debt debs

Personal Debt Wrangler – Had my money head in the sand – but no more!

"Alcohol and Ulcerative Colitis" by Kimery Davis Attribution License

Booze Budget



“Alcohol and Ulcerative Colitis” by Kimery Davis
Attribution License (from flickr)

When spending needs to be lowered to match income, usually cell and home phone plans are renegotiated, brown bagging of lunches begins,  eating out is well curtailed …. ya da ya da ya da.

We’ve all been there right?  OK, well some of us have been there.  Any frugal readers retiring early out there…. I’d love to know your take on this.

So Debt Debs and The Irishman have done their bit.  Well Debt Debs has done a lot and The Irishman has grudgingly been pulled along.

I have the numbers along with graphs, people!  I know you want it!


OK, I need to clear up something first though.  I was working on a brilliant post to educate everyone me on the Power of 72 (hands up if you’ve heard of that :ponder:).

I thought I’d change things up a bit from the focus on debt and look at a$$ets for a change.  Oh, big mistake.  Apparently, I have none.  Well that would actually be lying, because I do have some but not ones that fit well with the Power of 72… or is it the Rule of 72?

Ya, I had negative numbers, and upside down numbers and way up numbers to oh so low numbers.  So I decided to show you my a$$ets per the rule would be more embarrassing than showing you my a$$.  At least not until I go to Class of 72 training.

Ahem… since there is no money in my budget for “72” training, you will have to wait until I self teach myself and then you can all yell at kindly point out to me as to how I’m doing it wrong.

So for today, we are going to focus on Booze.  Pretty hard for a Monday, right?  Ya, well sometimes it’s the hangover we need to cure us of our ills.

Why do I want to focus on BOOZE you ask?  Well, I was a bit miffed on Friday when the Irishman spent almost $70 on it,  which is almost all our total monthly budget of $75 in one shot.  This, coupled with a perception that spending in this area has been going up recently, made me decide to launch an audit.

$75 / month may seem high or may seem low to some of you.  Generally we tend to consume more in the summer, so I like to underspend this budget in winter so that we’ve got lots available come cottage weather.  Well actually I’ve never done that, but a goal is a goal, right?   Like I’m not gonna spend it in summer ….

We started last year making our own wine at a wine making store.  That has helped costs a lot (and increase consumption somewhat but we won’t go there).   However, we have run out and recently have resorted to lovely bottles of Jackson Triggs Pinot Grigio, high quality wines like that (actually, they’re not bad).  I have resorted to nagging The Irishman to starting another batch of ferment-your-own.  I may have to step up the pressure.

So first I check the actuals versus budget this year from MINT:  Mint  Budgets - Alcohol

Hmmm… not bad at all, but this does not include the $70 above which has not hit my credit card yet and thus not in MINT.  However, there is not a lot of savings so far to carry us into the high usage summer period.  Generally I like to see this number quite negative at this time of the year.  Better do some comparison to previous spending.  Just so you can audit me auditing my figures, I present you now, THE NUMBERS (if you can read them):

2012 Booze Spending

2012 Booze Spending

2013 Booze Spending

2013 Booze Spending

2014 Booze Spending

2014 Booze Spending

Don’t worry about the colours.  They represent spending on different credit cards.  Ya, I’ve now standardized on one that gets me big points because I’m a smart cookie.

So a visual glance shows things don’t look too bad in 2014.  Definitely improving over the years.  Need to do a deep dive.  Let’s look at the pretty graphs:

Booze Trends

Jan_Mar Comparison
Oh my… look at March 2012.  LOL That was the month of D-Day (debt acknowledgement day).  Lots of tears folks… lots of tears… (and apparently lots of booze).

Look at those trend lines!  Are they not a work of art? How predictable are we ay?  Like a pair of synchronized swimmers, we move effortlessly through the water (booze) with every turn (gulp) in perfect harmony.

And the pie chart sure shows a lot of year-over-year progress… yay us!

Wait, I spotted something.  Look at the little orange trend line for Q1 2014 above.  See how it perkily points up to the right?  There’s definitely a wayward habit starting there.  Better nip it in the bud before it becomes a run-a-way train.

Note to self:  Talk (plead) with the Irishman and show him these graphs.  Wait don’t show him the year-over-year graphs ’cause he thinks that gives him license… you know how he thinks.  Use your psychology.  OK, just focus him in on the little orange Q1 trend line and remind him how we like to party-hardy at the kot-kot.   And remind him to get that wine on!!  Whew!

Now I know that you’re dying to compare your numbers with mine.  Sounds so dirty, doesn’t it?

Go dig ‘em out and give it to me.  Is your booze budget more or less than mine (2 people)?  I got my big a$$ panties on so don’t be shy.

BTW, I did not drink the 1.5 litre of Jackson Triggs this weekend.  It is hidden. ;-)

P.S.  Had a good laugh when I noticed something  See the red negative number in the 2012 chart in October?  That is when I made him take some booze back.  I kid you not.


Author: debster

I am a fifty-something wife, mother and new grandmother, who admits to having their “head in the sand” about their financial situation until amassing $247,500 worth of consumer debt for a total debt of $393,500. We've paid $121K in 2 years with four more years to go. Join my journey at sharing ideas and motivation to all those coping with poor money management and bad debt decisions.

53 thoughts on “Booze Budget

  1. Ok so I really enjoyed this post. Of course what stood out to me is that you make your own wine! (Please don’t judge me). I think that is great and I never once thought about making my own wine to save money.

    • LOL the depths we’ve shrunk to. It’s okay for a glass or two on a weekend. The only thing is that because it’s so much cheaper you find yourself drinking more. Although now that I’ve caught on to this I’m being my own liquor control board.

      Have a good week!

  2. I don’t currently have a booze budget. Interesting concept though.

    • OK, now I’m nervous. Doesn’t everyone have a booze budget? Hmmmm … maybe I need to call it my Entertainment Budget (hides head in shame). ^^’

      • I just don’t drink that often. I do use some money from my “personal” budget category, which i guess could be considered “entertainment” for eating out/drinks out with friends. As far as drinking at home, since I live solo, i don’t drink that often and had quite a stash of liquor built up before I started paying off debt in January, so for now I’m just using that when I want something to drink.

        • DON’T DRINK ALONE j/k

          Hey it’s Friday, time for a drink!
          But actually, I won’t because I’m going to see my grandson tonight. #Betterbuzz

          Have a good WE Shoeaholicnomore!

      • I have one! and I think It’s higher than yours :( …need to start making my own wine.

        • Right on Jessie! I won’t tell ;-) Better to call it what it is though!! If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this PF journey, you can’t put your head in the sand!

  3. I very rarely drink, and my fiancé doesn’t drink, so we don’t have a booze budget. Or,… It is a $0 line.

  4. At the end of the day, as long as it remains a booze budget and not turn into a alcoholic budget….I think your good……Just saying.

  5. I don’t drink alcohol (anymore) – because of the sugar thing – but I never was a big drinker to begin with. Which is odd, because my parents used to run a pub. I so kid you not.
    So I am aware about how much money people can spend on alcohol! I think it’s a great to budget that cost, too!

  6. We definitely have a booze budget (I am Irish and he is Scottish) but it has definitely gone down over the years as we have become more focused on financial fitness. But I love all of the graphs you have to prove your point, let us know what the Irishman thinks of the graphs.

    • LOL thanks, Shannon, it may send him to the pub! All kidding aside, we are doing much better in this regard just like you. I’m actually Irish and he is by marriage and is so proud of this, that’s why I call him THE IRISHMAN.

  7. Great concept. The financial hangovers are important – whenever I don’t look at the numbers, I start to get off course pretty quickly. Our booze budget is about $40 per month – 2 liters of rum for him and a box of Sangria for me. It’s worth drinking swill now so that we can own a vineyard later, right?

    • Thanks for dropping in and sharing Emily. Now I have a target to reach for … oh, except I think our booze is more expensive in Canada due to lots of taxes. So yeah, like your $40 = my $75 … totally … LOL… way to rationalize ay? :D

  8. Ok, I’ll bite. What’s the power of 72?

    • Well… it’s supposed to tell you how many months it will take for you to double your net worth at your current monthly rate of growth. It kinda scared me so I might be doing the calculation wrong.

      So before I put any bad information out here on the interverse, I figured I’d hone my skills a lot bit.

      Then I can properly impress you with things like “Oh, hey look what I can do” or “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” or “Yo, so you know all that debt stuff? Well turns out I got money? Hee haw I’m outta here”.

      Ya, so, that last part…. I wouldn’t do that to you. So do come back… please. :ear-to-ear-grin:

  9. We don’t have a booze budget, as we don’t drink, but I’m quite sure I spent enough money on it in my early years to spread out to be a decent amount each month for forever. :-)

  10. Nice charts ;) I don’t have an alcohol budget as I don’t really drink much at all, and if I do drink this will normally be at our work events which are always supplier sponsored so I don’t get to spend a penny. I did buy a bottle of champagne in January or February I think, but that’s about it.

  11. Free booze is better, IMHO. Supplier booze even better quality. Lucky you, Eva! :D

  12. I’ve never thought of making my own wine…. we’ll have to try that! Our booze budget is pretty low, we usually only have a bottle or two each month.

    • Well that, my friend, is an admirable goal. In the winter months, we are the same, unless there’s a special occasion dinner / birthday etc. The summer though, just beckons a cold beer on a hot day or sangria to celebrate the longer evenings. We do limit it to weekends and holidays, all year round though.

  13. I got a case of wine for Christmas, so I haven’t had to buy any booze since then, with the exception of five or six happy hour drinks.

    • Score! Well I’ve heard of liquify your assets, but that’s a first for liquify your presents! That’s a pretty good gift though – something you want and good value since buying in bulk appeals to the frugal in us.

  14. I love booze and graphs, so this post was HIGHLY interesting to me! :)

    I may need to try this sometime soon, especially now that we’re in patio drinks season. Great post!

  15. Funny!!! It’s hard to say because I don’t categorize alcohol in a separate category, but I probably spend a lot less. But that’s because I’m not very classy. :) I buy a bottle of two buck chuck and nurse that baby for like a week in the fridge…yes red wine too. And if I go out it’s usually no more than one glass…two if someone else is paying. lol. I do get how drinking goes up during times of stress though. I was having a crap day yesterday and I was drinking a glass of wine to get through a conversation I was having with my producer. :)

    • Thanks for coming by Tonya! Yes, we were weekday de-stress drinkers before we got on the budget bandwagon. Knowing that it is healthier for us keeps us motivated. Knowing that I have a half drunk bottle still in the fridge, like you, is also motivating. In the past, there were no partially drunk bottles in the fridge. Only full ones!

  16. I very rarely drink (maybe a total of 2 bottles of red wine per year, usually both consumed in one night haha) but my husband loves his spiced rum. My brother in law is Northern Irish and he and my husband are going to get into making beer which will be a fun hobby. Hubby’s cousin is a member of a local brewing club too which is neat. I’d love if he’d but out the saior jerry for homemade beer!

    • Making your own beer is also something that is fun and I believe also saves you money. The Irishman used to do it at home, and wants to start again. But I put my foot down because all I remember is living with this humongous carboy on the kitchen counter with the smell of fermentation wafting through the air. I wouldn’t mind it if he did it at a brewing place though.

      They crazy thing is that when we finished our basement we put a wine-making room down there and we’ve never made wine in it! We started renting the basement out to co-op students and now it is used as their kitchen.

      Good luck to your husband with his beer making, Catherine!

  17. No booze budget here, although if we did have one, it would not be too much. I rarely drink, and the GF doesn’t drink too much anymore either (damn…).

    Sometimes, when we are out to eat, maybe have one.

    • Seriously though, the more I think about it, our booze budget is almost as much as our cable, which I’m thinking of ditching. What should go first? Most likely both. Thank you for helping me to answer my own question.

      More importantly, thanks for coming by!!

  18. Well….March is St. Patrick’s Day, too, so in the Irishman’s defense…. Totally kidding. We don’t drink a lot anymore. Kids will either make you slow down or speed up with that habit. But I do find I have cheap tastes. I was in Mexico and ordered some champagne. I had the choice of Italian, French, or super cheap Mexican. You know what I found out? I love Mexican champagne. And it’s powerful.

    • Kids definitely make you slow down….then you speed up to get through the teenage years (ha ha) … then you slow down again when you have grandchildren. :-)

      Usually local things are cheaper in their own countries which makes a good excuse for frugalers (I think I just made that word up because spell check doesn’t like it) if they are with less frugal friends cause then you can say “When in Mexico …”

  19. Very entertaining post! We’ve got an alcohol category in our monthly budget, but we just reduced it. Sometimes we don’t even hit it and it rolls over, other times we go over (like during the holidays!)

    • Aw shucks….thank you Lauren! Thanks for visiting!!

      Yes, during the holidays is the time we go over, so I like to have lots of buffer in reserve. I just had the conversation with The Irishman and he was under the impression that we were well underspent. I told him we were $184 spent of a $225 budget for Q1 2014, but I would prefer to be like $150 underspent right now, so we have more room during the summer. He agreed and said he would get a batch of wine on which is about $90 for 30 bottles. Normally the cheapest we can get a bottle from the wine or liquor store is $8.95 for a bottle if on sale, but usually we would pay from $9.95-$12.95.

  20. We have a booze budget. It’s set at $50/month. I was able to find a wine I liked for $8.55 a bottle. Like you said, in the summer it tends to be higher so we’ll see how it goes.

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  24. Haha, this was great, I just read it now. We spend something like $250 a month I think. We buy in bulk and have a LOT on hand though, so we don’t necessarily consume that much. (Ie- we have a full bar, so adding to it costs money, but empties don’t happen terribly often. Wine empties do happen all the time, don’t worry!)

    • Giggle… thanks, Anne. I’m glad you enjoyed it! I just checked and we’re averaging under our budget right now but summer is just getting started. It’s mostly for wine and some beer, but in the summer I like to do some Bloody Caesar’s, margaritas, sangria. Sometimes for convenience I pick up the cooler packs which can be quite expensive. I guess I’ll do a blog post update come September. I like to hear how other frugalers are handling this.