$3,825 (but who’s counting?)


When I first quit drinking, I installed a simple free app on my phone called “Quitter”. It allows me to track the time elapsed since my last drink and the money I’ve saved. I made a guess that I was spending $6 per day when I set it up, which is probably pretty close to accurate. That’s the equivalent of one bottle of inexpensive wine, two bottles of Trader Joe’s 3 Buck wine, half of a fifth (would that be a tenth?) of Canadian whiskey or vodka, or a 6 pack of beer.

In the beginning, I checked my progress on this app a lot as reinforcement. I also kept a small notebook with me and wrote each day how I was feeling, any triggers I encountered, and rated myself on a “craving scale”, complete with little hand-drawn smiley or sad faces. These tools helped through some long, uncomfortable days.

It’s been a long time now since I’ve looked at the app or used the daily notebook. Over time, success in sobriety becomes its own reinforcement and widget-dependence diminishes.

Today I noticed that as the days tick along, the savings have become significant! Since I don’t actually have those dollars sitting in a savings account or a piggy bank, I’m reflecting on what I’ve done with the money I formerly invested in poisoning myself.

-Ingestible substitutes – I have to admit that for a time I became a little bit addicted to a beverage called Sparkling Ice. At $1/bottle, it satisfied the need to have something fizzy or fruity to sip in the evening. Then there was the ice cream, candy and other assorted sweets, but altogether, I’d call it a reasonable financial trade-off.  And even with the junk eating, I’ve lost weight.

-Travel – I LOVE to travel but could never find the extra money for it so I rarely went anywhere. Since I quit drinking, I’ve taken two road trips with my kids and two plane trips to see my dad. I was also able to finance a trip for my dad and step-mom to attend a family wedding before she died of cancer.

-Debt reduction – I’m not debt-free by any means, but at least I’m able to keep up with payments, eliminating a huge source of stress.

-Rewards – If I see something I want to buy for myself – jewelry, clothing, shoes, books – I give myself permission to do it! I’m worth it.

Of course, it’s not about the money. That’s just a nice side benefit.

The sense of peace and the growth I’ve experienced as a human being?

Well, that’s priceless.

11 Comments on “$3,825 (but who’s counting?)”

  1. Riversurfer says:

    Now I’ve installed that app too, fun fun 🙂 Thanks for sharing this great post, I hope you enjoy a great weekend!

  2. Love it! But $6! That’s cheap! OMG. I am near a large city, 3 dollar wine is not existent, I thin Mad Dog 20/20 goes for six and that stuff even I couldn’t drink! Lol! Mine I would figure would be maybe $15 – boy, I wonder what that would add up to! Lol! This is really great, it’s amazing how many benefits there are! Woot woot!

    • Ginny says:

      Maggie, are you implying that I’m a cheap drunk? LOL! I guess I was. Or a thrift-minded alkie. But since most alcoholics are also liars, it is possible that my daily expense was a tad higher. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Up here in Canada we have crushing taxes on booze at times, so my own estimate would be about $20 a day at least. I think that is what it was…I actually can’t remember as I type this…which is a good thing. But I do recall $20 was a magic number. Where we found the money is pretty scary, isn’t it, considering I have none of that magic money kicking aroun today…lol.

    Great post.


  4. Ginny says:

    Paul, $20/day can add up fast! I recommend that you find some of that magic money and reward yourself this weekend.

    Now that I think about it, I’m not counting the money my husband spent on his daily drinking habit, and he did sometimes notice that “someone” had dipped into his supplies…

  5. sober365days says:

    Great post! I have shifted too much of my booze money to Starbucks. A tall (which is really a small) latte costs $3!!! Heaven forbid I buy a frappucino….

    • Ginny says:

      Oooh, coffee! We’re hooked on our Keurig machine. I try to avoid the coffee shops but every now and then you gotta do it.

      Thanks for visiting! I’ll check out your blog now.

  6. runningonsober says:

    I recently discovered Sparkling Ice at a July wedding I attended. The red (cherry?) is delish! The lemon-lime just tastes like Sprite to me, lol.

    Congrats on all the $ saved, but mostly, congrats on life unbuzzed!

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