I’m Officially Giving Up Beer…

…At least for the next 40 days ;) Why do such a horrible thing, you might ask? ‘Cuz it’s the season of Lent, baby! Gotta get my Catholic on for our Lord’s honor. And what’s harder than giving up BEER to show you love him? Haha…

I think it’s actually the hardest one I have yet tried to tackle over my reformed years :) And it’ll save me a cool $100-$200 at the very least too! So you gotta love that… It’s actually been over 7 days already since I’ve had my last drop of alcohol (I downed an entire bottle of red wine which I later regretted), so it’ll be a nice change as well as a challenge.

Here are some past habits I’ve (pretty successfully) tried giving up:

  • 2012: No candy/chocolate/desserts. Probably one of the easier ones I’ve done – though it was tough giving up my mint chocolate chip ice cream :(
  • 2011: No cursing.  I failed 31 times in the first two weeks, but then got much MUCH better afterwards ;) And now I rarely curse, which is great. I’ve gotta baby listening to me!
  • 2010: Still can’t remember what I gave up this year – I probably skipped it by accident.
  • 2009: No complaining. This was a GREAT one to try out – it’s amazing how much you catch yourself being so negative. It affect all those around you too!
  • 2008: Gave up shopping. And this one was the BEST FINANCIAL MOVE I have ever made hands down… I went from shopping 3 times a week spending $300-$400 a month to maybe walking into a store once a month now! This one experiment has lasted over 5 years now, and it still affects me and my finances each and every week – I love it. Highly recommend trying this one out if you haven’t yet too – it’s amazing what you find out about yourself and your habits.
  • 2007: Gave up soda. Went from 2 Diet Cokes a day to maybe 1 Coke a week now – another habit that has helped me for the good!

And now we see how this beer and alcohol thing goes! Oh, I’m making it a “no alcohol whatsoever” deal btw – not gonna try and give myself a way out and merely switch to liquor or wine or whatever! I really want to see if I can accomlish this, and how it affects me going forward just like all those other years have done over time… It’ll be the first time going that long since before college started! Haha… man that’s scary.

Anyone want to join me? Anyone else celebrating Lent this year? I know it’s one of those things that doesn’t make sense to a lot of non-Catholics (or even Catholics for that matter!), but I see it as a way to hit pause and better my own life along with those around me each year. I think that can be important whether it’s tied to religion or not – and even better when it saves money in the process! ;)

PS: Searching beer pics for today’s post? Yeah, that was torture.

{Photo by Metro Centric}

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  1. My Financial Independence Journey February 19, 2013 at 5:49 AM

    Depending on how much beer your drink, you might also find that you will lose some wight over the next 40 days. Cutting alcohol was a huge part of a very successful weight loss plan that I implemented a few years ago. As much as I like my booze, it is empty calories.

    1. Edward Antrobus February 19, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      It’s amazing how many calories it has. When my cousin switched to Bud Light a few years ago, he lost 20lbs.

      1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:03 AM

        I may lose a pound or two but nothing super noticeable – fortunately I have a crazy high metabolism :) But maybe I’ll feel better overall?

  2. Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle February 19, 2013 at 6:16 AM

    Not Catholic and not a drinker but of the opinion that your pope has done a good thing resigning when he is not strong enough to be the boss anymore. It appears he is more interested in the future of the church than his own legacy and should be commended for that.

    On the financial side I do not drink very often because then I would have to take a taxi home. 5 minute drive from downtown to my house but it is a $20.00 taxi charge.

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:03 AM

      That’s enough to cut back on drinking :)

  3. Jennifer February 19, 2013 at 6:47 AM

    Protestant, and participating in Lent the first time but no financial impact. I gave up watching tv by myself. I used to watch hours of Netflix/Hulu each day whether solely focused or just listening as I care for our infant son or house. We already dropped cable and I now watch just a few shows a week with my husband instead of a few hours each day. So far baby and house get extra attention, we get outside more, and I am taking more naps. Spiritually, I am reading way more Scripture, get more prayer and reflection time too!

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:05 AM

      Awesome!!! Way to go! I used to be that way with MySpace back in the day – I’d be on there for hours wasting away and needed something more productive to replace it with, and out popped this blog!

  4. Erin February 19, 2013 at 6:49 AM

    Lent-er here (and Protestant BTW). Giving up TV this year…so far, definitely the hardest one I’ve ever done. But also the most needed.
    My husband and I are also fasting on Mondays with our church. We felt like the TV thing was important, but the fasting is more of a community thing, since we are supposed to break the fast together Monday nights.

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:05 AM

      You and Jennifer above are in it together – very cool :)

  5. Lance @ Money Life and More February 19, 2013 at 7:18 AM

    Good for you! I think it’ll be hard at first but it won’t be a big deal by the end. And maybe you’ll decide it wasn’t worth it?

    Have there been any studies about a beer a day making you healthier? I know there has been for wine but not sure about beer…

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      I’m pretty sure beer has similar affects like wine. Good for the heart, but the trick is stopping after one which is always hard/not fun to do ;)

  6. Sense February 19, 2013 at 7:20 AM

    Wow, there are so many options: TV, internet, chips, chocolate, candy, staying up past my bedtime…I’d love to see if I could give it all up.

    Tomorrow. Yeah. I’ll start tomorrow.

    Good luck on your non alcoholic journey! You can dew eet!

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:07 AM

      Haha… are you going to at least pick ONE and try it out with me? :)

  7. Tony@WeOnlyDoThisOnce February 19, 2013 at 7:33 AM

    Hey man, I can’t join you on this one. I love my wine SO much! When I started training for a triathlon last September I stopped drinking (not on purpose!) for about 5 weeks. I have to admit, I never felt better in my life, but alas…

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:07 AM

      Give something else up and see if you can do it :)

  8. Nicole February 19, 2013 at 7:41 AM

    I gave up Facebook for Lent. I had gotten to the point where I always had it open on my computer and wasted a lot of time on it. I’m focusing on real-life relationships and actual conversations instead of random wall posts.

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:08 AM

      GOOD FOR YOU!!!! I gave up my personal account the other week and am loving it so far. And my wife is considering giving it up for Lent now too, just like you :) We’ll see if she does it or not, but either way I agree it can control more of your life than you wish.

  9. Brian February 19, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    Yeah, St Patricks day is right in the middle of this and since I play an Irish Sport and this is one of our key recruiting times, there is pretty much zero chance I could give up beer (I could totally do it every day but that weekend). I’m not saying you have to drink to play our sport, but “afters” are a great way to make people feel welcome and have them stick around!

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      Hey, you don’t have to convince me – if I had a similar weekend I wouldn’t have done it either ;) Drinking is GREAT for networking, no doubt about it.

  10. Mary February 19, 2013 at 8:11 AM

    Catholic here! The past few years I have given up meat. Yes, all meat for 40 days. My fiance who is a meat and potatoes guy joined me once and vowed never to do so again. :) But since I do that each year now, I try to tack on one or two other things I need to work on. This year it’s no meat and no sweets/candy/ice cream/sugar (ie no soda or lemonade but I will be having jam with my english muffin) as well as no eating out. I also try to change something about myself so I am not complaining about the music/singers/readers at church for 40 days also.

    My future brother-in-law gave up all alcohol for Lent a couple years ago. He’s a partying sort of guy and loves a good beer with friends so this was very difficult for him. Good luck!!!

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:11 AM

      Wowwww no meat would be TOUGH. Probably more so than beer! I rarely get filled up without some sort of meat on my plate so I’d be starving! Like your fiance probably was too, haha… Although I do give him mad credit for trying it out – he must really love you :)

  11. CR February 19, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    I gave up alcohol last year and this year im giving up soda! People ask me why (because im not religious), and I say “completing challenges to be healthier/wealthier is what life is all about!”

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:12 AM

      You know it! One of the best things I’ve given up too over the years – you’ll love it :)

  12. Life [Comma] Etc February 19, 2013 at 8:20 AM

    I am celebrating Lent myself — even harder now that my husband is converting and will be baptized at Easter!

    I am still toying with what I will be giving up, but it’s okay because until I figure it out I am intentionally giving up/adding a lot of good and bad habits!

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:12 AM

      That works :) Sometimes it can take a while to really find something to challenge yourself on. Congrats to your husband on his conversion!

  13. Pauline February 19, 2013 at 8:22 AM

    Interesting how Lent has helped you get rid of the habits. 40 days seems to be long enough not to revert back afterwards.

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:14 AM

      Yup! Enough to get over the initial hard-as-hell hump, and into more habit forming routines. I think the Big Man was smart when forming all this ;)

  14. Brent Pittman February 19, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    Many evangelical Christians are practicing Lent in recent years too. I’ve been doing it for years now. I usually do coffee + something that consumes my time…this year is Facebook.

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:19 AM

      Yeah, I always forget what other religions celebrate Lent – love hearing that lots do though :)

  15. Cat February 19, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    Good Luck! This is a great one! I’d give up alcohol too, but I did that when I started running and now I barely drink much anymore anyway. Unless I’m out of course :) It will certainly save you a penny or two!

  16. Cait February 19, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    I think I need to give up chips. My addiction has gotten pretty ridiculously, lately.

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      Haha, try it!

  17. Walnut February 19, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    No snacking for this individual for Lent this year and it is harder than I thought – especially when the girl scouts show up!

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      YES!!! That happened to me too when I gave up snacks – I bought like 4 boxes and then had to hide them from myself until it was all over! So hard! :)

  18. Budget & the Beach February 19, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    I’ve learned that not giving up things is key to my success to change habits which are not that good for me (like diet coke). I slowly cut back and now I only have one once in a great while. To cut myself off completely would only make me want it more. Of course that goes beside the point of lent. Luckily I’m a lapsed catholic. :)

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      I’m pretty sure Diet Coke has crack cocaine in it ;)

  19. Financial Black Sheep February 19, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    I’m on a no-spending challenge until April when I payoff debt. Does that count? I am not Catholic, but have plenty of family and friends who are/were, so I respect your giving up stuff for lent. I think this is the best idea you have had yet.

    I always find I can cut myself off completely and fight through it. I gave up a lot of stuff like that, and I can do it pretty hard-core. I am hoping all of this delayed gratification stuff works out in my favor. (I have been reading too many psychology books lol.)

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:23 AM

      Yeah it’s pretty awesome because not only do you cut out bad habits or gain good new ones, but it’s a serious challenge to willpower as well. So you feel GREAT when you accomplish it at the end on top of it all!

  20. Johnny @ Our Freaking Budget February 19, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    Not a drinker, but I’m a Diet Coke-holic. And you’d think twice before trying to snatch one from my hands. It’d get ugly. I drink one, sometimes two a day. I like the idea of not needing to drink one every morning, I’ve just never heard a compelling enough reason to stop. If you’ve got a reason, I’m all ears.

    Best of luck with your 40 days of sobriety.

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:24 AM

      Haha, I’ll remember that if we ever meet in real life. That’s how I am with coffee – maybe I’ll try and give up that next year and see if I survive??? This blog would suck during it though – I’m much more fun caffeinated ;)

  21. Christopher @ This that and the MBA February 19, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    I am going to try to practice more during lent. I got my ashes, but having 2 little kids it is just so hard to get everyone ready and on the same page. We really should go more than we do. I definitely do the no meat on friday, it stinks for me cuz I don’t like fish. So I pack on the carbs with pizza.

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 11:28 AM

      I bet that’s hard :( We didn’t even make it to Ash Wednesday! We rarely make it out in one piece from church when Baby Money is gabbing all about, haha…

  22. Emmy February 19, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Remember how I tried giving up shopping last year?
    It worked for the 40 days. It was wonderful. I saved so much money.
    Then the day after Easter… my mom, sister, and I hit up the mall. SIGH. You’d think I’d learn something.
    This year I’m doing something a bit different. I saw it on Rachel Held Evans blog and thought I would give it a go. Instead of giving something up, I’m recognizing the “Divine Hours.” Basically, having a time of prayer and meditation three times a day. I have a book for the Divine Hours during Lent, and it’s been interesting. It’s much more liturgical than I’m used to, but cool in a way. The hardest part is for me to actually FOCUS on what I’m reading/praying/saying/singing and not just go through the motions so I can check it off of my “to do” list for the day.

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 4:11 PM

      oh, interesting! I’d probably be up for trying that once a day over 3 (that sounds like a lot!), but yeah – if you could get into a good habit like that and carry it through going forward I bet your life would be a ton less stressful :) somewhere I read said to even just give yourself 5 mins a day of doing and thinking of completely nothing as it’ll help slow things down too. I guess like meditation but keeping a blank mind? (or is that what meditation is? haha… I have no idea)

  23. MoneyStreetSmart February 19, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    Thats a great way to save some money. Depending on where you live and how much tax is implemented on alcohol and tabacco sales, you save $100-$200 however, I am sure there are people who consume far more (both at home and going out) that could make that total significantly increase.

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 4:12 PM

      Oh yeah. I used to spend $400-$500 a mo on beer back in my “youth!”

  24. Samantha February 19, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    I gave up chocolate. Its been harder than I thought but I’m hoping I can cut the cravings!

  25. Edward Antrobus February 19, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Haha, I’ve got an unfinished glass of Merlot on my desk right now. The last time I had a beer would have been maybe 6 weeks ago when we went out to a bar for the birthday of one of my wife’s coworkers.

  26. Retire By 40 February 19, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    I only drink one or two beers every few weeks. I love it though so I don’t see the need to give it up. Anyway, have a good lent…

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 4:12 PM

      It is harder when you love it a lot :)

  27. Melinda Gonzalez February 19, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    I am not catholic, but I respect the lent celebration. Most of my friends do this, and honestly I try to stay away from them the first few weeks. Take away people’s caffeine, sugar, and alcohol and people can a little cranky.

    I gave up my biggest addiction, diet soda. All it took was me reading an article about diet coke causing kidney failure. I stopped right then and there. Now, if I could just find an article linking chocolate to death…

    Hope the beer situation works out :)

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 4:13 PM

      HAH! That is crazy scary! I love me some Diet Coke!! (Also, I thought your blog url was “budgetinginCOKE” for a hot second, haha… cake makes more sense :))

  28. Dr. Sheba February 19, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    That’s the same thing I’m doing for Lent! I’m not Catholic, but I usually participate because I think it’s a great idea to sacrifice something. I drink alcohol just about every weekend, so it will definitely be a challenge for me. Who knows, I may stop it for more than 40 days!

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 4:14 PM

      Let’s see how we are in another 30+ days from now! We can do it!

  29. Chris February 19, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    I am not religious, but I am giving up GMO best I can. Since I’ve started I’ve felt like 100 times better than before. I’ll tell you what, when you read food labels…the things you find. They put soy in EVERYTHING! All soy is GMO so that pretty much cuts everything out.

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 4:16 PM

      No idea what GMO is, but seems like your plan is working! Way to go! :)

  30. YarPer February 19, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    I am not religions, but I think I definitely don’t think it would hurt me to put down my credit/debit cards for at least that long. I REALLY fell off the proverbial wagon with my finances this month. :-(

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 4:17 PM

      Then give it a shot!! Not using credit/debit would be an INCREDIBLE feat if you could pull that off – and at the very worst you save lots of money!

  31. Midwest February 19, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    I’m a fellow catholic and am giving up alcohol again for the third year. I’ve found that it’s not as hard as you’d think, and it often lasts for months after lent. I always lose weight, feel better, etc… This year, my wife is even joining me.

    Free diet mt. dew refills at the bar and you’re golden!

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 4:18 PM

      Haha… I’ve been substituting it with iced tea so far but I def. miss it!

  32. Erin S February 19, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Here it is! I was beginning to think I missed your Lent post this year!

    Chocolate, candy, fast food and soda. Was I supposed to pick just one? :)

    Being pregnant and/or nursing for 3.5 years straight put a big dent in my alcohol consumption and now I find I drink it a lot less than I did before, but when I drink it, watch out, because it apparently didn’t have any negative affect on my tolerance!

    I’m hoping to keep it up after Lent and start cutting out other sweets because I am a serious sucker for cake. It’s funny though, whether it is sweets or fast food, you really start to crave it less or not at all when you cut it out!

    1. Erin S February 19, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      Oh, and I thought giving up mocha in my coffee/latte was going to be really hard because I always drink it that way, but I have actually found SO many flavors and combinations that I really like and baristas are always willing to give me suggestions when I mention it is for Lent. It’s actually working out to be a great thing!

      1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 4:20 PM

        Sweet!!! No pun intended! :) I almost forgot about my Lent post too! Haha… seems like I’m late every year though :)

  33. Mo' Money Mo' Houses February 19, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    I’m doing a similar challenge for 30 days, no alcohol. It ain’t easy but I am losing weight and saving money. Good luck!

  34. Grayson @ Debt Roundup February 19, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Stop the madness!!! I am a lover of beer and all things beer. This one would be very hard for me, but best of luck to you.

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 4:20 PM

      It was time to step it up a notch ;) Have never tried this one before!

  35. KK @ Student Debt Survivor February 19, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    No beer, ouch. I don’t drink a lot, but when I do I want to have at least 2, maybe 3. BF’s Catholic, this post reminds me to ask him what he’s giving up. I’m not Catholic, but am thinking maybe I’ll give up candy/chocolate for a weight loss/eat healtheir perspective.

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      Better check up on him then ;)

  36. Karen @MSEnthusiast February 19, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    I’ll join you. I’ll give up chocolate for Lent. Beer is too hard.;0)

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      Haha it IS hard!

  37. Michelle February 20, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    I gave up complaining this year. BTW, I’m not Catholic-I just love observing Lent!

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 4:22 PM

      Good for you :) I gave that one up the other year and I’ve been so much better for it since.

  38. Sean @ One Smart Dollar February 20, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Giving up beer? Say it isn’t so. :-)

    Until my Mom said something on Friday I didn’t even realize it was lent. Guess I missed the boat this year.

    1. J. Money February 20, 2013 at 4:22 PM

      No one stopping you from starting late ;) I challenge you to a beer duel!

  39. Bryan February 20, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    I opted to give up honking at people out of anger (my wife tells me the honking habit is a problem). I’ve done okay so far, but I did honk at somebody today — but I thought they were going to side-swipe me if I didn’t honk, so it wasn’t really out of anger. I think I’m okay.

    1. J. Money February 21, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      Haha yes, it’s okay to honk where appropriate ;)

  40. James H. February 21, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    I am Catholic and I will be giving up your 2012 sacrifice of candy (chocolate) and any regular soda. I eat too much chocolate and soda anyway and my waistline could use a break.

    Even if you aren’t Catholic; it’s a great tradition to show self-sacrifice for a greater cause.

    1. J. Money February 21, 2013 at 2:19 PM


  41. Laura February 21, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    I’m not Catholic, but I went to a Catholic university. Seeing a lot of my friends do it, I started my freshman year, and I’ve been going ever since.
    I use it as a time to examine my life and see what I’ve gotten a little too dependent on for comfort and then cut it out of my life to show that I’m stronger than my mind’s cravings! Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to banish the behavior year round.
    This year it’s popcorn and tortilla chips. Love my salty snacks, but I definitely don’t NEED them.

  42. J. Money February 23, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    Haha, I like that :) And man, that Basilica at Catholic University?? So pretty!! We visited there the other month and it’s like a hidden gem, wow.

  43. MakinSense Babe February 24, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    Oh.Boy. you’re crazy.
    While we’re not talking about beer for 40 days, check this out. I just saw them present at an event and they made it sound very simple…..I might try to brew some…..!


  44. J. Money February 25, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    FUN!!! If you get it and brew it before 40 days is up, will you let me know??? I’m totally on that $hit if you approve after trying it – so cool!

  45. Mileva February 26, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    I’m giving up watching tv alone. I can lose a day getting sucked into a new series on netflix or hulu, or jumping down the rabbit hole of youtube. But I’m still keeping it social and watching tv with other people. It may be a crutch, but I’m taking it. I think it will free up more time to finish homework and some of those “to-do” items I’ve been procrastinating about.

  46. J. Money February 27, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    Haha there you go. Can totally relate to that :)

  47. Jennifer H March 29, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    I didn’t up anything for Lent this year – rather I vowed to get something since I had been out of work for seven months. My Lenten thing was during the 40 days I vowed to find a job that I love. And I did! Temp hire during March and starting permanently on April 1!

  48. J. Money March 29, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Way to go!!! Man that’s an awesome one :)

  49. Sue D March 31, 2013 at 7:44 AM

    I decided to quit watching the news and reading the newspaper, why bother? Someone pointed out to me that I gave it up just in time for Lent, so I accidentally gave it up on time.

  50. J. Money April 1, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    Haha… I tend to watch/read less and less of news too – 90% of the time it’s so depressing and I can’t take it.