“Let’s get drinks.”
These three words can rule adult friendships, networking, and more – especially if you’re in your 20s and 30s.
Much of our social life is punctuated by booze. At the height of this summer, I found myself drinking more than usual.
Summertime in Los Angeles seemed like the perfect backdrop to enjoy a cool cocktail. Wine with friends became the norm. If I was stressed, so why not relax with a glass of wine? If I was in a good mood or experienced some success, I’d open up a bottle and toast to whatever good fortune came my way.
But I started to notice something: I started feeling gross. I started feeling tired. Drinking felt like an unnecessary part of my routine.
The Less Tangible Benefits
While I wouldn’t say I had a problem with alcohol, it was certainly something that I wanted to rein in and be more mindful about. So in the middle of summer – in the midst of travel and vacations – I decided to stop drinking for a month and do a full reset.
I didn’t want to just cut back – for me, a full reset would be best. I knew a month would be enough time to shift my routine of winding down with wine or feeling the urge to drink with every success or setback.
Throughout these four weeks, I’ve noticed a few things: My mood is more stable, I’ve lost weight without exercising, and I’ve also freed up money that was previously going to alcohol.
The Money Benefits
Though I bought affordable wines at Trader Joe’s and only purchased alcohol during happy hours, I’d estimate I spent about $100 or more each month on alcohol. That’s $1,200 per year. For heavier drinkers, that number could be much higher, with several thousand dollars per year going toward booze.
Instead of drinking as my primary form of entertainment or relaxation, I spent the freed up money on concerts or live theater. And even when I was out to dinner, at a show, or with others who were drinking, I abstained from drinking throughout the month.
Now, I consider myself an epicure and enjoy the good spirit. And most of the time, I don’t feel bad about the money I spend on alcohol.
But sometimes you need to reassess your habits to see if they are serving you well.
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If you feel that it's time for a complete reset, don’t wait until January 1 to cut back on booze, start a new diet, quit smoking, or stop emotional spending. You can start now.
Doing so can help you create new, healthier habits and patterns, all while saving you money along the way. Maybe you don’t enjoy drinking like I do, but let’s face it: we all have vices. Soda, candy, cigarettes, gambling… They all take a chunk out of your budget.
If you commit to one month without your vice, you can reset not only your habits, but also your finances. Imagine what you could do with $100 or more each month. You could put that toward debt. Or an emergency fund. Or use it for something productive, like taking a class.
I’m not saying that you need to quit whatever it is you enjoy – quite the contrary. But consider how a one-month detox might be the boost your motivation to get your health and finances in order.
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