I know quitting is, like, super hard and, according to many of my 40+ girlfriends, like impossible.
"I could never quit drinking," one woman after another has told me. "That's just not me." My reply is pretty much the same every time.
"If I can quit, anyone can quit. I was party girl Dani." I usually emphasize the words with a little dance, a flourish of my hands and a woot. I was just like them. The one who would meet people who quit drinking (or, gasp, never picked it up) and wonder with part awe and part contempt: how the hell did they do it? And, why the fuck would they want to?
So, it is with the understanding that your annual spending will not likely be the Eureka moment that compels you to drop your drinking habit that I discuss the money you'll save. But, I feel it's a really nice bonus to consider if you're on the cusp of committing to sobriety. And, it was certainly one of the factors that pushed me to quit drinking, myself.
Here's my captain obvious fact - you're spending a lot of money on alcohol. A quick list of the ways it's costing you big bucks?
- Purchasing liquor at the store (for us Ontarians, the LCBO or "Wine Shop"). It's a candy store for grownups!
- Restaurant bills that are inflated by those overpriced glasses of wine - ouch!
- Uber rides and taxi cabs "just in case I have a few too many." Oh, you will.
- Uber rides for your kids because you're too drunk to pick them up. What, a parent can enjoy a drink or two?
- Drunk online shopping. Yah, you've done it.
- Uber eats. Confession here. I've never used it because I'm just too cheap, but I know it's the thing to do now, especially after a couple glasses of wine and, gosh, making dinner is sooo much work! Who wants pizza!
- Botox injections. Again - not my thing. But, I have girlfriends who get them regularly who are my age. I'm not saying I look like I'm 20 but alcohol ages your skin. And, by not drinking, my skin looks and feels way younger. I'm not even tempted to use it (it does help that I'm cheap as shit).
- Breakage and losing shit. I've lost prescription glasses, my wallet, clothing. I've broken drinking glasses, dishes, my kids' toys. Proud moments, all of them.
- Missed wages. Have you ever missed work because you're so hungover it takes effort to lift your head? Yep. Me too. That one hurts more than the wallet (can someone say shame?)
- Physical injury. Ok, I've never had this happen and we do have free healthcare in Canada. But still, a drunken injury can still get costly when peripheral expenses aren't covered. You know, there's no free (ambulance) ride in this life.
If you're reading this blog post, I bet you can tick off at least three of the above expenses. Let's say we just start with the simplest on the list. Purchasing booze. Statistics Canada says Canadians spent, on average, $755 per year on alcohol. (If you're like me, you're shrugging your shoulder thinking, that's not so bad.) You're right! It's not. Because that's the average Canadian.
I tallied up my purchases made at the LCBO and Wine Shop (conveniently situated a few feet from the grocery store checkout) for the entire year of 2017. These were purchases made only with my debit, so are likely a bit on the modest side. Drum roll please...
I spent $1,725.25.
That's a trip to the Bahamas (which I coincidentally could not afford). My highest month was, no surprise, December 2017. I spent $204.25. I had a party, come on.
My cheapest month of the year was... January 2018. At $56.90, it was my Almost-Dry January. I actually remember taking that month off, and then celebrating a couple days early because, damn, I almost made it 30 days without wine! I deserved some wine for that accomplishment!
Saving money is not, by any means, a significant reason to stop drinking. But, for (somewhat) cheap people like me, the realization that I was spending so much on it, was enough to consider sobriety with seriousness.
The greatest benefits to living alcohol-free didn't begin to surface until a couple months into my journey. And, they continue to surface. My life continues to evolve in ways I never thought possible. That being said, when you're at the beginning of the journey, you need to grasp at every little bonus you can find to stay on the path. It's a hard one to start, and yes, even harder to remain on it.
Quit drinking. Save some money. And buy yourself something pretty. You deserve it.