Alcohol Budget

Does anyone feel comfortable sharing with me what you spend on alcohol monthly? My husband and I are trying to figure out what is a reasonable amount. I realize this will vary for everyone based on income, etc. I wish there was a suggested amount somewhere so I could know what amount I should be in.

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  • Hi there, I am okay with sharing. We have a specific category set for this. We use it for alcohol we buy for the house and when we go out for drinks specifically with others. Examples are drinks after work or after sports or meeting someone just for drinks (maybe appies). If it is for a dinner, then we use a dining out category. Our current goal is $75/month. The average spend is $127 for the current year.  We have ranged from $99/month to $137/month on an annual basis. These are Canadian dollars so you can do any conversions that may be helpful. 

    Like 2
  • That's entirely up to how much you drink, and how often.  Can you look at history to see?  If not, just put something that sounds reasonable, and see.  If you spend more, you can pull from some other category to cover it.  If you spend less, then you can use what's left to cover something else.  Once you've got a month or 2 history, start using the quick budget "average budgeted" and you'll be pretty close.

    I can tell you that my personal household alcohol budget is $0.00, but I'm assuming based on your question that yours will be higher than that.

    Like 3
    • nolesrule
    • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
    • nolesrule
    • 1 yr ago
    • 2
    • Reported - view

    Depends entirely on your priorities. Do you go out or make drinks at home. Are you a connoisseur or drink bottom shelf booze and crap wine?

    Like 2
  • This is going to vary widely between individuals and lifestyles, so I don't know that looking at other people's numbers will give you a great guideline. I think it's best to think about how important drinking is to you compared to the other categories you want to budget for, and adjust accordingly.  You can choose to drink more or less, or change your type of drink or location. A few years ago I was spending about $300-500 per month on alcohol. The last few years it's been closer to $50-80/month due to natural lifestyle changes. I am happy with both sets of numbers and think they're all totally valid.

    Your best bet, as mentioned by others, is to gather data about your own spending on alcohol over the course of one or two months and then reevaluate from there.

    Like 2
  • Sure, I don't have a category but I'd guess $10 a month on average. Not much of a drinker. Mostly social.

    Like 1
  • Normally its folded into my "social spends" about £60 (approx $75 USD) per month as I try not to drink at home

     

    Lately I've saved up for a very special debt free celebration whiskey though that cost me £73 (approx $91 USD) when I bought it today  and I'm hoping I can afford to make that an annual Christmas expense 

    Like 2
  • I'm a single.  I allocate $10/week, so $40-$50/month depending on number of shopping Saturdays in the month.

    It's not all liquor, though.  I have a Gracious Living category and use it for wine, liquor, indulgent foods and treats, and sometimes fresh flowers when the category gets really flush, basically all those items I didn't allow myself to habitually buy while I was smacking down debt, but which I can now afford in my phase of gracious living.  I like to contain it in its own category in order to pace myself on indulgences.

    Like 8
  • I only this month decided to track alcohol separately, so I only have the data for July so far, so half the month.  And it's kinda depressing.  About $50.  On alcohol!  That counts alcoholic drinks out at dinner, now that restaurants are open again. 

    I don't budget a certain amount, I move money there from other categories so I can track how much was spent on it.  

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    • WordTenor
    • Can we agree that goals are dumb and immature? Sure.
    • WordTenor
    • 1 yr ago
    • 11
    • Reported - view

    Before or after the pandemic? 😆

    Like 11
  • I thought this an interesting question. For US resources I have looked at the USDA's website for what the government says a family of X spends on food per week/month, but I've never looked for alcohol. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a chart that shows mean yearly expenditures by geographical location. Alcohol is listed and it seems that the yearly average (of total expenses) is 0.7 - 1.5%

     

    https://www.bls.gov/regions/midwest/data/consumerexpenditures_selectedareas_table.htm

    ETA:  This is pre-pandemic! 2017-2018

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  • My husband and I have budgeted/set a goal in our template for $100 USD a month for alcohol. We're one full month into YNAB (started mid-June). We didn't spend from it in June since I was gifted nice wine for my birthday so it rolled over to July and we still haven't spent from it. 

    I think we picked this number based on pandemic/stay-at-home order which we might have been hovering around that.  Seeing it listed I feel that money can be put to use somewhere else however, it's the summer and I love a nice glass of rose after work on Friday!  😅 

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  • July is my first month.  I budgeted $50 to my "Fancy Coffee & Cheap Booze" category, though I haven't actually spent any of it because I've been drinking what I've had on hand in both categories.  That might change this weekend, though.

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Cornflower Blue Hail And how much did you budget to your "Cheap Coffee & Fancy Booze" category? Don't hold back on us!

      Like 1
  • Mine is lumped into my grocery bill, but in a typical month, I buy:

    • 1 box of decent red wine ($12-$20 depending on whether I go to Trader Joe's or the wine shop)
    • 2 6-packs of craft beer ($10 - $12 each)
    • maybe a little something extra

    So about $40-$50 on a typical month, for about 24 servings of alcohol. My boyfriend buys a similar amount, so if I'm tallying up what we spend as a couple, it's around $80-$100/month for alcohol at home.

    Maybe I should give up drinking for 2021 and invest the money. 🙂

    Like 2
  • I'll be honest. I spend 0 euros on alcohol monthly.

    I tell you why? In my honest opinion you do not need alcohol or tobacco to live.

    I spend zero on them monthly, why? Because money is better used elsewhere. I drink green tea, water, cheap bottle of soft drink twice a week so it won't hurt my bank. If you  need alcohol, do drink some.

    But please ask yourself a question. Alcohol or more money in your bank?

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      • WordTenor
      • Can we agree that goals are dumb and immature? Sure.
      • WordTenor
      • 5 mths ago
      • 9
      • Reported - view

      Most of the things in my  budget are things I don’t need in order to live. Probably true of your budget also. Alcohol isn’t special. 

      Like 9
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 5 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor I guess i won't post about the annual trip across the state line to replenish the cabinet.

      Like 6
  • Not coming in to shame or whatever, and this isn't for you specifically OP because I don't know your situation, but just in case this is helpful to someone reading I want to share!

    I'm a recovered alcoholic, and I always failed at budgeting (even with YNAB) because ultimately, all bets were off when 5 o'clock hit and I wanted a beer. And another... and another.

    A reasonable amount to budget on alcohol, if it has any pull on you, is the amount you know you will drink. Not what you hope you will drink, or the minimum amount you would drink, but what you will drink. Don't budget for one glass of wine a night if you have a habit of  finishing the bottle once you start. And if you can't successfully create a budget that allows for the amount you "have to" drink, there's a problem.


    I used to budget somewhere around $200CAD for alcohol per month, with the ever-elusive dream of moderation in mind - but would usually end up spending $600CAD. If you're like I was, giving up necessities or paying your bills late so you can afford alcohol, that's not normal. 

    The question isn't how much alcohol is too much, because there are so many variables. Spending $200 a month on one very nice bottle of wine to share, it's indulgent but if you can fit it in the budget, it isn't a problem. Spending $200 once a month on cheap beer for a week-long bender that leads to fighting with your spouse and waking up on the bathroom floor IS a problem. 

    If you take an honest look at that amount you're spending on alcohol and feel panicked because you know you can't keep it up, but you can't truly imagine changing your habits - it's probably time to seek out a moderation or sober community. Doesn't have to be AA, and alcohol doesn't have to be ruining your life to give it up. 

    Life has gotten better for me in literally every way since I got sober, but my finances is a big one. I've actually been able to keep up with my budget and pay off my debts, and my credit score has gone from the low end of "fair" to the high end of "good" in less than a year.

    It's not just the hard costs of alcohol, either - it's the impulse online shopping when you're feeling uninhibited after a glass of wine, calling in sick (hungover) for shifts when you need the hours, or giving up on your entire budget because it's so out of whack due to your overspending. 

    So if anyone out there is struggling with addiction, there are tons of online and in-person communities & approaches for recovery. If you start now, next-years-you will look back with so much compassion and gratitude for the person who made the gargantuan effort it takes to seek help and start the journey to sobriety. 

    Like 9
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Magenta Orca Wow what an awesome post!  You must have been in lurkdom for way too long.  Congratulations on your recovery journey.  It is good insight for many vices we may have, whether it be shopping, gambling, food, cigarettes, all sorts of things that may end up in our budgets.

      I have a category for coffee, personally... and it keeps inching up which I admit is making me a little nervous!  Or maybe it's all the coffee??

      Like 2
      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Magenta Orca I also packed in the booze, at the start of last summer. It cost me a lot more than money, and I’m glad to see the back of it. On the original question, though... there is no right, or normal amount for any line in the budget. If we discussed what we spend on Christmas the numbers would vary wildly. Only your own number can guide you. Track it, look at it, decide if it bothers you or feels about right, and there is the answer 🙂

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    • KBR1957
    • Nurse Practitioner
    • Magenta_Lobster
    • 2 mths ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

    We average about 50 a week.  My hubby likes moderately priced scotch.  I am a fan of Costco chardonnay which helps keep our costs low. 

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