trip to a vineyard

One Simple Tactic to Save an Extra $600 Annually

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There’s a contagious habit developing among millennial couples of all commitment levels when trying to save extra money.

We caught it.

The lovely…

The soul-sucking…

The delightful…

“Netflix and Wine.” 

We can now blame many a streaming service on this seemingly inevitable habit. There’s Peacock, Hulu, Fubo, Sling, All Access, Max, Prime, Plus… pick a show, just about any show, and it has a home in the streaming cosmos. 

We 80s- and 90s- born kids are a direct target for these platforms – our favorite childhood shows are rerun and reborn on the internet, plucking our nostalgic heart strings one 12-hour-season at a time. 

Nixing the cost of any one of these services could compound into significant savings by the year’s end. 

But, don’t worry, I’m not here to talk about the time suck, or money suck, or soul suck, of a tv-internet-binge.  I’m here to talk these streaming services’ companion, their fellow soul sucker, their ride-or-die in the side car…


Let’s admit it.  Our generation drinks a lot of wine. 

There’s cheap stuff, and mid-level stuff, and sweet stuff, and ice wine, and memes and Insta posts.  There are “Mommy’s Sippy Cup” and stemless stainless tumblers. 

And (since millennials largely portray that experiences are more important than stuff), society has catered to our values: There are bachelorette parties in vineyards.  There are wine tasting classes!  There are grape-stomping excursions.  Wine is delicious.  Wine is fun.  Wine is good for your heart! 

Wine also has a fabulous publicist: wine is a social media darling, always picture-perfect camera ready, consistently exposing her brand like a talentless Kardashian with millions of likes, hashtags, and comments.  (Sorry, that was harsh.  Honestly… They’re geniuses.  They’re bazillionaires built on… what, exactly?  Can anyone point to it?  I digress). 

After we moved to the suburbs and jumped into our house projects, we pridefully cut out the streaming service part, declaring we’d save that extra money. We employed all the tenets we deem essential to Personal Finance 101. We also admitted our wasted time on sustaining the ability to carry out water cooler conversations regarding the latest inhabitant of Litchfield Prison. 

Yet even after ditching the TV habit… we kept the wine part.   

Our Actions Became Habits.

Friday night to celebrate the week’s end?  Let’s grab a bottle of wine.  Having a little bonfire out back?  Hey, let’s have some wine.  Tuesday was a rough day at work?  Here, have a glass.  This habit was only exacerbated by the fact that a liquor store resided a five minute walk away on the corner.  EASY ACCESS! 

Before we knew it, we were buying at least a bottle of wine per week. 

Now, let’s be honest, we don’t drink expensive wine.  Unless it’s a gift for someone else, we generally spend less than $15 per bottle.  (And no, a famous pirate’s grocery store does not sell liquor in its New Jersey locations… otherwise, yes, we would have sprung for three buck chuck, and probably have drunk twice as much.). 

I’d often make excuses and say, sure, I’ll cook with this…I’ll make risotto!  Or a badass sauce!  Or… or…

… no, no you didn’t, Noreen.  You drank it.  Down the hatch.  Bottoms up.  Don’t lie to yourself. 

There was no risotto, or sauce, or…or…. NO, Noreen.  You drank like you were a damn sommelier of affordable vino with your pinky out overlooking a vineyard in Northern Cali. 

Best of luck trying to save extra money whilst wallowing in self denial.

trip to a vineyard
A day at the vineyard. Doubly enjoyable, since vino’s become a treat!

Say Goodbye to Hollywood…

Once we pinpointed our Achilles heel, Derek and I sat down one evening (naturally over a glass of wine) to discuss how we could save more money faster for another investment property. 

We said, “well, we can increase our income, or decrease our spending.”  That’s one principal we’ve learned on our journey to wealth- spend less than we make and keep widening that gap. 

And then we looked in front of ourselves and realized just how much we were drinking. 

Not just our Friday glass, or bonfire pour.  Add to that a family gathering every couple of weeks, a wedding, a friend’s party, a happy hour. 

In addition to our bank accounts, what the heck were we doing to our bodies?  Sure, wine is “good for the heart,” and “everything in moderation.” 

But honestly, I suspect the people who paid for the scientific studies on the efficacy of wine reducing heart disease likely have a stake (pun intended) in the wine industry.  “Everything in moderation” was a recommendation once considered safely applicable to smoking tobacco.  (Just for the record, in the words of my frank father, “that ****’s bad for you.”).   

Following some “I don’t wanna’s” and “but we should’s,” we made a new rule…

No Drinking at Home

We would still allow ourselves to bring or to have whatever we wanted at a party or get-together, but no more just “having a glass of wine” to relax at home.  Or beer, for that matter. 

We keep one small bottle of whiskey in the cabinet in case someone needs a hot toddy when they’re sick or to toast a departed loved one.  (Yes, we do toast when someone departs.  It’s special.) 

If we received wine as a gift, we would store it until we have real occasion to enjoy it.  We would continue to budget for the occasional housewarming or party gift.  That’s it. 

And, the benefit we are all here for? 

We Saved Ourselves a Nice Chunk O’ Change. 

$10-$15 per week was about $40-50 per month.  Let’s just say it was $50 for easy math.  That’s $600 a year!

Six hundred bucks!  We spent $600 annually on headaches, minor hangovers, extra fights, and achy muscles.  How had we convinced ourselves that was a good idea?  Culture.  Memes.  Expectations.  And – the one that gets us millennials every time – “I WANTED IT.”

Well guess what, former selves? We want to reach our financial goals more than we want to down a bottle of Cab Sav.  Since making the big gulp (see what I did there?), that $600 a year has now become over $2,000 in our pockets, ready to deploy for an investment when we see fit. 

In addition, we have also acquired new fringe benefits, like better health, better attitudes, and more energy.

To sum it up, that’s how we save an extra $600 per year.  Simple fix!  And, with a reasonable approach instead of a cold-turkey tactic, we still get to enjoy a brewski or a bottle on a fairly regular basis. 


What habits do YOU kick to save an extra you a chunk of change?  We’d love to know in the comments!   

how to save more money

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