I was pretty sick of writing about serious stuff like investing for retirement, so I decided to talk about the favourite topic for a lot of University students: Alcohol! Specifically, how much is considered appropriate for a post-secondary student or really any young adult (18-25) to consume? I remember sitting around my residence lounge one afternoon when one of my buddies came rushing into the room shouting that we are all alcoholics. This wasn’t exactly earth shattering information (of course the standard joke was made that we, “Weren’t alcoholics because alcoholics went to re-hab, we were merely drunks”) to most of us, but we still wondered why the sudden excitement. My friend then went on to explain that on a whim he had looked up the definition of alcoholic and it was something to the tune of drinking more than 3-5 drinks twice a month made you an alcoholic. At the time many if us had more than 3-5 drinks twice a day, never mind on a monthly basis.
The Memories of a School Teacher…
Recounting these nostalgic memories made me wonder what an acceptable level of alcohol consumption is according to most people. At certain points during my post-secondary experience, I believe I likely averaged about $40-$50 per week on booze of various kinds. Over a university term (18 weeks) that’s about $900, and upon reflection that number seems pretty conservative. I was far from biggest donator the bar/liquor store, but I definitely didn’t shy away from the odd adult beverage. If we look at my compound interest examples from last week, it occurs to me that someone running a blog about how to save, spend and invest money should probably consider that all of that money would have been tens of thousands of dollars thirty years from now when I’m looking at retirement. The thing is, I don’t really regret it. I feel that my level of spending was appropriate for me. I didn’t go into student debt because of it, and I don’t feel that it adversely affected my marks.
Input From a “Non-Alcoholic” Would Be Good
So what is a good benchmark? I wonder if people’s ideas change radically when they are in that stage of their life versus when they have kids that are young adults. It would be interesting to see how people’s opinions change. I also wonder if the stereotypes about alcohol consumption being a larger part of certain Faculties than others are universally true. I have similar thoughts about living in residence (or dorms if you prefer) versus living off-campus. Feel free to chip in with your thoughts as I really have only a single (very biased) point of perspective on all of this.
Does Alcohol Consumption Have Any Correlation To Future Success?
I had a couple of friends who didn’t drink at all going through school for various reasons. They instead bought nice cars and big screen TVs that the rest of us didn’t have. I definitely had more money in my pocket when I was in athletic training mode and rarely if ever consumed alcohol, so maybe the choice really is that simple. On the other hand, I have several friends who would’ve fit absolutely any definition of alcoholic, yet they graduated with astronomical GPAs and are now earning six figure salaries and lead very upstanding, responsible lives.
I guess the very grey conclusion that I’ve come to is that the proper amount of money to spend on alcohol is completely dependant on how much money you have to spend, and if the consumption of that alcohol jeopardizes your potential in any way. As long as it meets these two admittedly vague requirements, I have to say that school is a once-in-life-time experience, so CHEERS! And Bottoms Up!