Breaking the Seal and Breaking the Bank. Your Student Life for the Week of 11/15/20

November 15, 2020

Many of the conversations around alcohol use revolve around either your physical and mental health, and physical safety while drinking. It makes sense why that might be, they are some of the most obvious and tangible negative consequences that come with use. However, it made me think: What are some of the other unintended consequences of drinking that we don’t think about so quickly? And better yet, what are some of the positive things that could come from refraining from drinking? Being a broke college student, I’ve been aware of my finances for a few years now. That begs the question: How much do college students spend on alcohol?  

According to the Huffington Post, even if you limit your drinking to the weekends, the average American can expect to spend $2,500 annually on alcohol alone. This does not include extra expenses that are often associated with drinking (think tips for the bartender, Uber/Lyft, food). This number assumes that a person is drinking only two (2) drinks per outing! This phenomenon can be described as “the latte factor.” This means that seemingly small purchases (an $8 drink) purchased frequently can add up over time to a large number ($2,500).   

While spending $2,500 on anything may make you cringe the way it makes me cringe, I wanted to take a look at some of the things that I would buy if I had that extra cash laying around. Of course I could invest it or pay down student loans, and I’m sure Ben, our Financial Wellness Coordinator, would advocate for that, but this is hypothetical! Feel free to think about what you may spend your extra money on! Here are the things I plan to acquire with the extra money from one year:  


The iPad Pro ($999) 

I enjoy staying up on gadgets as much as the next person. This iPad is INSANE! Plus, I came to Ohio State just before the incoming classes got iPads, touchy topic. I need one to take notes on like a cool person. Moving on!  

$2,500 – $999 = $1,501  

New TaylorMade golf clubs ($699) 

New clubs means a better golfer, right? I’m really bad at golf, so I hope so! I would want to buy golf clubs because it would assist in my self-care activity. The better I play the more successful my self-care.  

$1,501 – $699 = $802  

A few pair of new shoes of course! ($600 – I would buy four pairs. Don’t judge me) 

What can I say? I love a good pair of shoes! Ultraboosts, Jordans, Nikes, and more. This money will go to good use in the style department.  

$802 – $600 = $202  

I just upped my golf game, my shoe game and became cool, and I still have a good chunk of money left over! It blew my mind how much the average person spends on alcohol in a given year and made me realize there are some pretty cool things I could spend it on instead (or invest in, of course).   

Cameron Justice 

Student Life Student Wellness Center intern 

Geena Crosby 

Wellness Coordinator, Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention 
Student Wellness Center 
Office of Student Life