Most social drinkers probably never give much thought about how much money they spend on alcohol. But the fact is, they would likely be shocked to learn that by just going out on the weekends and having a couple of drinks each time, they can easily drop almost $3000 a year!
In Southern California, for example, the average price of a cocktail at a nightclub is $14. Two drinks per night—considered “moderate” drinking for a man—equals $28 per night, or $56 per week.
$56 X 52 weeks = $2920
But heavy drinkers/alcohol abusers far, far, FAR exceed that total.
According to recent research, the “top 10%” of drinkers consume an average of 74 drinks per week – more than 10 per day. Right now, there are approximately 24 million Americans drinking at this level.
Excessive Drinking = Excessive Expense
If that much booze seems a little hard to swallow, consider the dollar amount:
Equivalent to: Three Cases of Beer
The most popular beer in California is Blue Moon, which sells for around $30 a case.
$30 X 3 = $90 per week, or $4680 per year.
Equivalent to: 4.5 750 mL Bottles of Hard Liquor
The most popular spirit in California is Jack Daniels whiskey, selling for approximately $20 per bottle.
$20 X 4.5 = $90 per week, or $4680 per year.
Equivalent To: 18 Bottles of Wine
FACT: California ranks #8 for wine consumption per person.
A “decent” bottle of wine will cost around $15. Obviously, some wines are much more expensive.
$15 X 18 = $270 per week, or $14,040 per year.
Of special relevance, these are just the estimated prices for drinking at home. At bars, restaurants, or clubs, the price can easily triple or quadruple.
Drinking’s Partner: Smoking
But one often-forgotten expense associated with heavy drinking is smoking. Did you know that 85% of alcohol-dependent people are ALSO addicted to nicotine?
How much does it cost to maintain a smoking habit in California?
At roughly $8 per pack, it adds up quickly:
- 1 pack/day: $2920
- 2 packs/day: $5840
- 3 packs/day: $8760
Don’t Forget the Collateral Financial Damage
But alcohol abuse also drives up insurance premiums – health, life, home, and even auto – up to 20% higher.
Additionally, there are hundreds of diseases and health conditions associated an alcohol addiction. Obviously, this will increase your lifetime healthcare costs:
- Disease – cancer, cardiovascular disease, cirrhosis, etc.
- Chronic conditions – stroke, brain damage, Alcohol Use Disorder, etc.
- Accidents – car crashes, falls, fires, etc.
- Dental care – poor oral hygiene, gum disease, mouth cancer, etc.
Finally, can create financial hardship in other ways:
- Problems at school – poor grades/academic performance, expulsion, etc.
- Work difficulties – absenteeism, impaired performance, formal reprimands, lack of promotion, suspensions, termination, and long-term unemployment
- Legal complications – DUI charges, property damage, court costs and fines, attorney’s fees, etc.
What’s the Bottom Line?
It should be clear by now that excessive drinking costs far more than you may have ever considered. Over time, the amount of money you can throw away is astonishing. So, if you think that you might be dependent on or addicted to alcohol, stop asking yourself “How can I afford to go to treatment?” and start asking “How can I afford to NOT go?”
If you are worried about the effect your drinking is having on your health, your relationships, or your finances, but are still having trouble quitting, contact Chapman House alcohol treatment center today. Since 1978, Chapman House has provided premier evidenced-based recovery services for struggling alcoholics and their families.
By Albert Fontenot