol Facts and Statistics
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How much do you spend on alcohol? Share in the comments! (If you're comfortable).
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