There are three ways to look at it.
“It is our choices… that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” —
J. K. Rowling
AsI just passed my 3rd anniversary of being alcohol-conscious, I’ve been doing a bit more reflection than usual on where the last three years have taken me.
As I think through the number of different ways in which my life is significantly better, one specific aspect comes to mind that is strangely easy and hard to quantify at the same time:
Specifically, how much money do I think I have saved over the past three years by making this decision to not drink anymore?
Now, this can seem rather easy if one just thinks of averaging how much money I was spending each night going out and multiplying that by the average number of days I would go out in a year (a lot BTW) and then multiply that number by three years.
While this number would probably be high enough that it would make anyone realize this has been a good decision for me, the reality is that this number only scratches the surface of the extra money I’ve seen in totality over the past three years.
There are three specific ways to view this financial gain that can be somewhat hard to quantify but could lead to lots of money in your pocket (and an entirely different life) in the long run.
Money saved from simply not drinking
This is the simple one.
If you were anything like me, one night out could easily turn into an $80–100 ordeal, on the low end.
The prices of alcoholic beverages are so high that adding them to your tab for dinner can really rack on the charges quickly.
For many, one drink may not be enough, so instead of just ordering one glass of wine and sipping on it for the night, this could easily turn into 3–4 glasses (or an entire bottle).
This could easily turn a $20 dinner into a $60–$70 dinner in the blink of an eye. If you add another person to the bill, that number would double, and a simple date night out becomes a major ordeal.
In regards to just having a general drinking night out, without the dinner, it’s still not hard to imagine someone spending $100–200 easily as well.
First, there is the act of taking an Uber to get to whatever establishment one decides to visit, which could run anywhere from $10–20 a ride ($20–$40 round trip).
Next, you add the actual drinks enjoyed at the bar with your friends. Often, this involves a few beers or cocktails, along with probably more than one or two shots to crank up the party a bit. Also, if you’re anything like me, you often find yourself making one or two friends and ordering them a few drinks as well as a show of your new friendship.
This could easily be $40 on the light end to $100 on the heavy end.
Lastly, for many, when they get home, the last thing they want to do is have to cook something to eat to soak up all the alcohol in one’s stomach.
Therefore, if there isn’t already something made that one could throw in the microwave for a quick warm-up, then very few things sound better than something that can be delivered hot and ready to eat to soak up that alcohol.
Enter Uber Eats into the picture, and that could tack on an additional $20–40 as well.
All in all, this could lead to a world in which a night out could be anywhere from $100 on the light end to $200 on the heavy end. Most people go out 1 to 2 nights a week, and you would then have a bill of $200–400 weekly or $800–$1600 monthly, an amount that could amount to a number of different purchases or savings from a lifestyle perspective.
If you’re anything like I was and would go out more than two days per week (think more like 4 or 5), and that number could balloon dramatically.
Money saved from stupid decisions
There are a number of problems related to how alcohol impairs our ability to think.
As shared in Why You Make Such STUPID Decision While Drinking Alcohol, your brain’s ability to think long term is dramatically damaged due to alcohol’s effect, and many of the things that you would never do when you’re sober sound like really good ideas for some reason when you’re drunk.
Many of these decisions can be very costly and change your life forever.
If you are anything like me, you have the uncanny ability to be pretty drunk and still appear relatively sober to those around you due to your high tolerance.
This often creates a scenario in which you don’t have a lot of people worrying about your driving because you appear so well put together when it’s pretty much one of the worst decisions you can make.
The national average cost of a DUI is around $10,000 and can be more or less, depending on where you live and what legal representation route you decide to go.
As someone who has experienced this firsthand, the $10,000 is pretty much dead on if you want to prevent your life from being ruined from potentially getting jail time or not being able to drive for a certain amount of time.
Also, this doesn’t even cover the cost of fines, which could be another $1000–$3000 before it’s all said and done.
For me, I was very lucky that I was not someone who drank and thought that fighting or stealing anything would be a fun idea, but there have been many people who fell into this category that could’ve potentially made a mistake that cost them much more than the money of which I was forced to pay.
It’s hard to put a price tag on something that never happened, but the act of doing something that could’ve forever changed one’s life is something that many people have experienced and are broke today because of that reality.
Money made from better and more focused decisions
This last way to view this is perhaps the one that so many people find it hard to do because it involves imagining what your life could be like if you did not drink.
For many, they invariably think it will be worse, as they think about all the fun experiences that alcohol has afforded them.
What they often miss, however, is understanding there are tradeoffs for everything, and with each of those amazing experiences that one has etched in one’s memory bank (for the ones that are actually remembered that is), there is a lot of opportunity cost that could be impossible to put a price tag on.
I’ve written about this in a previous article in regards to decision-making and how making one simple decision to drink on a night can invariably lead to a slew of other bad decisions that could harm one’s success at work in the future.
Many times, people feel comfortable that they made it through a bad night out if they are just able to show up to work the next day and not get fired. They are not focused on the quality of work they are able to give, and many times put in a somewhat poor effort.
As long as they don’t get noticed or fired, they feel like they have rectified their bad decision to go out.
What often doesn’t get considered, however, is the number of opportunities that one may be missing by not being able to put forth that 100% effort the next day.
When one drinks and shows up to work the next day hungover, there may be a number of situations in which a stellar performance could have opened up a number of doors for future opportunities, but the individual’s current status of recovery won’t allow for such a performance.
These doors could have led to promotions or opportunities that ultimately would’ve resulted in a higher salary and more dollars in someone’s pockets.
When someone is nursing a hangover and not able to put his/her best foot forward, that opportunity is missed, and who knows where that could’ve led one’s career.
By not drinking and being at 100%, however, the chances would’ve been much better that one could’ve taken full advantage of said opportunity.
And it only takes one good chance to lead to another good chance that could lead to a completely different future if one executes appropriately.
So now the question begs to be asked the next time drinking may cross your mind…how much are you REALLY paying for that drink?