I don’t know if you guys have ever heard about this, but there are certain small costs that, over time, tend to add up. I know, this is the first I’m hearing about it too. For instance, if you buy a latte at the local Tim Horton’s of Starbucks, you’re shelling out like 3 bucks a trip. If you do that just 3 days a week, that’s close to $10 a week, which is over $500 per year. Boom, I just figured out why you’re struggling financially. Cut out the lattes, silly.
In case you couldn’t tell, most of that first paragraph was sarcastic. By now, most of us have figured out that recurring small expenses have a way of adding up over time. And yet, every time I go into Starbucks, the place is still relatively busy. Either people just don’t care, or they’ve found other areas to cut out of their budget so they can afford a nice coffee sometimes.
As much as I’ve read about the latte factor, I’ve read next to nothing about cutting out another drink that’s overpriced, habit forming and can affect your behavior as well. Yes guys, I’m talking about that favorite elixir that makes all ladies attractive to us, alcohol.
There are all sorts of reasons why cutting out alcohol is much more effective than coffee. Generally, you don’t tend to consume more than one expensive coffee a day, yet most of us can attest to sitting down at a bar and not getting back up until half a dozen drinks have been polished off.
Each of those drinks isn’t cheap either. I live in a sleepy small town, so we don’t really have any swanky bars in my neck of the woods. Even the reasonably priced drinks locally will set you back a minimum of $6, once you tip the pretty girl who poured it for you. Considering that the ingredients of the drink cost the place about 50 cents, that’s an awful big premium to pay for a little extra self confidence. I guarantee the latte folks aren’t making that much off a coffee, yet they always get the bad rap.
Used in small doses, alcohol can make an awkward guy slightly more charming or can help someone relax after a long day. If you overindulge though, the awkward guy becomes a blubbering moron and the guy who’s trying to relax starts to get excited about the most pointless things, meaning they’ve committed the same faux pas they set out to avoid.
What goes great with alcohol? Deep fried bar food, that’s what! Soon, the chicken wings, nachos and jalapeno poppers are at the table, which simultaneously expand your waistline and shrink your wallet. There goes another $20 down the drain. Oh well, at least you didn’t spend it on lattes.
As a teetotaler myself, I can attest to the pressure you’ll get from your friends to join them in their boozing ways. In a lot of ways, peer pressure becomes even worse when you’re an adult. What do you mean you’re not drinking with us? What are you, some sort of wuss? I’ve heard variations of those lines more times than I care to count. Your peers will be amazed and look at you like there’s an extra foot growing out of your forehead. How can anyone possibly have fun without drinking?
Just once, I want you to go out with your friends and substitute Diet Coke for your favorite alcoholic beverage. As long as there’s a few of you at the table, the wait staff will be happy to keep refilling your soda for free, since they’re getting ample tips from the others at the table. Plus, you’ll often get your drink for free, since they’ll just assume you’re the designated driver. It’s up to you whether you’ll actually drive around your drunk friends. I’d recommend against it, since drunk people are generally kind of annoying when you’re sober.
If you do insist on drinking, might I recommend a slight improvement on your methods? The kids call it pregaming, and while I can’t say I approve of drinking to excess, this is a way to at least get the cost down. Pregaming, for those of you who aren’t cool like me, means you start drinking at home, getting a little drunk by the time you make it to the bar. It’s a way of stretching your drinking dollar.
From a personal finance standpoint, drinking alcohol has the potential to be far costlier than drinking coffee. And yet, I never see any posts telling people to quit drinking. I’m hoping this post changes your mind, since you’ll probably annoy me if we ever meet up and you’ve been drinking. I do want us to be friends.
This post was written by Nelson Smith, who has his very own blog over at Financial Uproar. Nelson has successfully cooked rice on several occasions. He also once asked a girl to go out with him. That wasn’t so successful. He wrote this in the third person so you’d think he was important enough for someone to write about him.