Living Frugally: Don’t Drink and Shop

Living Frugally - WidgetAs St. Patrick’s Day creeps into view, I thought it would be interesting to look at a new study from Finder.com. The data indicates that Americans like to shop online after drinking … and as you might suspect, the combination can be expensive.

Technology has made it incredibly easy for the purveyors of goods and services to separate you from your hard-earned money.

You’ve had a drink or two, you pull out your cell phone, browse to  your favorite site – or easier yet, open up the app – and suddenly you’ve spent hundreds of dollars online. But what are you most likely to buy?

The data suggests drunk shoppers often end up with more stuff to put in their closets as shoes and clothes top the list. According to a survey of 3,123 Americans, listed below are the most common drink-driven purchases:

Drunk Shopping

How much is spent during these alcohol driven shopping sprees you ask? The average amount is $139, but the total can vary significantly depending on gender. At $233, men spend more than four times as much as the $54 spent by women.

What drinks drive those decisions? Beer tops the list, followed by wine and spirits. The average expenditure per year on alcohol is $796, which totals up to a staggering $179 billion each year. Worried that you’re likely to shop when you sip? Follow these tips to cut down on your spending:

  • Switch off data services on your phone before you go out drinking. You’ll still be able to text and make calls, but you won’t be able to easily indulge
  • Don’t save credit card details when you shop online. That way, you can’t easily make a one-click purchase
  • Set yourself clear long-term savings goals. Those will help you resist accidental shopping sprees.

Bar Scene

Do your wallet and liver a favor on St. Patrick’s Day – and every other day really – and moderate your drinking and when you do, keep your hands off the mouse and put away your cell phone.

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.

10 Comments

  1. I’m honestly surprised the gambling figures aren’t higher! It’s impressive how hard alcohol is pushed at casinos. I imagine this will only get worse as online gambling is legalized and becomes more commonplace.

  2. I have on occasion after having a couple of drinks online shopped looking at things that I would like to have but don’t need. I guess I haven’t had enough to drink where I throw out my spending discipline. I see it more as entertainment but who knows, a few too many and then becoming part of the drunken consumer statistics. I easily gave up heavy drinking years ago with my first retirement from a stressful career.

    • I slip up occasionally, not because I’ve had too much to drink, but often because I’m bored, have a desire – not necessarily a need – for something, and technology (e.g. smartphone apps) makes buying things a lot easier.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, my friend.

  3. I hate those one click buy buttons Amazon does, Always worry I’ll click it on accident someday. I think you can turn it off, but I’m lazy and rarely on Amazon.
    The only drunk purchasing I’ve made is for wings and more beers, I don’t think I’ve ever made drunk online purchases. I’ll be brewing beer tomorrow. I can see me drinking, brewing and ordering new fermenters.

  4. At least they are shopping on-line after drinking and not driving to the store. I don’t think I’ve ever made a purchase other than food after having a few drinks.

    • Like you, I don’t believe I’ve ever gone on a drunken shopping spree. However, as Brian noted, I do believe the potential is there, particularly when the technology (e.g. mobile apps) makes it all too easy.

  5. The men at work (myself included) live on Amazon and normally we will go in for bulk items like candy, coffee, protein powder etc., … a common theme among most of them are dedicated shopping apps like Gilt, Uncrate, Mr.Porter on their phones.

    I would add to the list of things to help reduce spending, delete any of these dedicated shopping apps.

    • Great point regarding deleting dedicated shopping apps. There is a reason retailers like any tool that makes your shopping experience ‘easier.’

    • My ears perked at protein powder. If you don’t mind having 2 flavor options(vanilla and chocolate), us.myprotein.com has become my whey protein source. Their Impact Protein Blend is 75% whey protein for around $25 per 5.5 pound bag. They also run promotions all the time on various products, I got Casein protein during one of them.
      Just don’t drink and shop.

      • Kyle – I Shared the site with the “crew” … we are going to give it a go next time we order. Chocolate has been our flavor of choice. Thank you for the tip.

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