The financial benefits of Dry January

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Have you started to wonder why some people have passed on alcohol this month?

With the New Year comes Dry January, the annual detox for many people which has people ditching drinks to start the new year for a sober foot. Whether it’s to take a healthy cleanse from alcohol after a busy holiday or to just start anew, many Americans are starting alcohol-free this month, with Millennials leading the pack.

Fifty-three percent of Millennials are abstaining from alcohol this month. And while it might seem like many are just following a social media fad with their friends, there are significant benefits beyond a healthy start to celebrating Dry January like more money in your pocket.

TD Ameritrade dived into the numbers with The Harris Poll behind the financial benefits of Dry January in a study of more than 1,000 American adults. While seven in 10 Americans agree that a month without alcohol is good for their wallets, Millennials were the top generation seeking the benefits of a month without alcohol — and the generation most likely to partake in the booze-free month.

It pays to be dry?

Millennials were also the top generation to see a financial boost.

On average, Millennials spend $56 each night they go out drinking, according to the study. When tallying that number for an entire month, Millennials who participate in Dry January would save more than $300 this month. Gen Xers would save just a little over $150 and Baby Boomers would save about $97 if they took a break from alcohol this month, according to the survey.

By saying no to alcohol, all generations said there was a positive impact on their finances. Eighty-percent of Millennials said a dry month without alcohol helped them realize how much money they spend on alcohol, with another 80% saying by not drinking had a positive impact on their wallets. Sixty-nine percent of Millennials said it influenced their alcohol spending habits afterward.

Seventy-five percent of all respondents said abstaining from drinking had positively impacted their health.

If you’re on the fence about whether to join your friends a little later in the month, TD Ameritrade retirement expert Molly Passantino said it’s ultimately up to you to make the decision to join Dry January.

“To make the most out of Dry January, use it to take a step back and re-evaluate not only your physical health but also your financial health,” Passantino said. “You may think, ‘I’ve saved this much money from cutting alcohol out, how much could I save by cutting down on something else like coffee, monthly subscription fees or online shopping?’ By using Dry January as a catalyst to check in with your finances, you can create a lasting effect on your spending habits and ability to save money in the future.”

She offered these pillars to consider:

  • Do the math on alcohol spending; it may influence future spending habits.
  • Understand the motivation behind participating – is it to lose weight, save money?
  • Ask a friend or partner to join.
  • Realize there may be roadblocks – friends may not be supportive, usual hangout spots not as fun.
  • Use the time to try something new, such as a book club or cooking class.