By Josh December 6, 2018
There is a widely-cited statistic that 40% of Americans cannot pay an unexpected $400 emergency. Are you one of these people without an Emergency Fund capable of footing that bill? Have you ever stopped to think that maybe you drank it?
So before everyone criticizes me for being crass, this is really just another take on examining your spending. I recently realized that almost 30% of my spending at restaurants is related to my choice of beverages; soda, tax and tip for a usual lunch, and possibly much higher if I order a beer or other alcoholic beverage at dinner or in a bar. I already wrote about how I don’t buy lattes or other coffee-based beverages, but I still go to Starbucks when it is cold outside so I can get a hot chocolate or a caramel apple spice.
So let’s break this down. Not every restaurant sells soda for $1 like McDonald’s… some sit-down restaurants are $2.50-$3.00 easily. Then you add sales tax of 5-7% (maybe more, maybe less if you’re in a state without sales tax) and then tip your wait staff as well. That bubbly, sugary soft drink might tack on $4 to an individual restaurant bill.
Do you ever go out to bars? Beers are one of the cheaper options, but can still be around $4-$8 depending on the style, size, and type. And you probably don’t drink just one. Cocktails and shots can really rack up too, and so does your bar tab. Even everyone’s favorite frugal grandma Penny recently admitted to buying $12 shots of Patron in her younger days:
But also, I'd spend $12 on shots of Patron and just typing that tweet makes my liver hurt.
So maybe change is good.
— Penny (@picksuppennies) December 1, 2018
To round out the list, we have wine. Glasses and bottles (or boxes, I won’t judge) can range from Two Buck Chuck to $20 very easily, and a whole lot more if you have fancy taste.
So why do we continue to spend good money on all of these drink choices with minimal nutritional value and lots of empty calories?
What if we switched half of our liquid libations to nature’s perfect potion: H2O. Wouldn’t our waistlines and wallets welcome that? How long would it take to stockpile sawbucks that could save us from small or sizeable squeezes?
I’m not begrudging anyone their beverage of choice, but am suggesting we could all be more mindful when deciding what to drink. And such a simple change might add up to a whole lot of change when it comes to saving for that starter emergency fund.