10 Things to Spend Your Money on Instead of Alcohol

10 things to spend your money on instead of alcohol – What could you buy instead???

Have you ever worked out how much money you spend on alcohol? Sitting down with a pen, paper and a calculator can be a real eye opener, it’s easy to throw a few bottles of wine into the shopping trolley at the supermarket or pop down to the local shop for a crate of beer but just like anything else, it all adds up. Are you planning on going sober for good or are you trying Dry January or Sober October perhaps – how much money will you save across those 30 days and what will you be spending it on instead?

10 things to spend your money on instead of alcohol

One thing I found tremendously useful was to save the money I would have spent on alcohol to buy something tangible, something I could use or enjoy every day, something to just look at even, it didn’t matter how large or small, how cheap or expensive, just something for me – Gayle talks about how you need to be selfish sometimes on your sober journey and this is correct, be selfish, spend some money you would have otherwise purchased alcohol with and have something for you that will last, be a reminder, an incentive.

As a photographer there was no shortage of things that I both wanted and needed but photography is an expensive game so I started small – a couple of days at a time alcohol free gave me €20 euros to play with, every time we went shopping I looked at the booze and as tempted as I was my incentive to spend the money elsewhere instead of on a hangover won every time. This is what worked for me. Below are a few ideas to think about so get that calculator out and see how many days it would take you to buy some of these.

Coffee Machine

A coffee machine is something that you are going to need! If you had coffee to help alleviate that hangover then buying one of these will be for very different reasons. It looks great in the kitchen, you can see your ‘days’ of being alcohol free put to good use in something tangible that you can appreciate and use on a daily basis – a constant reminder of why you didn’t spend the money on alcohol.

You can pick up a coffee machine fairly cheaply but if you only like the best then be prepared to spend a couple of hundred euro/dollars/pounds etc, how long will it take to save that? A month? A fortnight? Less?


There are plenty of good books out there including those about quitting the drink (see my recommendations here). The thing about books is that they are cheap, by the end of wine o’clock you would have the money to buy at least one good book and in the process get some added motivation to maintain your sober journey – win win.

Best Sobriety books to have on your bookshelf 

sobriety book reviews

A Holiday

OK, we are not talking a full on, all inclusive fortnight in Barbados here but a budget break or perhaps a last minute deal where a few hundred euros will work for a nice relaxing holiday, think a long weekend in a log cabin to get away from it all or a couple of days in a hotel, even go camping or try something unusual like staying in a tepee or a yurt.

The good thing about a budget holiday or short break is the planning, it helps to save up the money and gives you a purpose for not drinking. Getting outdoors (like camping)with no booze also helps as a reminder why you are giving up, fresh air, healthy living and back to nature etc.


Redecoration is another good one which can be done a little at a time, most of us like to have a ‘spring clean’ or change a room in the house because it’s looking a little tired. Giving a room a full makeover is a great idea that offers a reminder every time you walk into it, sit back and admire the finished result of your money otherwise spent on alcohol and headaches for a clean and fresh living space.

10 things to spend your money on instead of alcohol

Home Gym

Giving up alcohol is healthy on its own, going one step further though is taking up a fitness activity, a home gym is suggested here (for less than a month of alcohol?) but it could be anything, five days away from the wine could well buy you a very nice pair of trainers for running, another week could get you a exercise bike. See this interview here with Angie from ‘Lifting Weights not Wine’ for some more inspiration on the fitness front!


I know, I know, I’m a photographer so a camera was bound to make it into this list but a camera is a great functional item to show off instead of a months worth of hangovers. Cameras these days don’t need to be expensive, there are some very highly rated compact cameras out there that will outshine the i-phone in every respect.

First thing you do? – Take a picture of yourself and save it for 6 months down line to show off how much weight you’ve lost! Many people also take to blogging as part of their sober journey and blogs need good photographs so a camera will always be a good investment.

10 things to spend your money on


Accessorise yourself! We all like new clothes, OK, the guys less so but clothes are a good incentive to keep away from the alcohol – how much do you drink and how many new items of clothing could you buy every week with that saved money?

Personally I found this tactic very helpful, the Amazon wish list had plenty of garments in it and I kitted myself out with a full wardrobe in under a month, again, something that can be used every day, four days of beer or new tactical windbreaker for the winter? I chose the latter and wear it almost every day along with the other clothes the beer paid for.

tactical casio

The Kids

Treat the kids, we only get one chance to see them grow up and the more smiles we have during that time the better. Two weeks at the beginning of my sober journey saw a new slot car racing setup, I had one as a child myself and loved it so I thought my two boys would love it too, in fact they are never off it, they even race with Dad as well as getting creative making things for the track.

The alternative was a fortnight of sitting on the sofa drinking beer. Our slot car race track also gets them off the computer – Bonus!

spending money on children


Deciding to tackle sobriety is a like a journey of discovery, many people describe part of it as finding the real person underneath, the real person that was previously fogged out by alcohol, this journey is also different for each individual and ‘triggers’ play a part in this.

If you are the social type and love going out drinking would more than likely have played a key role in your evening or event, going out though does not have revolve around alcohol though so a night out where you don’t have to drink is a good thing to spend your beer money on.

Going to the pub or a bar might be impossible for some even drinking alcohol free beer so going to a place where you can reward yourself with a night out is highly beneficial plus you will have the added benefit of not just enjoying yourself but remembering the next day with full clarity and not having any anxious feeling about being the driver. How much are a pair of tickets for the latest show? Two or three days worth?


Lastly in 10 things to spend your money on instead of alcohol we are down to the nitty gritty! Tattoos, extreme? Maybe but if you like your ink then this one is worth consideration as a permanent reminder as to why you choose sobriety.

Getting a tat is a lifestyle choice and not one to be taken lightly, they also tend to be expensive but as said, something to save up for, get excited about and put that alcohol money somewhere where it matters to you and can be shown off.

If you need some motivation then a tattoo might be right for you, interestingly there are a lot of previous drinkers out there now sober who indulge in some ink – here is one of them.

sobriety tattoos

So there we have it, my list of 10 things to spend your money on instead of alcohol. Did you try this strategy when you began your sober journey? What would you add to this list? Drop us a comment below.

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Photographer | Dad | Sober

Written by: SOBRYETI

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