financial literacy

Turn Beer Money Into Money in the Bank

people toasting cocktails
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Planning to have a few drinks after work tonight? Cheers to you, and to your savings account.

This is the Day 12 challenge in the #MONEY30, a month-long bootcamp for personal finance novices. You can read more about the challenge here, and follow along with us on Twitter, Instagram, or email us at feedback@moneymail.com.

TIME BUDGET: 5 MINUTES


Alcohol can be a major money suck. The average consumer spent around $500 on booze in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. And that amount is no doubt low if you regularly go out for cocktails. Pay for five drinks a week at the bar, and you’re looking at an annual total of around $2,000, assuming your tipples cost about $8 each.

No doubt giving up booze—or drinking less of it at restaurants, where that bottle of wine costs you three to four times more than it would if you bought it at the local liquor store—could save you a ton. But we’re not asking you to skip Friday happy hours or give up your nightly glass of Chardonnay entirely.

Instead, put the same amount of money that you spend on drinks tonight into your savings account. That’s not going to make you rich, of course, but creating your own personal matching grant—where once a month you match the amount you spend on an indulgence with a contribution to your savings account—will serve two purposes: It will force you to think about how much you’re spending (and on what), at the same time that it will help you grow your bottom line.

Not a drinker? You’re not exempt: The same tactic can apply to lunch at a restaurant, a new outfit, or going to the movies.

—Kaitlin Mulhere

Have a question, comment, or suggestion? Email us at feedback@moneymail.com.

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