Dry January: How Much Money Do You Save?
To start the new year, let’s talk about “dry January,” the challenge that about 15% of American consumers take each year to avoid drinking alcohol for the entire month. Truth: I didn’t drink alcohol in December, and it was a challenge. My friends and family either joked that I should sit at the kids’ table or threw delicious champagne in my face, forgetting my promise. But as for the money, a clever little app told me that I saved 77 dollars by going without. Still, the week before the holidays, I spent about $25 on just three non-alcoholic beers at the Old George, a pub in central London. So the question is: how much money can you save by drinking less? But first.
How Much Money Do You Save?
Three things to know:
- The net worth of the world’s 500 richest people increased by 1.5 trillion dollars last year.
- 2. The heiress of the French company L’Oreal is the first woman to amass a fortune of more than 100 billion dollars.
- Here’s how to make the most of your retirement savings this year.
… now back to the show. I’ll start by saying that people cut back on alcohol for a range of reasons, and money isn’t the main one.
Better mental and physical health are key drivers, especially among younger generations who increasingly embrace a “sober curious” lifestyle
Dry January itself was originally pitched in the UK as a way to dry out after the over-indulgent holiday season. But during these times of financial strain, saving money is an added incentive.
There is a whole range of apps that you can use to find out how much you are saving. One alcohol monitoring app, aptly named I Am Sober, found that half of its users saved more than $15 a day last year by quitting alcohol. In the UK, the app Try Dry found that its users saved an average of $469 between January and November last year by not drinking.
You could use these savings to finance your next holiday. That’s exactly what the British card provider Caxton found out. It was estimated three years ago that a couple who quit drinking in January could fund a two-night stay in Amsterdam with the savings. If they gave up alcohol for 10 weeks, they could spend five nights in the Algarve in Portugal. Couples who stayed alcohol-free all year round could afford an all-inclusive week’s holiday in Montego Bay, Jamaica for almost $2,900.
The longer you hold out, the better the journey longer you hold out, the better the journey
Of course, if the savings are invested, they can be worth even more. Claire Exley, head of wealth management at investment company Nutmeg, has calculated that if you save just 126 dollars by living abstinent every January and invest that money in a savings account with an annual return of 5%, it will be worth 880 dollars in five years and 1,849 dollars in ten years.
One disadvantage is that non-alcoholic drinks are now almost as expensive as alcoholic ones. A non-alcoholic Lucky Saint beer in the Old George cost me 8 dollars, just a dollar less than a regular pint. Non-alcoholic bottles of gin or “Nosecco” cost about the same as Hendricks or quality Prosecco.
But quitting drinking not only saves money at the bar but also on other expenses. Someone drunk is more likely to buy other people’s drinks in a moment of generosity or buy great rose-scented bath bombs from Etsy on the internet (hum, hum…).
If you cut back, you will save yourself the regret of bloated credit card bills the next day, as well as the hangover.
These costs add up. Catherine Gray, author of The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, wrote that abstaining from alcohol helped her set aside enough money to eventually become a homeowner.
I know that New Year’s resolutions like Dry January are difficult. But at least you know that for every drink you give up, you’ll have more money for your next vacation in Ibiza or even to buy a house.