Have you ever gone to the mailbox and seen a package you don’t remember ordering? This isn’t a phenomenon exclusive to being a little tipsy, but it can be exacerbated by it. When that wave of stress relief hits, it becomes so much easier to buy that $75 hoodie or $150 pair of shoes. Combine this with the fact that, depending on just how sloshed you get, you may not even remember the purchase, and you have a guilt-free way of ruining your budget.
This includes outings as well. It is quite common to eat more when you have a nice buzz than you might if you were sober. You start feeling good, having a great convo, and the next thing you know you’re on your 2nd appetizer and your 3rd drink. Everything is nice and smooth until the check comes and you realize you’ve spent twice as much as you originally intended.
How Alcohol Impacts Spending on a Budget
It is a budgeting best practice to leave space for your wants after you cover your needs. Nothing will make you feel more pressure than staring at walls all day without an outlet for fun. In the pursuit of fun, it’s SUPER easy to overshoot your liquor needs (trust me, I know). It starts with getting a bottle for Friday. Then a friend comes over and you need to get another. Don’t forget your team is playing Sunday/your sister is coming into town/you finished that chapter you were writing for your book. At about $30/$40 a pop, one exciting weekend can throw your whole budget out of wack.
Again, being out doesn’t make things much better. Celebrating your friend’s birthday can easily see you buying 3 extra rounds for the squad and spending 3 times as much as you have budgeted. Even if you don’t necessarily break your budget, you may have less for yourself for the month and find yourself stuck in the house for the duration.
We try to be solution-oriented here at Nav.it so let me give you a few tips that have worked for me.
Remember, all things in moderation. Be mindful of how much you’re drinking, especially while out, and skip that last drink. The less you drink the less you spend and the less time you’ll spend at the restaurant.
Make online purchases more difficult for yourself. One-touch purchases are the devil (Mama Boucher voice). If it takes you 2 minutes to make a purchase sober, it’ll likely be enough to deter you from making a purchase while drunk.
Set alerts for yourself. Seriously. Your past self may be the only one that can get through to future you. Set “NO SHOPPING” alerts at the top of the hour for the next couple of hours after you start drinking. A “STOP DRINKING” alert may be just as helpful
You may be in recovery mode from the holidays now but the drinking will likely kick back in sooner rather than later. Now that you know how alcohol impacts spending, you can prepare and make better money moves the next time you have a few drinks. Take these tips with you so you can have good times with good people and not have regrets the next day. Well. . .at least not financial regrets.
Writer, rhymer, gamer: the easiest way to define the man known as Kenneth Medford. I’m a simple man who loves to learn and loves to help and I wander the digital world trying to find ways to sate my hunger for both. Basically, I’m Galactus but helpful.
Check out my other work here or reach out to me on LinkedIn.