04th January 2019
With 2017’s New Year’s Eve hangovers still a painful memory across the UK, people all over the country are sobering up to the yearly cost of all that drinking. You’ve probably already heard of “Dry January” and all the so-called “dryathletes” participating in it. Sure, it’s kind of a strange little gimmick – but then, so are New Year’s Resolutions, and we all still seem to keep loudly proclaiming our commitment to those noble, doomed promises-to-nobody each year. At least Dry January has a few solid benefits to it, if only for a month.
The amount of cash your own, personal dryathlon could save you obviously depends on 2 main things: how much you typically drink in a month and how solidly you stick to the plan. Low-end estimates say you could be pocketing an extra £40-£65 in January just by switching to soft drinks.
There are people who drink a lot more than that, though. According to moneyguru.com, weekend drinkers enjoying a couple of Friday pints and a pub blowout on Saturday or Sunday could be tossing up to £212 down their necks over a month. Home drinkers are probably paying a bit less per unit, unless they’re into the really fancy stuff. Even so, just a few short weeks without the bottle could make all the difference on the 31st of January when your Self Assessment tax bill’s due.
Speaking of tax, it turns out that alcohol is actually a pretty big drain on everyone’s finances. Booze-related illness and injury is currently costing the NHS about £3.5 billion every year. No prizes for guessing where that money’s coming from. Drying up for a month isn’t just good for your own health, it’s actually better for the whole economy. With the average person having knocked back 67 units per week over the Christmas period, your body will probably thank you for the break as well.
Remember, all of these estimates on what you could save are calculated per person. A typical British dryathlete couple could be looking at much bigger numbers. On average, we spend twice as much on alcohol each year as we do on our health.
At some point, you’ve got to think about your future. For pension savers, for instance, a dry month could end up pumping up your pension pot by up to £20,000. When you start relying on that pot to live in retirement, you’ll probably be looking at an extra grand a year of income.
So, are you ditching the bottle for January? Yes, it’s still kind of a trendy fad, but it makes pretty good sense for your health and finances. Who knows? It could even be the start of a whole range of calendar-based savings. Smokeless September, anyone? How about Jog-to-Work July?
Whatever your resolutions are in 2019, whether you’re counting pennies, alcohol units or calories, we wish you the very best of luck. Just remember that the taxman’s counting days this month – so get in touch if you need help with your tax return.