This week’s guest blog discusses the financial consequences of giving up alcohol. How much money can you save by not drinking? More than you might think, when you begin to realise it’s not just the grog you’re spending money on. 

When we talk about the benefits of easing back on alcohol intake, we usually focus on the positives for our bodily and mental health. But one often-overlooked benefit that very quickly becomes apparent to newly moderate drinkers is the amount of money that stays put in their wallets when they say ‘No’ to the booze.

There are two ways that it stays there: the obvious way, from not spending money on the stuff, and the less direct ways, like not having to spend on other things because you’re not drinking. Let’s take a look at these in turn.

As we get older we tell ourselves that we deserve a better standard of wine, that the good old goon-bag from our student days is beneath us, and that the sophistication of slurping a premier cru somehow atones for the fact that we are now drinking well over the recommended weekly limit of 14 standard drinks. For middle-aged men like me, with entrenched drinking habits and an unshakeable belief that they can detect and appreciate the difference between a $20 and a $40 bottle of shiraz, giving up the grog for a month or two can add some serious dollars back into household revenue. 

Consider a couple who are regular wine drinkers, with perhaps the odd beer thrown in. They’re set in their ways, and let’s say they share a bottle of wine most weeknights, plus a bit more over the weekends. That leaves them drinking their way through 8 bottles per week between them. They’re a bit choosy about what they drink, but not obsessed, so we’ll assume they average out at $20 per bottle. That comes to $160 each week, or $8,320 in a year. That gets a nudge upwards from peak-season holiday drinking, and the odd bottle of spirits or case of beer, so it would be easy for this couple to pass the $10,000 per year threshold. Changing the amount they drink can be the equivalent of a significant pay rise.

And that’s just for drinking done at home. If you’ve bought a round of drinks in a bar recently, you’ll know how quickly that can empty out the wallet – especially when exotic cocktails are involved. You’re in for a pleasant surprise when you dine at a restaurant sans alcohol, because, if you are like me, you’ve had your share of restaurant meals where the booze made up more than half of the bill. It’s an irritation because you know that, unlike the food, which was slaved over by skilled practitioners in the kitchen, the restaurateur did nothing other than buy and store the wine to justify a markup of three or four times what you could buy it for at Dan the Man’s.

But it is simplistic to talk about only the direct costs of purchasing alcohol when considering the savings that accrue when you give it up for a while (or even if you just dial down the consumption a little). There are considerable indirect savings to be had, too. Consider the latest curse of our internet age: drunk shopping.

You can see how it works: you’re sitting alone at night with an open bottle and an iPad for company, flicking idly through Amazon when you are hit by the sudden realisation that your wardrobe really only lacks a Noel Coward-style bottle green quilted smoking jacket for it to be complete. A few taps on the keyboard and the deed is done – with sanity and buyer’s remorse catching up only the next morning, when it’s too late.

According to a US survey earlier this year, 79% of alcohol users have made at least one alcohol-fuelled purchase online, with the average yearly spend an eye-watering $444 in a year!

There’s a long list of additional secondary costs that are reduced or entirely avoided when you wind down the booze:

  • Taxis and Ubers aren’t cheap, but they’re necessary if you’re tying a couple on when you’re out (unless you want to risk the late-night train home, of course). When you’re off the grog you become your very own, full-time, designated driver.
  • Things just get messier when you’re drinking. Whether it’s spilling food and drink, falling over in the street, or even ‘launching the leopard’ after a few too many, your clothes are on the frontline for the consequences. Sure, they can be dry cleaned, but that ain’t cheap!
  • And supposing you do make a goose of yourself: flowers (for apologies).
  • We all know that alcohol is a leading contributor to relationship failure, and that divorce settlements have the capacity to utterly ruin you, financially.
  • Midnight snacks to stave off pre-jentacular (look it up, like I had to) hunger pangs. You can be scoffing a pizza at 1:00am, or you can be sleeping like an angel and saving the money (as well as preserving your waistline). 
  • Self-help for the morning after: Beroccas, paracetamols, and a stomach-soothing fry-up in the morning.

Then there’s the unquantifiable, but still very real, effect of alcohol on your general levels of energy and productivity. Economists would tell us there’s an opportunity cost to getting pissed – it diverts you from doing more productive things, and the effects can linger. If you’ve ever given up the booze for a sustained period, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Your mornings are no longer spent with a woolly head and a desire to take it easy. Instead, you’ve got an unaccustomed level of energy and focus, and over the long term that’s a major component of financial success, greater productivity, more promotions, bigger bonuses, etc.

So the bottom line is pretty clear. You’ll notice a lot of differences when you deliberately change your relationship with alcohol – most of these changes are positive, and a small number are neutral or even negative. But one immediate, unmistakable and completely quantifiable effect will be on your personal finances.


We’ve all heard of a bucket list (the things you want to do before you kick the bucket), but why should we wait to see the pearly gates on the horizon before we do the things we have always wanted?

What is stopping you from living life right now?

Recently we caught up with Seb Terry, who travels the world helping people tick off their 100 Things list. He is the ultimate guru when it comes to creating your list and choosing to live a more fulfilling life.

Even if people do have a bucket list, not many things on it get ticked off, as day-to-day life tends to get in the way. These reasons and excuses may sound familiar:

Money – “But I don’t have enough; I can’t afford it!”

Failure – “I won’t be able to do it; what if I don’t win?”

Commitments – “I am too busy at work; I already do too much; I have kids and a dog and a partner!” 

Opinions – “What would people think?”

Comfort – “I have control over my life at the moment, if I change anything everything will fall out of place.”

Success – “What if I really love it? What if I’m good at it and don’t want to go back to my old job?” 

Fear – “I don’t know if I am ready/brave enough.” 

Give yourself permission

Sebastian Terry says we choose to do something or to not do something and in the middle sits one word; permission. 

The first step in deciding to write or start ticking off the things on your list is to give yourself permission. You’re the only one with the power to allow yourself to think about what you really want to achieve in your life.


When we’re young we know what we want; we would be able to sit down and write an endless list with no concerns about how to make it happen or whether it’s realistic or not. But we get older and we’re told what to do and how to think by other people. Things are laid out for us by others. By living your own truth you are choosing to empower yourself.


In order to grow, we have to step out of our comfort zone. Creating and ticking off your list allows you to shape your identity, or redefine your purpose on this earth and revisit your values that may have been shadowed or buried in a pile of work and responsibilities.





You will never know an answer until you ask and most of the time, you have nothing to lose by asking. Asking if someone wants to join you in your quest, asking for the time off work, asking if someone needs a house sitter in the Canadian Rockies, asking if anyone has a workshop you could rent to start your craft. Passion inspires passion. People generally want to help other people achieve their goals.

Start writing

What is something you care about so much that you don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks?

Write it down.

You just need to know why you don’t need to know how just yet, the how will come. It’s the idea of manifestation = action, know what you want, put it out there by thinking about it, talking about it and looking into it. Before you know it, that dream will start taking shape.


Want to be a part of  Hello Sunday Morning’s Experiments Challenge? Join us by ticking something off your list, sharing on social media and tagging #hellosundaymorning  #experimentschallenge 




The lull after the holiday season can be a tough time for some. Festivities have been celebrated and the rest of the year looms ahead, perhaps bringing with it the same old routine.

If you don’t feel motivated to embrace the new year with open arms, maybe it’s time to question what’s holding you back. Are you stuck in a job you hate? Are you climbing the corporate ladder to a level you think you should reach because of external or internal expectations? Are there things you have always wanted to do with your life but for some reason never have?


Most surveys in the West reveal that at least half the workforce are unhappy in their jobs, and a cross-European study showed that 60 per cent of workers would choose a different career if they could start again. This shows that the majority are separating work from happiness.

Sigmund Freud says you need two things in life to be happy:

“Love and work are the corner stones to our humanness”

Freud isn’t the only one who believes that the ability to love and work is connected to a more meaningful and satisfying life.

Steve Jobs stood in front of the 2005 Stanford graduating class and said, “the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”


There are countless self help books, videos, blogs and lectures by many philosophers and social scientists on this topic. So why is it still such popular and sought-after advice? Because living a meaningful life can involve risk and a sense of the unknown, which can be scary as hell. Making a living doing what you love can pose challenges like giving up your existing job and perhaps financial stability, and sacrificing things on the way to getting to where you really want to be.

Don’t settle for being unhappy

“If one wanted to crush and destroy a man entirely, to mete out to him the most terrible punishment, all one would have to do would be to make him do work that was completely and utterly devoid of usefulness and meaning,” Fyodor Dostoyevsky in The House of the Dead.

Scott Dinsmore, founder of Live Your Legend, a site that inspires and prepares people to build careers they love has an insightful TED talk on how to find work you love.

He raises one of the most important points of finding a satisfying job and living a more fulfilling life: surrounding yourself with people who inspire you.

“If the people you’re surrounded by don’t like their work, that’s going to bring you down,” Dinsmore says. “It’ll limit your creativity and infect your ideas. If you surround yourself with people who are truly living differently, it changes your belief about what’s possible.”

Dinsmore’s advice on how to find fulfilling work, in a nutshell

  • Utilise your talents to the fullest potential
  • Don’t just do something because society says you should
  • Try things
  • Don’t listen to others
  • Don’t be a Jack of all trades, master of none; spend more time getting better at something as this will make what you do more fulfilling.

Show me the money


Philosopher Roman Krznaric outlines the five keys to making a career meaningful:

  1. Earning money
  2. Achieving status
  3. Making a difference
  4. Following our passions, and
  5. Using our talents.

In other words, money alone is a poor motivator:

“The lack of any clear positive relationship between rising income and rising happiness has become one of the most powerful findings in the modern social sciences. Once our income reaches an amount that covers our basic needs, further increases add little, if anything, to our levels of life satisfaction,” says Roman Krznaric.

Find meaning

Research has shown that having purpose and meaning in life increases overall well-being and life satisfaction, improves mental and physical health, enhances resilience, enhances self-esteem, and decreases the chances of depression.

The desire to find a job that gives our lives a sense of meaning and purpose and reflects our values, passions and personality is said to be a new age idea.

To quote, again, Roman Krznaric, “We have entered a new age of fulfilment, in which the great dream is to trade up from money to meaning.”

The East has been way ahead of us on this one. Dharma is a Sanskrit word that in some Hindu traditions essentially translates to “sacred duty.”


The word dharma comes from the ancient religions of India and is found in Hindu and Jain teachings as well as Buddhist. Its original meaning is something like “natural law.” Its root word, dham, means “to uphold” or “to support.” In this broad sense, common to many religious traditions, dharma is that which upholds the natural order of the universe.

It’s bigger than you

Martin E. P. Seligman, one of the leading psychological scientists alive today, claims that in a meaningful life, “you use your highest strengths and talents to belong to and serve something you believe is larger than the self.”

The pursuit of meaning is what makes human beings uniquely human.

The booze-bank

Have you ever considered starting a booze-bank?#hellosundaymorning

Posted by Hello Sunday Morning on Saturday, 4 June 2016


Something new is on the horizon for Hello Sunday Morning. As of last Sunday, we’re rolling out a weekly series of helpful and inspirational content based on the top challenges from the Hello Sunday Morning mobile app. By looking into anonymised user data, we have found that participation in certain Hello Sunday Morning challenges positively correlates with changing one’s drinking behaviours. Thinking of our mission to change the world’s relationship with alcohol, we decided to latch onto this insight and release a series of short weekly videos to further explore these challenges for as many people as possible, and support you on your journey.

The first challenge we’ve considered is the booze-bank.

Saving money with a booze bank

This involves setting aside all the money you would otherwise have spent on alcohol at any one time. How exactly you go about it is up to you. You may want to stick to waters during after-work drinks, or you may only have one drink instead of four, and save the difference. It depends on your goals.

With Australians spending $14.1 billion on alcohol each year, we’re sure many may find it a compelling argument to claim back their part of that total.

Have you been thinking of taking an art class, or finally investing in a gym membership? Maybe you have been pining for a holiday or are considering buying a new bike? Is there something in your life that could use a little more attention from your wallet?

A booze-bank might be your solution. Dream as big or as small as you like.

Of course, we’re not saying it will be a breeze; challenge is definitely the right word. But just wait till you start seeing those tenners stacking up!

Some Hello Sunday Morning members who have tackled this challenge managed to save hundreds of dollars a week by cutting back, and often looked forward to the process. Many of us don’t realise how much we spend on alcohol in the first place – the amount you spend, and therefore save, may surprise you. What’s more, with the growth of alcohol tax around the world, drinking is not getting any cheaper.

Here’s to your wealth!

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it.