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Sobriety calculator: Stop alcohol spending to save more money

The financial case for sobriety? Calculate your savings.

On average, a standard glass of wine can easily cost upwards of $2, while beer and hard liquor are at over a dollar each. This may not seem like a large amount to spend but 1 standard glass of wine per night over 12 months adds up to over $800 a year! Tabs rise significantly when ordering from a bar or a restaurant. Check out the sobriety calculator below to know how much money you can save if you quit alcohol today – and how much more you can earn if you invest what you saved.

The cost of alcohol

A dollar or two here and there doesn’t feel like much. Well, it wouldn’t hurt until you start listing how much you’re spending. No, Siree! We’re not just talking about the alcohol costs.

Have you ever considered how much drinks cost at a bar? How about that extra $20 you handed your bartender, or the 20 percent tip you paid on top of your tab? The late-night snack at your go-to burger joint after closing time? Cab for the ride home when you could’ve taken the bus? Drunk shopping, anyone? They all add up!

Calculate Your Savings

Work out how much you can save by changing or reducing your alcohol consumption

At home
Drinks this weekAverage cost per can*
Drinks this weekAverage cost per glass*
Hard liquor
Drinks this weekAverage cost per shot*
Drinks this weekAverage cost per can*
Drinks this weekAverage cost per glass*
Hard liquor
Drinks this weekAverage cost per shot*

Use the calculator above to see how much you’ll save by abstaining from alcohol .

If you quit drinking, you’ll save …

{{monthly | currency}} per month
{{yearly | currency}} per year
{{decade | currency}} per decade

If you invested a year of savings into a high-interest savings account at 1% interest compounded monthly…

At the end of 10 years, you’ll have saved: {{yearly * Math.pow(1 + .01/12, 120) | currency}}

If you invested a year of savings into a 20-year target fund at 5% interest…

At the end of 20 years, you’ll have saved: {{ yearly * Math.pow(1.05, 20) | currency}}

*Methodology: Average prices from Finder research into costs from grocery stores: (Walmart, Kosher Family, Safeway) and restaurant cost data at Dine with Drinks. Standard drink sizes from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The economic cost of booze

According to the CDC, 1 of 4 adults 18 years and over spent at least a day of heavy drinking in a year. Heavy drinking is defined as having five or more standard drinks for men, and four or more standard drinks for women.

How much does the average American spend on alcohol? Each drinker sheds $807 or about $2 per drink! That’s equivalent to an eye-popping $249 billion draining the US economy every year based on 2010 estimates – the latest available national data. This is a conservative estimate, experts say, since data on substance abuse are often underreported.

Again, alcohol cost doesn’t end when the bill’s settled. In fact, of this estimated cost, 72% is incurred from loss of work productivity, while 11% is due to healthcare expenses. The remaining are associated with costs like legal fees and payment for damaged property.

Alcohol costs affect individuals and families, and drains US economy

Cost of alcohol in the US infographics Image: Finder

How much does alcohol cost you?

The alcohol cost calculator can show you how much you can save by skipping on your next bottle of booze. But, clearly, alcohol costs more than the price of your choice of drink. The cost varies from one person to another and only by listing down everything from your tab to the meds you need to nurse a hangover the next morning will you get a better idea of how much does alcohol cost you.

Read about the personal journey of Adrienne Fuller, former head of publishing at Finder US, below. See how she and her husband saved money by not drinking alcohol for a year and how much they were able to save for another year of staying alcohol-free.

I chose to give up alcohol for many reasons – and it saved me money!

All I’d hoped for came true: I had more energy and more mental clarity. I started losing weight and waking up earlier. I felt more optimistic and ambitious about my goals. I also knew it was going to save me money. I just didn’t realize quite how much.

After two full months of sobriety, I noticed a huge difference in the “rest we spend on ourselves” part of my budget. My curiosity effectively piqued, I decided to run a few numbers.

I tracked my spending to take note of trends. I found that I’d spent $1,757 on alcohol in the past year. But it also wasn’t a full picture of how much we were spending on suds and spirits.

Year 1

Money spent on alcohol at restaurants: $4,105 * 42% = $1,724

Money spent on alcohol at the grocery store: $6,839 * 30% = $2,051

Bars and liquor stores: $1,705

Total: $5,480

Year 2

Money spent on alcohol at restaurants: $3,964 * 42% = $1,665

Money spent on alcohol at the grocery store: $8,885 * 30% = $2,666

Bars and liquor stores: $1,757

Total: $6,088

Two-year Total: $11,568

Wow! I spent almost 12 grand on alcohol in two years! That isn’t even counting cash I spent on beers at sports games or stuffed into my friends’ hands to grab me a drink from the bar at a show.

glass of whisky sitting on stack of dollar bills

Benefits of ditching booze – for good – & why it’s good for you!

Have you ever thought about how much more you can save by not drinking? Let’s count the ways:

1. You don’t have to pay for a cab

When you’re too drunk to drive yourself home and too hung over to get to the office the following morning, you’ll have to take a much more expensive ride than your usual route.

2. You don’t miss out on opportunities to earn more

Getting drunk drains your body, energy, and brain. That could push you to resort to taking an untimely leave from work. Or, it could cause you to miss your appointments and deadlines. All of which contribute to loss of productivity – and money in your payroll.

3. Avoid piling medical bills

Perhaps one of the top benefits of quitting drinking is promoting your own health and well-being. Alcohol also has been associated with a long list of chronic diseases, including cancers, and medical emergencies.

Based on an NIH study, there were 5 million alcohol-related emergency room visits in 2014 compared to 3 million in 2006. That translates to an annual cost of $15.3 billion from just $4.1 billion for these reporting periods.

By being sober and staying alcohol-free, you’ll be saving yourself from expensive medical emergencies, rehab, maintenance drugs, and other medical care and support you might need down the line.

Keeping your head straight also decreases the probability of your involvement in costly legal battles. These can result from accidents, injuries, deaths, traffic violations, and other violent situations resulting from ill behavior due to drunkenness.

According to the CDC, legal costs associated with excessive alcohol use add up to $25 billion!

5. Prevent or overcome alcohol addiction

Excessive alcohol intake and binge drinking could potentially result in alcohol use disorders and addiction that require medical treatment and rehab. Find more resources to help you start your no alcohol for a year journey and beyond.

Rehab can cost tens of thousands of dollars and drain not just your bank account but also those who care most about you financially, mentally, and emotionally. There’s no price tag that can be attached to the pain and suffering that alcohol addiction can cost your loved ones, but damaging your relationships will definitely cost you in the long run.

Getting help

Are you drinking too much? Find out for certain by using this alcohol screening tool.

If you think you or someone you love may require professional help to stop drinking alcohol, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) helpline. All calls are treated with utmost care and the highest standards of privacy and confidentiality.

Your future without booze

Do the math! The sobriety calculator doesn’t lie. There’s money saved for every bottle you don’t buy. On top of that, you get to save thousands of dollars by avoiding medical, legal, and other expenses associated with drinking alcohol. That could be money you can save up for retirement, buy your next home, or afford you a once in a lifetime visit to your dream destination!

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