I’m Saving Big Bucks!


Saving money was not a deciding factor in choosing not to drink alcohol for my 2014 New Year’s resolution. In fact, the list I jotted down in my journal puts it at number nine in a list of nine. (I couldn’t come up with a 10th reason). Despite this, I amused myself the other night by doing a quick estimate of how much money I expect to save this year by not drinking. Of course, I immediately followed my note-taking by creating an Excel spreadsheet.


Let me walk you through the table. I mentioned in a previous post that I used to drink at least two glasses of wine every night. So, my estimate assumes that, had I not made this New Year’s resolution, I would drink two glasses of wine every night in 2014. It also assumes that I would eat at home 5 nights a week, eat out twice per week, and that once per month, my husband and I would “splurge” on something that would result in spending more on alcohol. These are the three “line items” represented in the rows in the table.

In the columns, I show a conservative estimate of how much money I would have spent per time on each of these drinking occasions, how many time per month I would have engaged in each, and then I annualize the cost by multiplying the results by 12. Finally, I add up the dollar amounts in the last column to get the total expected annualized cost savings.

For the wine at home, I used a cost of $15 per bottle, and assumed that my husband and I would share it and finish a bottle each night. So, we would have spent $7.50 (or half the cost) per night on me. Sure, we all know that there are times when I would have been drinking a $12 bottle of Pinot Grigio. And also times when we would be sharing a $30 bottle of reserve Pinot Noir. This is an estimate, and I am sure that it is conservative. In fact, Bruce opened a bottle of Bridlewood Reserve Pinot earlier this week. It had cost $30, and it took him three days to finish it. If I had been helping him with it, it would have been a dead soldier in one night – guaranteed.

To estimate the cost of drinking wine out, I simply figured two glasses of wine all in at $10 each, or $20 for each outing. Bruce and I love(d) to go to wine tastings and wine dinners, we like(d) to share a special bottle of wine on special occasions, and we also greatly enjoy going out to listen to local music. I account for this additional spending in the “Splurge” line item. Here, I assumed that it was only once per month, and that the additional spending just for me, above and beyond the typical cost, was $20.

$4,440 is a lot of money! To be honest, this is more than I had guessed. And, let’s face it, this is probably an under-estimate of how much I will save this year by not drinking alcohol. Why wasn’t cost savings higher on my list? In my next post, I’ll reveal what I’m going to do with all that cash…


3 thoughts on “I’m Saving Big Bucks!

  1. Karen

    Sharon, your blog is so interesting. It is surprising how quickly it adds up. I remember years ago when I was in my 20’s quitting smoking when cigarettes hit $2.00 a pack – it was just too expensive for a vice. The best thing I ever did for myself. It’s now hard to believe that I would ever have smoked, I hate smoking now.

    I too have been cutting back on wine and spirits for a while. Weaning myself from about the same 2 glasses per night you were drinking, to wine on the weekend. If I am out socially, I will have a wine spritzer during the week (half wine half soda). I am not as brave as you to commit to no alcohol. If anyone can do you can, you are the most driven person I know – you go girl!!

    • Karen, thanks for this comment. In the past 2 years, I tried a few things like only drinking wine on the weekends and limited myself to one glass a night, etc. I was never able to really stick to any of these. That’s one of the reasons why I am trying the “cold turkey” approach this time around.

  2. susan snook

    I agree, Sharon. I think cold turkey is easier than limits like “only on weekends” or “just one glass,” because if anything, those kinds of limits only serve to give greater importance to the drinking. Far better to form a new habit of no wine and get it off the mind completely.

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