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Cost of Alcohol: The Price of a Lush Life

wine shop 300x189 Cost of Alcohol: The Price of a Lush LifeI’m not a big drinker (for the most part I prefer to eat my caloriesicon wink Cost of Alcohol: The Price of a Lush Life). But I do have an appreciation for liqueur and wine.

Walking into a BevMo (Costco of alcohol), however, I am struck by how expensive alcohol is. My weakness is Godiva chocolate liqueur, but that drink goes for $30+ a bottle. Never mind at restaurants and bars – I’ve read that restaurants make most of their markups on alcoholic beverages, and I can certainly believe that from a quick glance at the menu.

A quick tally shows that I spend maybe $10-$15 on alcohol a month – that usually includes a bottle of Moscato or Prosecco, and maybe a sample bottle of Bailey’s or Chambord from BevMo. If a friend is having a party, that sum will go up because I’ll usually bring a pack of beer from Trader Joe’s (~$8) or a bottle of wine (~$10-$15 per bottle).

The reason that sum’s so low is because I almost never order alcohol at restaurants (even though sometimes I really want to – the drink concoctions look so beautiful in pictures!). On the occasions when I go to bars, I’ll order a Sprite or Coke unless I have a designated driver. Living in an area where cars rule the road and being a petite person, I have to be very careful about (not) drinking and driving. A bigger person might be able to have a couple of beers, sit for a few hours, then drive home.

How much does alcohol cost you a month?

  • J. Money - I used to blow through $400+ a month on drinking – but really because I'd go out 3 nights a week to bars & clubs and all that. And that's even WITH drinking before heading out! Some of my friends could blow that easily in 2 weekends, if not one ;)

    Now though? Probably $50-$100. A couple of cases of beer and a few bottles of wine for relaxing time @ home. But you get me out on the town and I'm in trouble again! My long island iced teas can run $15+ here in DC! ReplyCancel

  • FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com - $0.

    Unless BF buys a bottle to use it in a dish, we just don’t drink alcohol regularly.

    Don’t get me wrong, BF LOVES that stuff, but when he drinks.. he REALLY drinks. He can’t stop, it seems.

    For me, I just hate the taste of alcohol & I don’t get a good after effect from it. I feel nauseous, sleepy and sick.ReplyCancel

  • Alicia - A lot! I live in the city… take public transport everywhere. And I am a single gal. So every time I go somewhere with friends there is alcohol involved. Either drinks in the bar, drinks with lunch, with dinner, bringing some wine to someone’s house (I can’t help… raised old fashioned and can’t go over to dinner at someone’s house without bringing a hostess gift- usually wine). I have been cutting costs by setting a limit, suggesting restaurants that do BYOB and trying to meet friends at their home or mine… much cheaper. My budget states $100 for alcohol, $100 for dining out per month. And I have no problem usually sticking to that. Except when there are a lot of birthdays, etc.
    Any thoughts on how else to spend less on booze in the big city?ReplyCancel

  • Investing Newbie - I don’t drink often, but when I go out, I do love a partay. I go out maybe 2 times a month. That said, I also like happy hours, so I might spend maybe $5 on cocktails (so about 4 drinks +$1 tip per drink…$24, not bad).

    Interestingly, I think CNBC had an article on the “true” price of our vices and how much one could save if they kicked alcohol, cigarettes and coffee. They mentioned that having 1 drink a day for women (2 for men) is actually helpful for preventing clogged arteries. That’s all I needed to read…I’m never giving it up!ReplyCancel

  • Katie C. - $0 – surprising, considering I’m at a university that is ranked higher for its partying than its academics.

    I’ve never really liked the way alcohol affects me though. I usually feel sleepy or nauseated or dizzy. And I usually get super giggly – an achievement since I’m naturally a giggly person. (Read: I’m annoying when drinking.) One drink isn’t bad, but I’m not paying $6 for a fruity concoction at Olive Garden. It almost doubles my bill! So I’m too cheap for alcohol, and David doesn’t drink at all. And writing this post is making me feel like a fuddy duddy.ReplyCancel

  • psychsarah - Probably $20 a month for DH and I. We rarely drink while we’re out, and rarely at home either, unless we have company. I also like to take a bottle of wine when we go to someone’s home for dinner/party so that’s usually most of our budget. For instance, last year, DH bought a case of Mike’s Hard Pomegranate Lemonade for a bachelor party (these were not beer drinking guys) and we still have half a case a year later.ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen - Over the course of a year, I probably spend less than $100 total on alcohol with some exceptions. B/f and I went to a winery for our 5-year anniversary two months ago and we bought about $90 worth of wine, but that kind of splurge is unusual and some of it we gifted. I can go for months without having any alcohol. I’m not keen on the taste of most alcohol and I don’t like how warm and sleepy I feel after having a drink.ReplyCancel

  • Serendipity - Probably around $50-$75. I tend to go out out ( to the Las Vegas strip) about once a month and usually spend about 30 there cause I pace myself and take advantage of ladies drink free offers. I also go to Fat Tuesdays with Rambo about once a month (21.00 including tip) and an occasionally drink here or there.ReplyCancel

  • L.A. Daze - I’d say if you average it out over a year, it comes to about $20/month. Some months I don’t spend money on alcohol at all, and some months I buy wine and go out for drinks.

    I guess i’m just not a big drinker!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie...On The Cheap - My BF and I definitely like to have a few drinks after work on Fridays and Saturdays, but that’s about it. If I try to drink one glass of wine on a week night, I feel hungover at work the next day, so I usually just exclude it all together. I probably spend about $25-$50 per month on alcohol.ReplyCancel

  • emma - I don’t drink. My BF does drink beer in the summer, or take wine to his mom’s for dinner every so often, but that comes out of his pocket, not mine.

    Over the course of a year, I spend less than $20 on alcohol – creme de menthe and creme de cacao. The mint one is yummy on ice cream, and together they make a delicious grasshopper pie. However, that pie is only made on special occasions, so I’m likely to buy one of each bottle every few years.ReplyCancel

  • Carrie - i’m probably about $15 a month too and that’s usually about 2 drinks a month at a bar or restaurant. i work for a company that prints wine labels and i sometimes get a bottle or two a month to take home from my clients so i usually have wine on hand if i want something at home or to take to a party.ReplyCancel

  • How Much Is That Wine In The Restaurant? | Well-Heeled Blog - [...] you bought at a grocery store would cost you $50 at that bistro down the street. WOW! I was always under the impression that wines were marked up, but I had no idea how [...]ReplyCancel

  • The I Love Cocktails Budget | Well Heeled Blog - [...] spent ~$60 on cocktails in the past month alone. This is a huge jump from a few years ago, when I only spent ~$15 a month on alcohol. Granted, this is the summer, I’m in a new city, I am enjoying being very social with [...]ReplyCancel

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