From holiday parties to New Year celebrations, enjoying alcoholic libations often plays a prominent role in people’s lives at the end of the year.
And while it’s fun to indulge, come January 1 many people are looking for a reset.
One way you can do that is by taking the Dry January challenge. However, the benefits of not drinking alcohol go beyond just your health. Here’s how Dry January can give your wallet a much-needed boost, too.
What is Dry January?
Dry January is a movement that encourages people to go 30 days without alcohol in the month of January.
Many people start January 2 since they’re likely still celebrating on New Year’s Day. It’s a great time to detox from the holiday season and stay focused on your new year’s resolutions.
Ultimately, the goal of Dry January is to help you reset and change your relationship to alcohol.
For example, when you’re in your 20s and 30s it’s easy to have friendships that often revolve around grabbing drinks together. And while there’s nothing necessarily bad about that, it’s easy to let alcohol creep into your life on a daily basis and become an unhealthy fixture.
How Dry January can boost your finances
There are many health benefits of not drinking alcohol for a month.
According to Alcohol Concern, an organization in the United Kingdom that promotes Dry January, 62 percent of people who take the challenge sleep better and have more energy. 49 percent of participants lost weight, too.
The biggest benefit for participants though was saving money — a whopping 79 percent save money during Dry January.
Starting the new year off by going 30 days without alcohol can give you the financial boost you need to pad your savings account. Even minimal to moderate drinkers can stand to save some money.
For instance, buying booze at restaurants and bars can be notoriously expensive. And while getting alcohol from the store can be a frugal alternative, it’s still an extra cost. In fact, alcohol sales in the U.S. generate around $90 billion each year.
Plus, through Dry January, your relationship to alcohol may change entirely. Perhaps you’ll realize you don’t need to drink as often, putting you on the path to saving money on things like Ubers or Lyfts and late-night munchies.
Anyone that’s been hungover knows your finances can go out of the window when all you want is greasy take-out, Gatorade, and some Advil delivered to your door. There’s no doubt that opting for Dry January can be beneficial for your overall physical as well as financial health.
My own experience with Dry January
Last year, I decided to try Dry January. After drinking alcohol for ten years, I realized that in that time, I never once went 30 days without alcohol.
You see, I love happy hours with friends and trying out fine wines or fancy cocktails. I like exploring drinks from other countries. I’m all about the experience when it comes to drinking alcohol.
However, although I knew that going 30 days without alcohol would help me reset in a number of ways, that doesn’t mean it was a walk in the park for me.
At first, it was hard not to have a glass of wine after work for the first week. In fact, I sipped sparkling water out of a wine glass to help me cope (which it surprisingly did).
After a few weeks, it got easier to go without alcohol. I started sleeping better, felt less moody, and even slimmed down a little. The benefits of not drinking alcohol were definitely noticeable.
I saved money by not going out to bars or buying booze at the grocery store. And, I was able to reconnect with my goals and focus on what I wanted without the haze of inebriation affecting me.
Now, let me be clear. Going 30 days without alcohol is not a cure-all for everything wrong in your life. Everyone will react differently to the process. You may see huge shifts in your health or small changes that seem almost insignificant.
Personally, I was hoping for more energy, which didn’t happen. But here’s one thing that’s certain — you will save money by abstaining from alcohol for a month.
Recipe for a successful Dry January
If you’re a regular drinker, going 30 days without alcohol can be a test of your willpower.
To be successful, you need to change your behavior, as well as avoid some triggers that might encourage drinking. Here are some tips for having a successful Dry January.
Be vocal about it.
Tell your friends and family that you are doing a Dry January. That way, they won’t feel bad if you say no to going out for happy hour drinks. And, they’ll be less likely to ask if you want a drink.
Change up your routine.
Don’t think you can just hang with your friends at a bar and stick to soda. Avoid bars altogether and hang out with friends over coffee or tea.
Come up with new ways to hang out to, like visiting museums or going for a hike.
Try mental hacks.
Part of the reason I enjoy wine is the ritual of it. As silly as it sounds, it was easier for me to stick to water by drinking it out of a wine glass.
If stress or a long day of work is a trigger for you to drink, go to the gym afterward instead. Replacing the habit with something else can be a major factor for success.
Find accountability partners.
See if you can find friends or family to join you in Dry January. Having someone you can chat with or do things with that don’t involve drinking can be helpful.
These tips can make the process of going 30 days without alcohol a bit easier. Just make sure that you don’t binge after a month of no drinking and blow all the savings you’re pocketing thanks to Dry January.
That way you can reap the benefits of not drinking alcohol for a month and start the new year refreshed — and in better financial standing.
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