Would you give up alcohol to help balance the family budget?
I posed that very question on social media recently. These were some of the answers I got:
"Gosh no - it's what gets us through the week."
"As if that would ever happen."
And so on, in the same vein. Most responses ranged from sarcastic to outright incredulous.
But one other answer stood out, which got to the heart of the matter:
"I quit drinking - and it was like we won the lottery!"
And there's the rub. We all tend to complain, in an era of stagnant incomes and rising prices, about how we just can't make ends meet. There is just no place we could possibly find more savings.
But is that really true? Consider this: The average U.S. household spent $445 on wine, beer and spirits in 2013, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That amounts to roughly 1 percent of our household expenditures, and it compares with an average household figure of $268 in 1993.