Step 10: Drink Less Booze

While we weren’t exactly living the high life before, Mr. DebtFreeJD and I definitely indulged from time to time in a drink or two.  We had a favorite neighborhood wine bar, and our fridge was usually well-stocked with some interesting craft beers or a nice bottle of wine.

That, alas, is over until DEBT-FREE-MAGEDDON!

I.e., hopefully by next summer.

Even after we got serious about paying down my loans, drinking continued, although in smaller and cheaper amounts.

This September, I decided I’d give it up entirely for a month.  I’d fallen into a bad habit of having a beer or a glass of wine before bed most nights.  I wanted out, and the easiest way to break that habit (I figured on the basis of absolutely no scientific evidence) was to go cold turkey for a while.

Here’s the run-down:

  • It’s definitely cheaper.  Booze (at least in all the forms I’m willing to drink) is much more expensive than my other guilty habits, which are hot chocolate, soda, tea, tea, tea, and more tea.
  • It’s good for my body.  NPR tells me that laying off the sauce for a month is good for your liver and your blood glucose level.  Not regularly, but occasionally, when we’d go to a party I’d have one too many. I’m old enough to get rotten hangovers: that’s gone also.  Yet another example of how saving money has immediate benefits that have nothing to do with more bucks in the bank!
  • It’s satisfying to drop a bad habit.  I found myself really missing my nightly glass of wine or beer.  I’m therefore extra glad I gave it up, since I was clearly dependent on it.  Plus, self-control is hard, and it’s an accomplishment (at least for me) to be able to successfully stop a bad habit in its tracks.  I find myself contemplating another similar experiment next month: maybe no more sugary drinks?*
  • Everyone thinks we’re expecting.  There, I said it.  When you’re a married lady of a certain age (e.g., the around 30 group) and you suddenly start saying “Water for me, thanks” when the waitress comes around at a bar and asks if anyone wants something to drink, you get a lot of knowing looks.  Therefore, I’ve had to come up with a stock excuse.
  • Parties and work events are a little bit awkward: It’s just a little bit tough to be at a party or a work event (or a restaurant with friends) and skip the booze.  And by that, I mean I feel like there’s a little hurdle to jump over to tell the bartender that you’d like a soda or a water when everyone else is getting beers, or to be standing around with water while everyone else has a huge glass of wine.  I know, I know: world’s tiniest violin. But heck, Mr. DebtFreeJD and I are trying to pay off many many tens of thousands of dollars of loans in a short period of time.  I can jump a tiny hurdle in pursuit of a much bigger one!

All, in all, I say success.  Booze-less September (at least so far) is a win.  

*Tea you will have to pry from my cold, dead, fingers to get me to quit it, because life is simply not worth living without it.

7 thoughts on “Step 10: Drink Less Booze

  1. Cecilia@thesingledollar

    Heh. I’ve never been a drinker (I don’t like the taste — of pretty much anything I’ve ever tried — although I’ll have a glass of wine for the exact social purposes you mention) and it’s saved me untold amounts of money over the years. Which is good since I never made any money. God, if I’d liked beer I’d probably be $30,000 in debt right now just over that.

  2. Judi

    I’m glad this isn’t only me! Sometimes when I read other blogs on debt I am humbled and feel ashamed because I have a hard time giving up luxuries that would be frivolous to the bloggers. We gave up drinking when we started getting out of debt. We still meet with friends at homes for snacks and good conversation but it’s not quite the same as an artisan cheese plate served with a nice wine or a plate of fried with a microbrew. But like you said there are benefits and I’ve enjoyed the creativity we’ve found by shaking up our routine. We no longer rely on a bottle of wine to highlight our gathering with friends but instead try out new hikes or mountain bike rides.
    On a side note beer is more difficult for me to be cheap with. I can find wines that I enjoy for cheapish but I really love microbrews!

    1. Judi

      Haha I meant plate of fries I don’t often eat “fried” 😉 damn autocorrect. On a side note I always cringe when I make grammar mistakes on jd associated blogs because my husband is a lawyer and pretty keen with grammar.

      1. DebtFreeJD Post author

        I NEVER cringe when I make grammar mistakes on things outside of work, since nobody’s paying me. My attitude towards grammar (and punctuation) is practical, not theoretical. I’ll pay attention if it’s part of work. If it’s not, I both won’t pay attention and will get creative if the vibe strikes me.

        As to feeling guilty about wanting microbrews . . . I guess the heart wants what it wants. And mine loves fancy cheese and beers.

  3. mrs TIP

    booze is definitely a money sink. my husband loves his beer, and it wasn’t until it started making him feel rotten (heartburn, poor sleep, etc — even just one!) that he cut it out. he primarily drinks only in social occasions now. i’m a gin & tonic person myself, but

    1) can’t really drink that as much as i would like without becoming an alcoholic
    2) have to go to a liquor store to get it and ain’t nobody got time for that
    3) holy crap that’d be expensive

    so i make due with it as an occasional treat (i.e., when at my in-laws houses…they always stock full bars).

    finally, completely agree on tea. forever and always tea.

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