Perhaps you like your afternoons with a beer in one hand and the remote control in the other. You are used to a glass of wine with dinner, and then a glass of something else to help you sleep. On the weekends, when hanging out with your buddies, you go through a bucket of beers and then top it off with something stronger as the evening descends.
But despite all of this, maybe you still think you’re in the safe zone. Want another way to figure out if you are drinking too much? Ask your wallet.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Americans spend an average of $565 a year on alcohol. If that does not seem like much, consider that this amounts to $22,600 over forty years. But there are hidden expenses of all this drinking that you may not be factoring in.
Here are the financial costs of drinking too much that you should know about.
Unwise decisions, costly mistakes
One’s motor skills are impaired when a person drinks. Thus, we are more likely to cause damage or injury to ourselves when drinking.
When a person drinks, they make decisions that they would never make sober. Drinking while under the influence falls squarely in this category. And the consequences of a DUI go beyond possible injury to another or to yourself. According to Noll Law Office, a DUI lawyer in Springfield IL, “Apart from losing your driving privileges over a certain amount of time, you may also get a driver’s license suspension, pay fines, and go to jail upon conviction.” If you have a job, a DUI conviction can be a setback to your income source.
Drinking while under the influence is a problem that many believe only happens to other people. But stats tell another tale. The NHTSA reports that almost every day, 29 people will die in an accident involving a DUI. The average number of people arrested for DUIs comes to about 1,500,000. Death and damages due to DUIs have a contributed cost of $44 billion per year.
Loss of productivity
The cost of drinking too much on the US economy reached $249 billion, according to the CDC. What’s the connection between your drink and the economy? It comes in the form of lost workplace productivity. After an all-night bender, individuals often call in sick. Or when they do show up, are more prone to poor judgment. This can result in costly mistakes.
If your income is reliant on being your best self at your workplace, then showing up with a hangover can put your livelihood at risk. For those who are paid by the hour, not showing up for a day of work due to drinking too much the day before can mean a paycheck cut that they can ill afford.
Drinking excessively can cause problems to your health and can put you at risk of numerous conditions that are costly to treat.
Overdrinking can put you at risk for cancer of the mouth, liver, breast, throat, and esophagus. Your immune system is also weakened, and you are more likely to catch colds and other contagious illnesses. Which again comes with medical costs, as well as cutting away at wages that are halted while you recover. On average, compared to non-drinkers, the health care costs of a drinker will be higher in keeping with their lower health levels.
The estimated cost of health care expenses due to excess alcohol consumption? In one year alone, the US will spend $250 billion, which is largely borne by taxpayers.
Feeling sobered by how much you could be putting your savings account at risk each time you plop down with a drink? There are ways to clean up your act and shore up your defenses around your hard-earned cash.
Take the occasional day or week off from drinking. You don’t want to become so reliant on your drinking habit that you don’t feel happy without a drink in your hand. Go hiking. Take up a hobby. Do something that absorbs your mind. Make a budget for all alcohol purchases for each week. Put that money in an envelope so you can tell exactly how much you can spend. Don’t go beyond the amount you decide on.
Drink in instead of drinking out. Drinking out comes with a steep markup on your drinks, not to mention the service charge/tip for the waiter. This will keep more money in your pocket without cutting away at your fun.