In short: $249 billion dollar a year. According to a recent study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), that’s the country’s bill for excessive alcohol use each year. However, findings suggest that the true cost of excessive drinking may be even higher than estimated due to the underreporting or unavailability of information on alcohol.

From liver damage to impaired judgement and increase risk of accidents, the effects of overindulgence can be far-reaching. Excessive alcohol use not only takes a toll on our well-being but also on our wallets.

What exactly is “excessive alcohol use?” For the purposes of this blog post, it’s mostly binge drinking: five or more drinks per outing for men and four or more drinks for women. 

Based on the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 60 million individuals admitted to engaging in binge drinking within the a typical month.

When you factor in the lost workplace productivity, healthcare, court fees, accidents and property damage, it becomes evident how the cost has escalated to its current state. 

Here are some of the hidden costs of excessive drinking: 

The Price of Drinks

Let’s start with the obvious – the price of drinks themselves. Whether you’re at a bar, restaurant, or purchasing for a night-in, the cost of alcohol can quickly add up. A few drinks here and there might not break the bank, but a night of drinking can leave a significant dent in your wallet. It’s important to be mindful of your spending when it comes to alcohol consumption.

While enjoying a glass of wine or a pint of beer with a meal can enhance the experience, it can also inflate the bill. Many restaurants charge a premium for alcoholic beverages, and if you’re dining out frequently, those costs can accumulate quickly. Consider opting for non-alcoholic alternatives or limiting your alcohol consumption to save some money.


After a night of drinking, the responsible thing to do is to find a safe way to get home. Relying on taxis, rideshares, or public transportation can quickly become an expensive habit. Regularly using these services after consuming alcohol can put a strain on your budget. It’s crucial to factor in the cost of transportation when considering the overall expense of excessive drinking. 

Although rideshares and alternative transportation may come with a cost, they are always a safer and more responsible choice compared to driving under the influence.

Medical Expenses

The long-term health consequences of excessive alcohol use can have significant financial implications. Liver damage, impaired judgement, and an increased risk of accidents can lead to medical expenses, lost income due to missed work, and increased insurance premiums. 

Overall, your hangover could be costing much more than you think.