As you’ve probably seen by now, I like to imbibe alcoholic beverages from time to time. In fact, I make my own wine and Mr. Picky Pincher brews his own beer. Our household is no stranger to the luxurious world of alcohol.
But what you might not know is that I grew up in an alcohol-free household. It didn’t strike me until now how different this experience was. It shaped the way I view alcohol and how it affects our finances.
My parents were alcohol-free for a mixture of safety and religious reasons. My mom in particular had the “liquor is the Devil” mentality as an anachronism of the Southern temperance movement. My dad had a scary experience as a teen with alcohol and swore it off completely.
That means that I grew up around parents who didn’t drink. No one in my family drank. All I saw was water, Dr. Peppers, and the occasional coffee. It wasn’t until I saw other people drinking alcohol that I realized beer, wine, and liquor even existed. It was freakin’ weird. For a long time I was fearful of people who drank. I equated drinking with stupidity, danger, and excess. Drinking made me angry.
But hey, when I went to college I realized it was just a natural part of life. Eventually I partook myself, and shook off my old-timey fire-and-brimstone attitude towards the good stuff.
Lessons from an alcohol-free upbringing
What’s to be taken away from this unique upbringing? Fortunately I realized a lot of things.
You get invited to parties…a lot
In my freshman year of college I was hesitant to admit that I didn’t drink. I thought people would peg me as a weird, sober loser.
Quite the opposite happened! Once word got out that I didn’t drink, I got invitations to all kinds of parties with the cool kids. The only stipulation was that I was the designated driver. I wanted to go anyway, so I didn’t mind hauling a few people in my car while keeping everyone safe.
So hey, not drinking can make you popular. 😉
You really do save money without alcohol
Mr. Picky Pincher loves his beer. It wasn’t until we were married and looking at the budget that I realized how much a few beers a day really costs. At one point we spent $200 a month just on alcohol. Ouch!
We do still drink, but we’re wiser about how we produce or buy alcohol to reduce the budget impact. But uh, yeah, not drinking is a great way to save money.
We don’t need alcohol
The most important thing I learned from a dry upbringing is that you don’t need alcohol. You don’t need to drink to dance. You don’t need to drink to feel happy. You don’t need to drink for any reason.
There’s nothing in the bottle that isn’t already inside ourselves. We can choose to drink because it tastes good and it makes us feel good. But we’re stepping over the line when we claim that alcohol is the key to doing something.
The bottom line
I didn’t grow up in an environment that normalized alcohol. So going into the adult world, I really didn’t understand what it was all about.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with choosing to drink or choosing to abstain. Although I will say that not drinking will save you a lot of money! I’m glad that I lightened up a bit and learned that alcohol is just fine in moderation.
We want to know: Do you drink? If so, how do you save money while imbibing adult beverages?