In an era of rising prices and stagnant income, you might be searching for ways to cut down your expenses. Alcohol spending can consume a significant portion of your budget, prompting some to give up on their alcohol consumption and prefer sobriety over spending.
A British household can save around £590 by quitting drinking alcohol for a year, which is more than one spends on buying fresh fruits and vegetables combined. Moreover, the savings can go beyond your imagination if we add the spiralling cost of boozy nights out.
Let’s discuss how an alcohol-free life can save you a surprising amount of cash which you can use for a better cause, and how you can calculate the savings yourself.
How much money do you save by not drinking alcohol?
Drinking alcohol can lead to numerous health issues, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, sleeping problems, weight gain, depression, and can even develop cancer. So If you cut down on drinking, you can enjoy a healthy lifestyle by significantly reducing these health concerns. Besides the health benefits of quitting drinking, this great decision will incredibly save you a lot of money. According to a Gallup Study, 13% of people have reported taking more than 8 drinks in the last week, while 52% took 1 to 7. At first glance, you might say this is not much alcohol, but in the long run, it can add up to thousands of dollars.
On average, a UK household spends £11.30 on alcoholic drinks weekly, up to £587.60 a year. The average life expectancy of a person in the UK is 81. That means if an average British household starts drinking from the age of 18, they can save around £37000. It shows that staying away from booze for one year can save you over £580, which is quite convincing.
However, it is not just the cost of a few bottles of wine; the peripheral costs also add up to your drinking costs, draining your wallet. For instance, an alcohol night out means hefty uber charges as your hangover won’t let you drive or make it to the train. While on the way, you’ve realised you are craving a stodge, so add the cost of takeaway food as well. And what about the dress you messed up last night and needs dry cleaning now? Plus, the self-help next morning paracetamols, Beroccas, and a soothing fry-up for your stomach.
How much does an average man in the UK spend on alcohol every year?
The drinking behaviours in the UK change with time and are subject to legislation, marketing, and social attitudes. Similarly, the drinking patterns vary with gender as well. Males are known to consume more alcoholic drinks than their female counterparts.
According to a survey, 75.6% of men in the UK drink alcohol at least once a week. A small glass of wine costs around £4.17 in the UK. If a person drinks the ONS-recommended 14 units of alcohol a week, equivalent to 10 small glasses of wine, he consumes £41.7 a week.
Another study by Delamare revealed more alarming results. 1 in 5 people surveyed consumes an average of two drinks in one day. Again this is just the cost of drinks, bartender tips, takeaways, transport, property damage, etc. It should also be included while calculating the average annual cost of alcohol drinking in the UK.
If the health benefits of giving up on alcohol have not yet motivated you, its money-saving benefits might do the trick.
How much does an average woman in the UK spend on alcohol every year?
Historically, males used to consume more alcoholic drinks than women, though the case remains today, the gender difference has been considerably narrowed down in recent years. The overall alcohol consumption among the younger generation increased from the 1970s because more females started drinking.
This growing relationship between women and alcoholic beverages can lead to breast cancer and reduced fertility. After having the same amount of alcohol, women tend to absorb more alcohol in their blood than men. The after-effects of alcohol consumption are likely to persist in women compared to their male counterparts.
British women are known to be one of the heaviest female drinkers in the world. The survey revealed that 67.6% of women in the UK consume at least one in a week. Another survey reveals that a brit woman consumes 30g of alcohol a day, equivalent to three standard drinks.
What are the other benefits of not drinking alcohol?
Quitting alcohol is not easy, especially if you are misusing it. However, the incredible physical, social, and economic benefits of leaving alcohol will definitely facilitate the process. Good health is vital for a satisfied life. By deciding to stop drinking, you can minimise the risk of developing alcohol-related diseases, such as cancer, liver disease, sexual dysfunction, and many more. According to research, the damage caused to the brain, cardiovascular system, and liver slowly heals when you stop drinking. Similarly, the average beer contains 150 calories. So if you skip 4 beers a night, you will consume 600 fewer calories daily, adding up to 4,200 fewer calories in a week.
Besides, alcohol is a significant contributor to broken relationships and divorces. Divorce settlements can destroy you financially. On the contrary, while in sobriety, you also tend to sustain a healthy relationship. Sobriety also means an improved social life.
Staying away from your family because you are recovering from a hangover, getting into regrettable and embarrassing moments, and other side effects of alcohol can completely disconnect you from your social life.
Plus, quitting drinking allows you to focus better on your studies and achieve great academic success. So there are unmistakable, unintended positive side effects of stopping alcohol consumption.
What are the best ways to use the money saved by not drinking alcohol?
Once you say goodbye to the boozes, you will realise how much money you wasted your whole life. In sobriety, save the money you used to spend on alcoholic drinks. Get a gym membership with the money you spent on a nightclub membership. Besides focusing on self-care, you can invest this money in your interests and hobbies that were difficult to prioritise earlier due to the boozy haze.
Watching your money grow is a real motivator. You can put your money in a saving pot at home or in a dedicated saving account. Once you get a lump sum amount, the best option will be to save your future by investing in stocks, mutual funds, pension investments, etc.
Moreover, you should pay off your credit card debts, which might result from your boozy past. Sobriety means stepping into reality, which recommends investing in your needs. You can deposit for your new rental residence or take the first step towards buying a new home. Along the same lines, you can purchase something of value for your home, such as a new work shed or a new piece of furniture. The goal should be to leave a boozy life and replace it with a healthy and prosperous life.
How to calculate how much you will save by stopping drinking?
Keeping track of your saved money will help you stay committed to your no-booze decision. Therefore, to calculate your alcohol spending, you can use an online drink cost calculator, or can manually calculate your weekly average. To start your calculations, think about the number of days in a week you usually drink, multiply it by the number of beverages you take in a day, and then multiply the resulting number by the average price of each drink.
This will give you your alcohol spending per week, to get monthly or annual calculations, multiply this number by the number of weeks in a given timeframe. However, this average cost does not include the peripheral costs of alcohol consumption. Depending on whether you mostly drink at home or at a bar, you can add them to your manual alcohol cost calculations.
Health concerns are often stated as a motivating reason behind quitting alcohol drinks. However, the fact that you can save money by ditching your booze cravings is an added bonus. The cost of living has increased exponentially, so why don’t you quit your alcohol drinking? It is not just about the cash you spend on your pints; the peripheral costs of alcohol consumption, including your night outs and parties, also add to it, making hundreds and thousands of pounds in the long run.
Then there are the unmeasurable but very real effects of alcoholic drinks on your energy and productivity levels. Alcohol will divert you from doing productive things, while an alcohol-free night will wake you up with the requisite focus to attain success, productivity, promotion, bonuses, and more. All in all, breaking up with alcohol will reward you with numerous positive benefits and an immediate, quantifiable effect on your finances.
As always, please remember I am an Accountant, but not your Accountant. In this post (and all of my others) I share information and often give anecdotes about what has worked well for me. However, I do not know your financial situation and do not offer individual financial advice. If you are unsure of a particular financial subject, please hire a qualified financial advisor to guide you.
This article has been written by Luke Girling, ACA – a qualified Accountant and personal finance enthusiast in the UK. Please visit my ‘About‘ page for more information. To verify my ACA credentials – please search for my name at the ICAEW member finder. To get in touch with questions or ideas for future posts, please comment below or contact me here.