Why I’m swapping wine for green tea

Are you drinking too much wine?This month, I’ve managed to salvage another £40 to £50 from our shopping budget. Yay! This budget had already been reduced in January from £400 to around £250 per month, but now our shopping bill per month going forwards will be in the region of £200. This includes food, toiletries and cleaning products etc.

The saving as you’ve probably guessed from the title of this post is… wine. I’ve mentioned before that we don’t really go out much these days because the cost of a babysitter is astronomical and drinks/food on top of that cost would totally blow our budget at the moment. So up until recently, we’ve tended to have a drink at home instead. Actually, it was more like me having a drink as the hubby can take or leave it and only has a beer every so often.

The decision to cut wine out of our monthly shop is actually a good one on two different levels. Not only are we now saving slightly more money that we can put towards the debts, but I’m already feeling a lot healthier!

Before I made this decision, I had gotten into the habit of having a glass of wine most nights (sometimes two). ‘Wind Down Wine’ if you will. Not binge drinking. I just love a glass of wine and after a hard day at work (and being a mum), I often wanted to relax in the evening and this was my way of doing so.

The fine line between drinking to have fun and drinking to cope

Actually, if I think back to when I first started this little habit, it’s probably since we started getting in deep with the debts! Maybe I just needed a little escape from the real world from time to time? If I’m honest, I can remember a few times before I had my daughter where I’ve literally drowned my sorrows to try to forget about being in debt. Yep, binge drinking and definitely for the wrong reason.

This made me wonder just how many people who are in debt turn to drinking (or other substances) by way of escape. I can imagine there’s quite a few out there who are struggling with their situation. Whether these people are consuming a little too much ‘Wind Down Wine’ to relax or binge drinking to forget their problems, this could be the start of a slippery slope of decline both physically and mentally. As well as money down the drain.

Note – another good reason for tackling debt right there. If we don’t tackle our debt, the emotional lows we will no doubt end up feeling at some point could lead to greater risk of depression or other health issues, as well having to cope with an increasing financial burden.

Anyway, a little nagging thought entered my mind questioning just how much wine I had been drinking lately, whilst winding down. So I added up the units consumed in an average week and realised I was frequently consuming nearly twice the recommended amount for woman. Eek!

What are the UK government’s daily unit guideline amounts for alcohol consumption?

  • Men should not regularly exceed more than 3-4 units per day, which is the equivalent to a pint and half of beer.
  • Women should not regularly exceed more than 2-3 units per day, which is the equivalent to a pint of beer or a standard sized glass of wine (175ml)

These guidelines aren’t in place to stop us from having a good time partying. They’re in place because drinking in excess of the recommended daily amount can in fact affect our health quite significantly. Drinking to excess can interfere with our sleep patterns (which I’ve found is really quite true), contribute to causes for conditions like diabetes, or worse – increase our chances of getting cancer.

I was a bit shocked to be honest, particularly as this habit had developed over time. I didn’t pay much attention to just how much I was consuming and didn’t link the fact of regularly having a drink at home to how tired I was feeling. I just thought that was all part of being a mum. And it is to a certain extent – but drinking to excess regularly didn’t help!

I decided to read up on the facts of drinking and I’m so glad I did. I’ve now learned more about my own alcohol intake and it’s made me think differently about how much alcohol I want to consume from now on in. I’m not saying I’ll cut out alcohol completely, but I’ll certainly be cutting down. This will be much better for my pocket and my health!

I decided to not buy any wine this month and found I’ve not even missed it. Whereas I used to automatically pour myself a glass of wine after getting my daughter to bed, I now reach for a herbal or fruit tea. Exciting? No. Fat and caffeine free? You betcha!

The main difference I’ve noticed about swapping wine for a less exciting tipple, apart from the saving (and let’s face it, I’ve probably spent way more than I should have done on alcohol over the years), is the fact that I’ve slept soundly at night for the first time in ages. Plus I’m using my evenings more productively, instead of chilling out (and numbing my brain) with a glass of wine or two. That reason is well worth cutting back for in my opinion!

If you want to cut down for any reason, you could:

  • Drink from smaller glasses.
  • Have soft drinks in between alcoholic drinks.
  • If you’re going out drinking, go out later than usual.
  • Make certain days your alcohol free days each week.
  • Don’t include alcohol as part of your monthly or weekly shop – that way you’ll have to actually go out of the house to buy some and you’re less likely to do this regularly.
  • Identify what makes you feel like drinking and try to find another way to satisfy that feeling e.g. if it’s because you’re stressed, do a workout or read a book for a while. If you just want to relax, try drinking hot chocolate and stick your favourite film on!

If you’re interested in arming yourself with the facts about drinking, take a look at Drink Aware which offers a whole load of information and guidance on this subject.

Have you cut something out of your lifestyle which not only saves you money but also makes you feel healthier?

Related posts:

*Photo credit – Wine Swirl by HybridSys (Stock Xchng), text overlay by A Disease Called Debt


  1. 3


    Good for you! So much healthier in the long run, not to mention cheaper. A friend of mine went through something like this (though perhaps more severe) about a year ago when she realized she was drinking about 4 glasses of wine every night just to relax so she could sleep. She didn’t want to feel dependent on it, and actually went to a few AA meetings to help her feel good about quitting. She was so much happier and healthier after she cut her drinking significantly.
    Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted…$150 In Write Offs, And Happier For ItMy Profile

    • 4


      Thanks Mrs PoP! That’s just what I wanted to avoid – a glass of wine or two could potentially lead to more. It can be so easy to just keep topping up the same glass! I didn’t want to feel like I craved a glass of wine when I’d had a bad day. Plus I really need the extra cash saved!

  2. 5


    I find it a lot easier to skip the drinks once the weather starts to cool down. A cold beer on a cold night just isn’t as refreshing!
    What I should be cutting out is the fast food. I try to eat the “healthier” versions of fast food, but I know it’s still not healthy. I’ve recently been reading about the link between fast-food and depression (as I’m trying to find more natural ways to cope with depression and anxiety), and there’s a lot of cool research out there. I need to make a plan to cut this out so that I can be healthier :)
    Amanda recently posted…August Money RecapMy Profile

    • 6


      Yes, it’s a great time to get out the hot chocolate when it’s cold outside. :) I must admit, I feel compelled to eat snacks and chocolate when I’m feeling a bit down so I can see how the fast food element would come into it. Perhaps you could keep us posted with your plan to cut the fast food out?

  3. 7


    Cutting out wine? Let’s not get too crazy with this whole frugality thing…

    Just kidding. I do enjoy vodka tonic or two some evenings, but it can easily become a habit that lowers your productivity. Still, with some friends or my wife, I do like to still kick back and enjoy a few.
    Done by Forty recently posted…Football, Losing, & Bad BehaviorMy Profile

    • 8


      Lol! I don’t think I will cut it out completely, like you say, it’s nice to enjoy a drink socially! But I will be cutting down. I’ve been feeling so much fitter since I’ve cut back!

  4. 9


    I rarely drink because I’m a light weight and I don’t really like the taste of alcohol. It’s good that you’re not only changing your financial habit, but you’re living healther physically and mentally. You’ll totally be a better version of you at the end of this journey. Keep it up~!!
    Michelle’s Finance Journal recently posted…Financial ChameleonMy Profile

    • 10


      Thanks Michelle! You know what, I had this thought the other day that when I’m debt free, there’s so many things I’ll want to be doing with my life. And being fit and healthy will certainly help!

    • 12


      So true! Ugh hangovers! I haven’t had a major hangover for a few years thankfully. With the wind down wine thing, I found that I just couldn’t sleep properly so the next morning, I was grumpy and tired. Now, I actually feel way more alert than before and generally quite cheerful!

  5. 13


    Good for you!! I think it’s a great tip to save not only money but also your health. I don’t really drink alcohol, I can have a cocktail once in a blue moon but that’s about it. I’ve never been a fan of wine, it doesn’t taste right to me. I like sweet and fruity drinks, hence I’ve always preferred cocktails. I also don’t like the feeling of being tipsy and headaches that I get after just 1 drink, so I tend not to drink, it’s too stressful! 😛
    Eva @ Girl Counting Pennies recently posted…Sunday Special: My Week in Review #6My Profile

  6. 15


    I’m not a big wine drinker but I used to love junk food and soda. But they are very unhealthy and I stopped buying them. It’s is out of sight out of mind. If junk food and soda is lying around at home or at someone else’s home, I like to indulge, but I don’t really miss it if I don’t see it and I’m not thinking about it.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted…Sunday Update and RoundupMy Profile

    • 16


      Out of sight out of mind is definitely the trick with me too. It’s far too tempting to indulge if I know there are nice things behind the cupboard doors! Well done on giving up junk food Andrew!

    • 18


      $3 bottles – that’s more like it! :) I didn’t realise just how many calories are in alcohol before I started fact finding! It’s good to know that I’m cutting down on those too.

  7. 23


    I love wine and am so guilty of wind down wine too. I’m cutting it out this week, as I want to be healthier and more frugal too. i’ve been known to drink more when stressed, and that’s not a good habit to create. Drinking when you are stressed just makes for a bad time. I think alcohol should be a treat, not a medication for (this disease called debt) :)
    Dear Debt recently posted…Class and PrivilegeMy Profile

    • 24


      It’s an easy thing to do, drinking to relax or to ease the stresses of the day. Then before we know it, we’ve drunk more than we should and feel a bit worse for it. We can cut it out together!:)

  8. 25


    Way to go on cutting down your grocery spending! That’s so great. I’m not a drinker as I’m pretty boring and only have water most of the time, but I have been trying to cut back on buying so much processed food and making things from scratch instead. I do feel better when I have a home cooked meal vs something out of a box, so it’s a start. Keep up the great work!
    E.M. recently posted…Favorite Free Activity: Going to the ParkMy Profile

    • 26


      Thanks Eva! :) Wow your skin must be wonderful, drinking mostly water. I’ve cut down on wine this month but also on caffeine so I’m drinking much more water than before. It’s definitely a lifestyle change for me – not that easy – but it’ll become the norm. Making food from scratch is often tastier as well as healthier. I tend to cook in bulk and then freeze some so that I’m not cooking every single night.

  9. 27


    I love the amount of reflection and research you put into this! I have questioned (and continue to do so) almost every behavior I have – except perhaps breathing and blinking – and I’ve come up with an approach that works for me. Alcohol only on Saturday nights. Occasionally, and I do mean occasionally because we’re frugal (or cheap, your call!), we might have one beer or a glass of wine on a Friday. It is rare!

    I find that any more than three drinks on Saturday night is very bad for my sleeping and mood the next day. If I drink too much, I can’t get up and exercise and we exercise every day. I have given up junk food and Diet Coke completely. I was never in good shape in my 20s or 30s because I ate burritos and brownies – not every night, but enough to feel UGH. I am now 42 and feel better than I have since I was a kid!

    I look forward to hearing how it goes for you and thank you for going so in depth! I think this will be helpful to many people!
    Tammy R recently posted…Knowing What to Accept in Your RelationshipMy Profile

    • 28


      Thanks Tammy! So glad you liked this post – I really hope it can help others. Wow, I’d love to have enough energy to exercise every day! Maybe I will once I cut out chocolate too. :) I tend to do a lot of self reflection these days, in the hope that I can improve my future self!

    • 30


      Sounds like a great saving Romona! Sometimes it’s small changes (like changing what you eat for breakfast) that can make a real difference to your health and your pocket over time!

  10. 33


    Thank you for addressing such a delicate topic! I agree with other responses mentioning WATER as a substitute. Recently I doubled my H2O intake and was shocked at how great it made me feel.

    I also like to mix sparkling water with different juices. I’ll throw in some frozen berries too, if I’m feeling crazy -which is often.

    Thanks for starting the conversation!
    Claire M recently posted…How much student loan debt is too much? The answer might surprise you.My Profile

    • 34


      Thanks Claire! :) I’m not so great at drinking ‘just water’ but actually, I think I’m getting a fair bit of water intake with these herbal teas I’ve been consuming? I could perhaps do with a glass of H20 now and then! I like your idea of mixing sparkling water with frozen berries. Super healthy and that sounds delicious.

  11. 35


    I’m a lot like you in that I do enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, but usually stick with one glass. Pretty economical because I put it in the fridge and make it last. That being said if I need to trim the budget that’s the first to go. I don’t ever say “can’t have” though because I tried 30 days of a no alcohol challenge and truthfully it made me feel like an alcoholic because the mentality of it was so off limits. ha ha. So much for that! I’ll just enjoy it moderately. Another thing I could cut out of my budget is dark chocolate. I love it!
    Budget and the Beach recently posted…Breaking My Own Glass CeilingMy Profile

    • 36


      Lol! I love chocolate too – I try not to buy it but sometimes the temptation gets the better of me! I’ve not drank wine for the whole month so far, I’m really quite proud of myself! If I could just stick to one glass it wouldn’t be so much of an issue for me – the money I was spending was one thing but I just felt so tired in addition!

  12. 39


    Hey Hayley, great post and nice name :)

    I am not a drinker and never have been. I have tried wine in the past and hated the taste. I am truly a teetotaler and wouldn’t have it any other way. My not drinking really helps in the wealth and health department and I like the fact that I’m a tad different than most folks :)

    That being said, i don’t judge those who drink, whether it be socially or to excess…I realize some people need an escape and if wine does it for ya, then all the best. Personally though, I’d much rather sit and veg in front of the tele watching episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer as an escape than get caught up in drinking, but that’s juts me :)

    All that to say, good for you and i am glad you are not feeling deprived!

    Oh and I love the word “tipple” :)

    Take care and all the best.

    lyle @ the Joy of Simple recently posted…Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues!!My Profile

    • 40


      Thanks Lyle! I finally feel confident enough to use my name on here – my finances have made me feel kind of ashamed up until recently I think! I’m glad that you can relax and chill out without the need for alcohol. I started drinking socially when I made new friends in college – everyone was doing it, so I jumped on the bandwagon.

      As I got older, I partied less but started to enjoy a glass of wine or two in the evenings – particularly when the stress of the debts got too much to bear. But actually, as you say there are other ways which are cheaper and healthier to relax! Drinking to escape stress is not that helpful overall. :)

      So glad you liked the word ‘tipple’ lol! It is a great word. :)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge