booze en-US The 9 Hidden Costs of Drinking <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-9-hidden-costs-of-drinking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="restaurant drinking" title="restaurant drinking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Drinking isn't cheap. We all know that whether it's a quiet glass of wine at home in the evening or a full-fledged night out on the town, alcohol can cost you. But do you know the <em>true</em> costs? Those that go beyond just the actual price you're paying for that can of Coors or bottle of chianti? (See also: <a href="">How to Make Moonshine</a>)</p> <p>Check out some of the common pitfalls associated with your drinking expenditures, as well as frugal ways to still have your wine and drink it too.</p> <h2>1. Transportation Costs</h2> <p>Taxis, limos, and other chauffeured vehicles are necessary for a responsible night of drinking. However, they don't usually come cheap. Even new ride services like <a href="">Uber</a> can run up the tab. So, what to do when you've had a few, but want to save on your transit costs?</p> <p>If you're lucky enough to live in a city with reliable and safe late night public transportation, by all means take advantage of this cheap alternative to a cab. Another option is to pick nearby restaurants and bars where you can easily walk home. Or, take turns being a designated driver within your entourage each weekend, so that everyone can save and be safe.</p> <h2>2. Restaurant Dining</h2> <p>Having a nice drink with your meal at a restaurant makes for a great night. But, that markup on your drink is hefty. Take wine for example. Some restaurants can <a href="">mark up bottles</a> as high as 400%! And, if you and your other guests start ordering wine by the glass, your bill can skyrocket.</p> <p>First off, if you even think there's a chance that you and another guest will have more than one glass of wine each, then buy the bottle. It's almost always cheaper. Or, find restaurants where you can bring your own drinks (BYOB), and avoid the restaurant markup. Lastly, you can always stick to ordering the restaurant's cheaper drink options, such as domestic beers or house liquors and wines, instead of perusing the more expensive drink menus.</p> <h2>3. The Gracious Host</h2> <p>If you have thrown anything from a dinner party to a wedding, you know that a big chunk of the budget can go to alcohol. Events can get expensive quickly when drinks cost more than your food. Still, the best hosts usually find ways to provide the booze.</p> <p>Short of cutting out the alcohol or forcing a cash bar on guests, try cheaper options, like bulk wine (yes, you could even do wine-in-a-box for the less discerning crowd) or kegs of beer, which all give you a quantity discount. Another option is to make up large batches of your own punch, sangria, or other affordable mixed drinks. This can help save as people can't take the liberty to pour more of the expensive stuff in their concoctions. You can also try for cheaper substitutes. One of my favorites is using Cava instead of Champagne. (See also: <a href="">Discount Luxury: Save 50% or More on 5 Fabulous Substitutions</a>)</p> <h2>4. Late Night Food Run</h2> <p>A late night food run may seem like a fun way to top off your night. However, don't forget that even fast food can cost you, especially if you indulge and aren't thinking as clearly as you might otherwise after having a few drinks.</p> <p>To alleviate the extra spend on calories you probably don't need, try to wait until you get home and eat there where it's cheaper. Fast food restaurants, diners, and food trucks may seem cheap at the time, but they add up. Or, if you are lucky enough to know where to find $1 pizza slices, make sure to only hit up these types of super cheap places if you just can't resist.</p> <h2>5. Running a Tab</h2> <p>Tabs can get out of hand when you slap down a credit card and don't realize how much you are truly spending. And, they can be especially dangerous when you buy drinks for others and are feeling festive (a round of shots anyone?).</p> <p>Next time, try paying cash for your drinks, so you'll be more aware of your spend. If you need to use your credit card, set a limit and ask the bartender to automatically close out your tab once reached. Or, if you are looking to treat others, hit the bar when you can save, such as during happy hour or when regular specials and promotions take place.</p> <h2>6. Shopping and Impulse Buys</h2> <p>Any time you've had a drink during the day, whether it be a lunch date or happy hour splurge, beware of your lowered inhibitions and the expenditures that can follow. It's certainly fun to have lunch and go shopping, but you may overpay or buy stuff on impulse.</p> <p>In order to suppress your urge to splurge, try making sure you have a budget or list in mind before you hit the stores. You can also ask friends to keep you in check or use cash to make sure you don't overspend. And lastly, don't fall into the trap of buying just because whomever you're with starts doing so.</p> <h2>7. Your Crowd</h2> <p>If you run with some high rollers, you may find yourself draining your wallet at fancy clubs and restaurants. The ordinary draft beer at such places can cost you four times more than the pub down the street. And, other beverages are sure to run you a small fortune in such places.</p> <p>To avoid the spend of the rich and famous, perhaps it's time to pick your crowd wisely. You can always go out with more like-minded friends to lower-key establishments. Or, make sure you are the one to pick the venues, so you can choose places with reasonable prices or no cover charges. If you still find yourself confronted with absorbent pricing, limit your intake and stay clear of champagnes and signature mixed drinks, which always run higher than most other items.</p> <h2>8. Health Care Costs</h2> <p>We all know that there's a flip side to most guilty pleasures. Consuming alcohol can affect both your health and your wallet. Continual use or over-consumption can cause a number of <a href="">alcohol related health problems</a>, from liver disorders to heart problems to violence and depression. A <a href="">CDC study</a> has estimated that excessive drinking has cost the country at least $224 billion per year in the past, the majority of which is health care costs. As an individual, this means money lost on doctor's visits, costly procedures, missed pay, decreased quality of life, and higher health insurance premiums.</p> <p>It's obvious that the way to combat such problems is to aim to drink less or not at all. Preventive programs and seeking help for excessive alcohol consumption are measures that can be taken. Be sure to limit binge drinking and search for other ways, besides alcohol, to relax and unwind.</p> <h2>9. Long Term Consequences</h2> <p>Excessive or irresponsible drinking can certainly lead to some grave consequences, especially if you drink and drive. Besides the physical dangers, the <a href="">financial fallout from a DUI</a> is a lot more than you may realize. It has been estimated that by the time you pay bail, legal fees, and insurance, a DUI can cost you $10,000 or more. From the insurance perspective, a DUI will <a href="">increase your premium</a> by several hundred dollars, which can last for up to five years. You may also be required to carry more than the state-mandated amount of coverage, further driving up your costs.</p> <p>The obvious way to avoid such expenses is to not drink and drive. A DUI can do all kinds of harm, much of which can last well beyond the initial offense.</p> <p><em>What are some other extra costs you have come across when it comes to spending on drinks? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 9 Hidden Costs of Drinking" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kelly Medeiros</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Lifestyle alcohol alcohol costs booze drinking wine Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 1171611 at Exercise (and alcohol) good for your brain <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/exercise-and-alcohol-good-for-your-brain" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Booze with glasses" title="Booze with glasses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="211" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a bit of a follow-up to my article on how <a href="/alcohol-is-good-for-your-heart">Alcohol is good for your heart</a>, I wanted to link to this New York Times article: <a href=";en=50ec7d1aef2de5e6&amp;ei=5090&amp;partner=rssuserland&amp;emc=rss">Lobes of Steel</a>.</p> <p>The article describes a study showing that exercise helps human brains build more neurons (a process called neurogenesis). It also reports on some mouse studies that indicate that the exercise actually improves intelligence, at least in mice.</p> <p>It also goes on to list some other things that induce neurogenesis including not only exercise but also marijuana, alcohol (in moderation), sociability, and chocolate.</p> <p>Bad for neurogenesis are saturated fat, sugar, and stress.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Exercise (and alcohol) good for your brain" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Philip Brewer</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Extra Commentary alcohol beer booze Health health issues heart heart disease wine Sun, 19 Aug 2007 18:26:27 +0000 Philip Brewer 1020 at Alcohol is good for your heart <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/alcohol-is-good-for-your-heart" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Booze with glasses" title="Booze with glasses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="211" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After quitting smoking, having one or two drinks a day is the best single thing you can do for your cardiovascular health. It&#39;s better than losing weight, better than getting more exercise, and better than lowering your cholesterol.</p> <p>As the evidence mounted over the past few years, I&#39;ve grown more and more grumpy with the medical community&#39;s hesitance to support moderate alcohol consumption. After doing some research, though, I guess I understand. </p> <p>The benefits to alcohol consumption are absolutely clear. Drinking five to six drinks a week reduces the risk of sudden cardiac death by <a href="">79 percent</a>. It cuts heart attack risk, both in <a href="">men who exercise and eat right</a> and in <a href=";res=9504E6D61F31F930A15750C0A9629C8B63">men with hypertension</a>. It also <a href="">protects against type-2 diabetes and gallstones</a>. In middle-aged women, moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with a <a href="">17% reduction in death from all causes</a>.</p> <p>But it&#39;s that &quot;all causes&quot; thing that turns the medical community into cowards on this issue. Death and injury rates due to things like accidents, suicide, and liver disease start increasing even at moderate levels of drinking (one to two drinks a day) and spike up very quickly with higher alcohol consumption.</p> <p>Although there are probably some additional benefits from the antioxidents found in red wine and some beers, most of the benefit seems to come from the alcohol itself, which both <a href="">raises HDL cholesterol and reduces dangerous blood clots</a>, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, which goes on to talk about other good things associated with moderate alcohol consumption:</p> <blockquote><p>The social and psychological benefits of alcohol can&#39;t be ignored. A drink before a meal can improve digestion or offer a soothing respite at the end of a stressful day; the occasional drink with friends can be a social tonic. These physical and psychic effects may contribute to health and wellbeing.</p> </blockquote> <p>I can see why health experts don&#39;t want to give people the idea that having a couple of drinks is a substitute for a healthy lifesetyle, nor find themselves acting as enablers for an alcoholic in denial. But even after looking at those downsides, I wish they&#39;d be a bit more willing to recommend light-to-moderate drinking for its health benefits. It would save lives. </p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Alcohol is good for your heart" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Philip Brewer</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Health and Beauty Lifestyle alcohol beer booze Health health issues heart heart disease wine Sun, 12 Aug 2007 00:35:58 +0000 Philip Brewer 982 at To life, to life, la kayim! The joy of home-enhanced booze. <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/cherry1.jpg" alt="Cherry poppin&#39; cocktails" title="Breakfast of Champions" width="160" height="106" align="right" /></p> <p>OK, so this is too late for Christmas, but there&#39;s still time before New Year&#39;s to try this out. I was pondering the range of joy and sorrow that is the homemade gift. </p> <p>Now, some homemade gifts are terrible. I mean, terrible. There are macrame plant holders in my past that I&#39;d really rather not discuss. My best friend once received a crotchless lace bodysuit - from her boyfriend&#39;s grandmother. Some homemade gifts, however, such as my Aunt&#39;s famous homemade pickles, are so fantastic that family members come to fisticuffs over who receives her (rather scant) annual bestowal of two jars of pickles (this year, it was my turn). </p> <p>I&#39;m a lousy baker. Every year, my boyfriend returns from work with bags and bags of scrumptious cookies, fudge, pastries, and other ass-widening goodness that his coworkers&#39; wives whip up and hand out for the holiday season. I feel simultaneously bemused and jealous. <em>Aw, Suzy Homemaker made some delicious cookies.</em> <strong>God. I wish I could do that.</strong> But seeing as how I can&#39;t, I&#39;d rather send my man off to the holiday work week with a bag of many bottles of good Polish vodka, but that can be pricey.</p> <p>A few weeks ago, I read a small article in one of my favorite homemaker magazines (Sunset? Better Homes and Gardens?) about creating your own infused vodka. Apparently, vodka&#39;s not just for mixing anymore (we people of Slavic descent realize that vodka should be consumed like water, but apparently the rest of y&#39;all <em>have been mixing it with other non-alcoholic beverages</em> to create &quot;cocktails&quot;). New, infused vodka flavors are served over ice, or with neutral flavored soda pop as a mixer. </p> <p>Sure, sure, you&#39;re thinking, but Absolut makes their own flavored vodkas already (including black pepper, which for some reason, NO ONE TOLD ME ABOUT UNTIL YESTERDAY) - why go to the trouble of creating your own?</p> <p>Well, for one, it&#39;s cheaper. You can buy a plain, less-expensive bottle of vodka (a HUGE one, if you live in Las Vegas) and divvy it up into small batches that you can give as gifts or enjoy before work in the morning. Also, you can create a much wider variety of vodka flavors. Why limit yourself? Imagine receiving a gift basket of five different, exotic flavors of vodka - would YOU complain?</p> <p>Apparently, the process is easy. Vodka kills most germs, so while you probably don&#39;t want to go throwing a bunch of scummy socks into a bottle to see if Eau de My Feet is popular with your drinking buddies, you apparently don&#39;t have to worry too much about spoilage. That said, you should wash fruit and fruit peels before using any part of them.</p> <p>For fruit-infused vodkas, you can apparently drop entire berries, or slices of citrus fruits, right into the bottle. Popular vodka infusion flavors include raspberry, lemon, orange, and (the now annoyingly ubiquitous) pomegranate. Play-it-safers also like coconut, cranberry, vanilla (yawn), and espresso.</p> <p>I&#39;m personally going to try out lavender, rose, green peppercorn, elderberry, mango, kumquat (because I like the word), star anise, ginger, chamomile, jasmine flower, and a variety of tea flavors.</p> <p>According the article that I originally read, but now cannot find, you should let the ingredients infuse the vodka for something like six months to ensure that you get peak flavor. However, other online recipes say that a couple of days is enough for some of the fruit infusions. Also, I suppose you could always put a &quot;Don&#39;t enjoy until&quot; sticker on each tiny, adorable bottle to ensure that the yummy fruit flavors are fully distributed throughout the bottle.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"> article on infused vodkas</a><br />Sunset Magazine <a href=";recipe_id=640893" target="_blank">recipe 1</a> and <a href=";recipe_id=1110263" target="_blank">2</a> <br /><a href="" target="_blank">Great picture of infused vodkas (I think)</a></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="To life, to life, la kayim! The joy of home-enhanced booze." rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Andrea Karim</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink booze Christmas drinking gifts Holidays party Wed, 27 Dec 2006 22:28:50 +0000 Andrea Karim 119 at