I recently celebrated my third Christmas and New Year’s Eve without alcohol and it got me thinking about the money I’ve saved since giving up drinking alcohol.

I didn’t give up drinking because of money but it certainly hasn’t hurt my bank balance after I discovered that I’ve saved over £12,000 since giving up the alcohol.

I became a non-drinker in the summer of 2014 after a working out that alcohol was doing nothing for my mental health. After suffering a series of extraordinary panic attackers, leading me to some of the darkest moments of my life, I wondered if drinking had anything to do with it. It turns out that it did.

Over two years later, my anxiety is manageable and rarely keeps me up at night. It’s the biggest gift I’ve ever given to myself.

So apart from the biggest gift, what else has no alcohol given me?

Well, I’ve not spent over £12,000 on alcohol. So how did I come to this staggering number?

Here’s how: I eat out probably twice a week, and have a glass or two of wine – let’s say £6 per glass (they were always large) that’s £12 per meal twice a week – that’s £24, also ready I’m £1,248 better off.

Then there was the at home drinking, yep, I think I could easily sink 5 bottles of wine a week. So let’s get those priced up at £6 per bottle that’s £30 per week – that’s £1,560 per year and I’m already at £2,888 per year. That’s not considering birthdays, Christmases, New years and holidays where much more would be consumed.

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So where the rest of the money?

How much do you spend on a night out? If I went out one night a week (who goes out just once!) there’s no doubt that I’d spend at least £70 on drinks in an evening (London prices). So let’s add that up… that’s a whopping £3640 per year… and don’t forget the cabs homes, at least £360 per year and the dirty kebab, which I’d probably have 20 times a year – £130. This element of my evening just no longer exists. I drive instead of public transport and cabs and because I’m not drunk I don’t crave the dirty kebab.

Now not spending at least £6448 per year on alcohol. So what am I drinking instead, well some soft drinks when I’m out, which cost a third of the price and I don’t drink nearly many of those as I did glasses of wine, you actually can’t.

So what am I drinking instead? Well some soft drinks when I’m out, which cost a third of the price and I don’t drink nearly many of those as I did glasses of wine, you actually can’t.

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At home, I drink water – with a squeeze of lemon. The cost of which is pennies per week.

Then: Glasses of wine with meal £6 x 4 = £24 x 52 weeks = £1248
Now: £1.50 x 4 x 52 = £312
Then: Bottles of wine a week £6 x 5 = £30 x 52 weeks = £1560
Now: Basically free, unless I have soft drinks which never exceeds £10 per week. Let’s say £520 per year.
Then: Drinks on a night out £70 x 52 = £3640
Now: £20 x 52 =£1040
Then: Cabs from a night out: £30 x 12 (at least) = £360
Now: Nothing
Then: Dirty Kebabs: £5 x 26 = £130
Now: Nothing
Total: £6938 per year take away the differences: £5,066
Over 28 months that’s £11,820.

How did I give up? Well, I owe it to this book: Allen Carr’s No More Hangovers, which took me a morning to read. The best £4.99 I’ve ever spent.

About the author: Jake Hook
The editor and chief of THEGAYUK. All in a previous life wrote and produced songs on multi-platinum records.

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