Personal Finance

Participating in Dry January? Here’s How Much Money You Could Save

A woman standing next to her kitchen sink while sipping out of a coffee mug.

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Will you end the month with more cash if you give up drinking?

Key points

  • Dry January is a popular tradition started in Britain in 2013.
  • Many people across the world, including in the U.S., now give up alcohol during the first month of the year.
  • Participating in this trend could save you money — on average, it could be $25 to $35.

In 2013, a nonprofit in the United Kingdom called Alcohol for Change launched a challenge called Dry January. The goal of the challenge was to get people to commit to not drinking during the entire first month of the year.

The challenge was a success, and Dry January has actually become a global phenomenon. In fact, around one in five U.S. adults plans to participate in the Dry January challenge in 2022.

The purpose of Dry January is to help people improve their health and perhaps reset from the indulgences of the holiday season. But while many opt to participate to lose weight, prove they can abstain, or just improve their overall physical condition, there’s another benefit, too: When you swear off alcohol, you don’t have to buy drinks, so you’ll end up saving some cash.

So, just how big of an impact will dry January have on your bank account? Here’s how much you could save by participating.

You could end January healthier and wealthier

In the 2021 to 2022 year, the average monthly spending on alcohol among adults 21 and over in the United States ranged from a low of $25 in February and March of 2022 to a high of $38 in May of that same year. In January specifically, average spending on alcohol over the course of the month totaled $30.00, according to a Morning Consult poll.

If you are spending about what the typical American does on alcoholic beverages, this means that skipping a month of drinks in January could save you roughly between $25 and $35. While this isn’t a huge sum of money, it could help fatten your checking account balance a little bit or could be diverted to covering other expenses you may be facing during this time of surging inflation.

If you’re inspired by Dry January and you decide to continue the trend to give up or cut back on alcohol all year, your savings could be even more substantial. If you were able to cut $30 from your alcohol budget every month over the course of the year, you’d end up with $360 extra in the bank — which is a lot of money when you think about the fact that you’d otherwise be left with nothing but a potential hangover to show for it.

Should you participate in Dry January?

Deciding whether to participate in Dry January is a personal choice that you’ll need to make as the new year approaches. But if you’re inspired by the goal of saving money or trying to reap the health benefits of avoiding alcohol, it may be well worth at least giving it a try.

If this challenge isn’t for you, though, there are plenty of other fun ways you can try to give your savings a boost starting in January– including taking part in a 52-week saving challenge that could leave you with an extra $1,326 by year’s end. The start of a new year is a perfect time to embrace new habits, and these fun monthly challenges are a great way to try out new things to see what’s right for you.

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