Holy crap! I can't believe how much I saved this month just by not buying booze. This has been very eye-opening for me. It's also amazing how quickly it adds up ($5 here, $10 there) - even when I didn't think I "spent" very much.
A quick note on how I'm calculating my money-not-spent...
I am adding items to my spreadsheet that meet the following requirements:
- If I'm in a situation where I would normally order a drink (at a bar, or with a meal). I pretty much know when I'd want to order one.
- If people are having more than one drink, I'll include an extra one for myself as well.
- My estimated cost sometimes includes tip, and sometimes doesn't - just to allow for a little wiggle room.
- I like good booze, so I am not usually calculating for $2 beers - but $5-6 drinks (because that's what I normally have). For happy hours I'll try to guesstimate a little lower, for fancy-scmancy restaurants, I'll guesstimate a little higher.
- I'm only calculating liquor store trips for when I REALLY want to get a bottle of wine or something. Or if I'm going to an event where I would normally bring my own booze.
And one final note: This is not an exact science. It's just to give myself an idea of what I COULD HAVE spent on alcohol.
For the month of January I did NOT spend $233.00 on booze.
Some things I learned about myself in January:
- Sleep is WAY better without alcohol. I sleep much more soundly, and sometimes for much longer.
- As alcohol has a tendency to do, it lowers my inhibitions. Having a clear head made me realize that I can make better decisions in my life!
- I already feel like I'm developing better relationships with my friends. It's harder to connect with people when they're tipsy and I'm not - so I'm connecting more with people I may not have before, because they also either don't drink or don't drink very much.
- I still think it's hilarious watching my friends drink though. :)
- I love love LOVE not having to worry about how I am getting home at the end of the night. Knowing that I can always drive myself home is very comforting.
One thing I'm still working on is dealing with that guilty feeling when I'm taking up a spot at the bar, and the bartender asks me what I'd like to drink, and my response is "soda water with lemon, please."
I've realized that making a light-hearted acknowledgment helps ("don't worry, I'll still tip ya!"), or keeping them reassured that I understand they're there to make money by at least kicking them a few bucks for keeping my soda water full. I've been in the business before - I get it!
In conclusion: so far, so good!
Thanks to everyone for the constant love and support on this journey