Not many people stop drinking alcohol because it saves them money. However, thousands of people every year discover that going alcohol-free can save them a surprising amount of cash!
The motivating reasons for quitting drinking tend to focus on the benefits to our physical and mental health. The discovery that you’re actually richer as a result of giving up drinking alcohol is a welcome bonus!
On average, a person will spend £1000 per year on alcohol. The average UK life expectancy is 81 years, if you were to drink from 18-81 that is a whopping total of £63,000. No wonder 64% admit to buying alcohol using borrowed money such as on credit cards or overdrafts.
How quitting drinking can save you money:
- Cutting costs on alcoholic drinks.
- Reducing peripheral costs on taxis, take away food, and buying other people drinks.
- No need to spend money on new outfits for night's out that will be ruined with mystery stains.
- No more late night drunk online purchases.
- Cut out spending money on hangover cures, sugary drinks and stodgy foods the day after you've been drinking.
There are several ways in which you can save money by giving up drinking. We take a closer look at how much money can accidentally slip through your fingers while you’re busy knocking back the booze.
The spiralling costs of a big night out
First of all, it’s not just about the actual cash that you fork out to buy drinks. The money that crosses the bar or ends up in the supermarket till is definitely a big part of it – alcoholic drinks still cost more than most soft drink options – but it’s not the whole story. An alcohol free night out can help you save more than just the price of a few beers or bottle of wine.
There are other, peripheral costs that drinkers absorb in order to prop up their drinking habits. The Uber ride home because you ‘got involved’ and missed the last train or couldn’t drive. The takeaway that you pick up on the way because it’s too late to cook and now you’re craving some stodge to absorb a bit of the booze.
Didn’t you end up getting a whole bottle of wine because buying it by the glass is just silly? And how much exactly is a tiny dish of smoked pistachios again? And who cares anyway after a couple of drinks? These amounts of money are small enough – £8 here, £15 there – to be handed over without too much soul searching, but over the course of a month, easily add up to a substantial sum.
Alcohol is notorious for encouraging us to throw caution to the wind. Often, along with our caution goes a lot of money that we otherwise wouldn’t have spent. And it goes further. The taxi to work the next morning because you overslept, missed the bus or didn’t feel safe to drive.
The drinker's new clothes
Annabel was surprised by the amount of money she saved when she started OYNB. “Once I stopped drinking alcohol, my nights out changed – I wasn’t keen on spending hours in the pub or clubs anymore. Another thing – when I was drinking, I would treat myself to a ‘Saturday night outfit’ a couple of times a month, bought purely for the purpose of looking good while I got drunk.
“Once or twice, I’d even wake up wearing a new top and find that I’d got a cigarette burn or red wine stain on it. It was ruined after one night. When I started OYNB, I immediately stopped buying ‘disposable’ clothes to go drinking in. It saved me a ton of money!”
Not to mention those late night drunk purchases that you forgot you ordered. Nearly 1 in 5 admit to having purchased items online whilst drunk, with a quarter of these having spent between £100 and £200, ouch!
The morning after money pit
Even the morning after a heavy session costs you money. There are the things you throw into your supermarket basket without even thinking about it. Your favourite energy drink to down on the way to work. A pack of those expensive effervescent vitamin pills and some aspirin to help you feel human again. The mid-morning bacon roll that you crave and cave into because you couldn’t face breakfast first thing.
Sure, it’s only £2. And then another £2 for the coffee to go with it. What’s £4? Without wanting to sound starchy about it, it’s £4 that you could have saved. Along with the £20 Uber fare and the £12 pizza. And the drinks themselves, obviously. Who would have thought getting a round in could cost that much? But you can’t say no, when it’s your turn, can you?
Hear from the horse's mouth
Many OYNB members didn't start out their alcohol-free challenge expecting to save money, but they are happily surprised when they do.
“My I Am Sober app says I’ve saved $5100 and almost 400 hours. I think it’s more than that. I’m using that money to go to Provence for two weeks.”
“I have also used the money I've saved from not drinking to save some ex-battery hens and give them a home. It’s a dream I've wanted to fulfil for several years but couldn't afford it – but now I can.”
“With how much money I’m saving I've signed up to Stitch Fix with the money – having not bought myself clothes in years!”
Drawing a line underneath alcohol
Alcohol is famous for causing people to lose their restraint in all kinds of ways. Wasting money is just another casualty of that dubious influence. When you start your OYNB journey, there are countless things to feel positive about. More energy, more time, better concentration at work and no more wasted weekends feeling hungover are usually to be found somewhere around the top of the list. The fact that quitting drinking gives you the opportunity to save a bit more money towards a holiday or big purchase? Even a house deposit? That’s pretty awesome.
When you count the ways that embarking on a OYNB journey has improved your life, enjoy adding up the actual pounds and pennies too! Stop drinking and save money.