Average Briton spends £50,000 on alcohol over course of lifetime

So as Go Sober for October reaches a close I’m sharing a news story that was published at the end of last month as we were going into the charity event.

The average person in Britain spends almost £50,000 on alcohol during their lifetime, a charity has warned.

Macmillan Cancer Support found each Briton spends around £787 a year on alcohol, with London’s concentration of drinkers spending sizably more. The research, conducted by Onepoll, surveyed 2,000 over-18s. Men spent an average of £934.44 per year, the data found, compared with women spending £678.60.

Martin Lewis from Moneysavingexpert.com said: “It’s not just the price of buying alcohol… it’s the fact when we drink, we lose our spending inhibitions too – we all know the cheap night out that turns into a pocket-killer. Even going sober for a month could save you a significant amount.”

Earlier this year England’s chief medical officer,  Dame Sally Davies, said that despite clear risks to health and society, “retailers continue to sell alcohol using methods which I consider to be irresponsible”.

So for me my app said at the end of my first year alcohol free I’d saved £2178.  I started drinking at the age of 17 and we can take 2 years out of that for pregnancy and breastfeeding.  If I do a quick calculation that means over my drinking career I spent almost £60K.  The thing is that’s not my lifetime.  The average life-span for a woman in the UK is 82 so potentially another 36 years.  Granted if I’d kept drinking like I was there is no way I’d have reached the average life span!  If I had drank this way for my entire life-span, which I acknowledge is highly unlikely, then the total spend would be a whopping £142K.  Almost enough to buy a house in this country currently (average house price is £186K) which is quite frankly just depressing 🙁

So lets flip it over and say that if I don’t drink from here on in I’m going to save £78K that makes me feel much better 🙂  And if I double that for me and MrHOF that equals £155K!  So I guess the lesson is don’t think about what you’ve spent but think about what you’ll save and the sooner you quit the more you’ll save 🙂

18 thoughts on “Average Briton spends £50,000 on alcohol over course of lifetime

  1. that is fucking RIDICULOUS but of course a completely believable statistic 🙁

    as you say let’s flip it round and decide how we’re going to spend all our delicious savings for the rest of our lives!! xx

    1. Shocking isn’t it Prim? Can’t think of it in any other way than the positives moving forward 🙂 xx

  2. You know it is utterly crazy. I’m doing the maths in my head! Martins a clever chap he’s right since I stopped buying wine this month all the wee spends in the basket have gone, all the midnight snacks have gone and all the carb rich breakfasts and eating out in the morning has disappeared. Thanks Lucy, all of a sudden I’m not so worried about my pension if I channel my wine money that way, I’ll we well sorted! Great piece. Thanks again x

    1. I hadn’t thought about it that way Daisy! Jeez if you put all the money we spent on booze and booze fuelled food binge’s in a savings account we’ll be laughing! 😉 xx

  3. I did this same calculation when I stopped drinking about 11 months ago and me and the other half calculate we have saved ourselves £4k this past year by not drinking – we were both drinking that heavily and had done for far to long. That £4k is another holiday as far as we are concerned and that doesn’t include the bonkers impulse purchases we made whilst pissed or the take aways, hangover cures etc. Great blog and very thought provoking

    1. Congrats on 11 months!! It’s amazing when we add it up isn’t it Burnsie? And as you say it doesn’t include the unneccessary stuff we buy online when our pissed brain says we need this or we must have this *sigh* Not any more though! 😉

  4. Extra money, less calories, no more wasted time away from work(due to hangovers), happier livers 😉 it all starts to add up! I’ve already made some nice purchases since I’ve stopped. I hope there will be some articles re the positive results of Sober October 🙂 xx

    1. That it does Lori! I’ll find a total of how much Sober October raised for Macmillan Cancer Care for you and share it here on the blog 🙂 xx

  5. Yes, alcohol is way too expensive! Specifically in London. Eh, oooh, no. 🙁

    Imagine how much ecological food you can buy for that. And how much less cheap grain we’d need to grow so and how much less pesticides we would need for grapes. And the time we would have saved and being able to do stuff that matters.

    1. This will make you laugh but I used to buy organic wine believing it was better for me! 😀 God the level of delusion around my drinking was staggering!!

  6. Actually, it does not make me laugh, I don’t find it delusional (yet?). I did the same, and I chose German beer because it is made according to the Rheinheits Gebot which says that you can not add anything artificial. I did it because I knew I could not stop yet and wanted to minimize the damage to my body and the environment.

    When I quit smoking I read Allan Carr. He has this powerful way of teaching stuff. He says: you don’t have to do anything, smoke but read the book, if at the last page of the book you don’t want to stop for 100%, read the book again. Don’t quit untill you are ready because on average it takes people 7 years to recover from a failed try on quitting and build up strength again.

    I am not sure if it sounds like a delusion but when drinking, for years I knew I should stop, but also knew I was not ready yet. Actually, in working towards quitting and reading and researching stuff I sometimes drank less, but I specifically drank like crazy in the last days. Just to make sure I could never ever tell myself that I had missed out. I knew addictive thinking would grab me right there if I had felt regret that I had say only half a glass too little. So far it has worked. 🙂

    On the last night I drank and really paid attention to how I felt, and exagarated the nausea and did the brainwashing on how bad it is. I continued till I got really sick of it all. I left the last 3 sips in the glass because I could not stand it anymore. That was really important then because it said that the quitting was a choice. Not something that happened because I ran out of booze at 03:00 in the night.

    I still have the glass, it is dirty and has fungy in it so I need to hide it when people come over. But to me it is a trophy. 🙂

    1. It wasn’t just me then? 😉 Our stopping sounds similar although I didn’t leave a drop as I wanted the hangover to be REALLY bad and I never kept the last glass as a trophy! 🙂

  7. Its amazing but believable. I think if you add on all the other costs like taxi’s, lost property and lost productivity. I know I missed opportunities for better jobs etc because I was just hungover.

    1. Booze – the gift that keeps on giving right? 😉 Thanks for chiming in Veronica 🙂

  8. I seem to have a lot more money to spend these day and am actually back in credit for the first time in years .
    I used to spend money on impulse buys , but I spent an awful lot of money on things that I would throw in the basket so that I didn’t look like I had only come for the wine . In hindsight , I needn’t have bothered .. I’m pretty sure that everyone knew what I was there for 😉

    1. Ah yes flip – the ‘I’m not just buying wine’ nip out to the shops errand – I remember it well! 😉 xx

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