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The Cost of Your Drinking

Alcohol is a regular ingredient in most people’s social lives. Whether you meet a friend or a date for drinks after work, pass a bottle of wine around the table at a dinner party or stock a cooler with beer for your barbecue, consuming alcohol seems like an innocent, habitual pleasure. However, when you add up the cost of drinking to your health and your wallet, it doesn’t seem like much fun anymore. Many financial advisors urge people to give up their daily lattes because the seemingly small cost can add up to more than $1,000 a year. Just think what else you could do with that money, the experts say. Why is coffee always the target, when a daily alcoholic drink, especially if you buy it at a bar, can easily set you back more than twice the yearly expense of a latte habit? In this infographic we take a look at the cost of drinking at home and at the bar, as well as the economic costs to health, productivity and other areas of concern. The results will surprise you, especially if you don’t consider yourself a heavy drinker.

The Cost of Drinking Liquor: At Home and at the Bar

Popular varieties of liquor such as rum, whiskey and scotch are usually the most expensive kind of alcohol per bottle. So it’s not surprising that the cost of drinking liquor is higher than wine or beer. Drinking at home is significantly cheaper than going out, but still, four drinks of liquor a week will cost you $626 a year at home and it quickly adds up. Eight drinks a week at home amounts to $2,105 a year, and 15 drinks a week becomes $3,947 over a 12-month period. Just think – you could buy a fairly decent used car for the cost of your 15-drink habit. The cost of drinking liquor at a bar will make you think twice the next time someone invites you to go get a drink. At the high range, 15 drinks a week costs a little more than $1,000 a month. That’s much more than most people’s car payment, student loan payment or any other single bill. Even a seemingly casual habit of four drinks a week at a bar will drain your bank account of nearly $3,000 over a year’s time.

The Cost of Drinking Wine and Beer: At Home and at the Bar

Wine and beer are many people’s drink of choice, both at home and at the bar. The rise in microbreweries, brewpubs and wine bars has made drinking these two alcoholic beverages seem like an act of sophistication. Don’t let the glamorous facade fool you. There is a cost, just as there is with liquor. It’s not surprising that the cost of drinking wine at a bar starts at a minimum of $1,300 a year for a routine of four drinks a week. At the high end, you’ll shell out more than $6,000 a year for 15 drinks a week. Anytime something exudes glamour and sophistication, it comes with a high price tag, but even the cost of drinking wine at home is not exactly a bargain. Even self-described casual drinkers who only have a glass of wine with dinner will spend anywhere from $520 to $3,453 a year. That’s more than many people spend on holiday gifts. As with wine, the cost of drinking beer at a bar will set you back a minimum of $1,000 a year and could total $6,100. If you try to stay home to minimize the cost of drinking beer, you’re still looking at an expenditure ranging from a few hundred dollars to nearly $3,000 a year. Now, does that micro-brew still look cool?

How Much Does Your Drinking Cost?

The average number of drinks per week for most people is four. As we’ve seen, even this casual number isn’t cheap if you add it up over the course of a year. Beyond the financial costs, both casual and heavy drinking creates social costs for everyone. From lowered productivity at work to increased medical expenses, legal costs if you break the law and vehicle damage from drinking-related crashes, there is no such thing as a free drink. What has your drinking cost you? Is it worth it?

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