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I love beer. I do! And if you know me, alcohol tracking probably wouldn’t be something you would think I should waste my time with since I’m not a huge drinker. But it’s a fun little experiment I’ve decided to do regardless.
Did I mention that I love beer? Even a glass of lemonade on a hot day just doesn’t quite have the same refreshingness that an ice-cold beer seems to provide. Nevertheless, I know it’s not good for me and I’d like to cut back.
But just like managing your finances, the first step to gaining control is actually knowing where you stand.
I use Empower (formerly Personal Capital) to be able to track our spending and investments. That helps me understand where we’re at and where we need to be. It’s a major part of what helped us reach financial independence.
But I don’t have anything to track my beer, bloody mary, and piña colada intake… and that’s a problem. So I decided that it would be useful to start recording that as well. And what better way to do a little alcohol tracking than with a spreadsheet?!
So here’s some more scoop on why I created it, how it works, and how to get your own copy of it.
I’m not a heavy drinker
As I mentioned, I’m probably not what you would consider a heavy drinker. It’s not unusual for me to drink just a single beer in a sitting and call it a day. Sometimes though I’ll push that up to a couple of drinks.
Now, that’s definitely not always the case. If I’m out with friends or on a special occasion, well, let’s just say that that number can go up quite a bit more. And that does happen every so often.
Most of the time though, I’ll just drink a beer or two a few days a week.
In other words, I do drink regularly, just not very much each time.
Funny enough, I talked to my cousin last month who was very interested in using this alcohol tracking spreadsheet. His habits tend to be different in that he might not drink for a couple of weeks. But when he does… he goes all in.
Different strokes for different folks. He and I are going to be comparing our averages over the course of this year just to see where we stand in our habits.
Why start alcohol tracking?
First off, I like to do little experiments once in a while… sort of a “hmm, I wonder if I could…” I remember once in college, I quit drinking for 3 months just to see if I could do it, which I did. Easy peasy.
After that though, I went the other direction and wanted to see if I could drink at least one beer every day for 30 days. You might not think it, but it was much harder to do this experiment. Some days, you don’t even want to think about alcohol, and forcing a beer down is a tough one… but I did pull off the 30 days successfully.
So little experiments like these crop up in my head from time to time.
In a spur-of-the-moment decision, I decided this past New Year’s Eve that I was going to take a short break from drinking. Call it a resolution if you want though normally if I want to make a change, I just do it instead of waiting for a random day of the year.
This time, however, I had two good reasons to take a small break:
- With the 1st of the year being my first day not drinking, it would be beyond easy to know how many days it had been since I had a drink.
- I had a volcano to climb on January 26 (which was awesome, by the way!). Taking a break while in training for this made a lot of sense.
So I stopped drinking with a duration in mind of maybe a couple of weeks. Then, after talking to my cousin about what I was doing, he decided he wanted in. So we ended up making a wager to see who could go the longest without drinking. The loser has to take the other out for a night at the bar once we move back to Ohio (really we both win on this one).
He ended up caving on January 22 because he was at a birthday party for him and a few of his old college friends. He knew it was going to happen but it was a good run anyway.
What’s nice is that this little bet was a good way to help motivate each other to drink a little less.
January was a tough month for me though. We attended a couple of get-togethers, met friends at the bar once, and went to a party… but I stayed strong. Normally, with any of these things, I would be cracking open a beer right off the rip.
My plan was to have my first beer once I got back from climbing Volcán Barú on January 26.
Well, I didn’t.
I decided that I was so close to 30 days that I might as well keep going. Sure enough, I was ready and had a couple of drinks on February 1.
The month of January is also when I started working on the Alcohol Tracking spreadsheet. I was curious how much I’m drinking on a normal basis.
People tend to underestimate how much they’re drinking, whether that’s subconsciously or not. When the doctor asks you how many drinks you regularly have, do you know the answer? Apparently, most of us tend to think it’s a lot lower than it is.
So I wanted a quick and easy way to know where I stood… and I happen to enjoy toying with spreadsheets.
Enter the alcohol tracking spreadsheet.
Tell me more about this Alcohol Tracking spreadsheet, Jim!
Now, before I get into all the details, know that there are apps out there that can help you with alcohol tracking. But I wanted something I could customize to my liking and be able to keep my historical data. If you decide to get rid of an app or it gets pulled from the app store, you’re now SOL. With a spreadsheet though, it’s all yours.
Bear in mind that this was something I initially started making just for my needs so it’s not anything ridiculously fancy. I initially wasn’t planning on sharing it with all of you, but then I decided why not? You’re worth it!
The idea is simple: when you have a drink, you just mark it in the spreadsheet. That’s it. The spreadsheet then will tell you all the fun stats like:
- Drink counts for the day, the week, and the year, both as a whole and for different drink types (i.e. beer, wine, mixed drink, etc.)
- How many days you’ve gone without a drink this year and the date of your last drink
- Your daily and weekly average on drinks for the year
There are a few simple things you need to do to set it up that I detail more in the spreadsheet:
- Save a copy to your Google Drive
- Make changes to the template if desired
- Duplicate the template and rename it to the current year (you’ll do this each year)
Each tab is designed to be its own year. At the end of the year, you create a new tab for the next year and keep the past one for historical reference.
I also added a cool feature to be able to jump to the current day since opening the spreadsheet always puts you at the top. All you do is hover above the cell near the top left that says “Jump to Today’s Date” and then click on the link of the cell shown.
Because of a couple of the functions used, this spreadsheet likely will only work in Google Sheets and not in Excel. That should be fine on the desktop for you since Google Sheets is browser-based. That’s where I recommend you get it set up anyway.
I wouldn’t want to make any big changes to it on my phone anyway, but for tallying drinks or checking the stats, this does the job.
On my Android device, I did something to make it even easier to get to. I went into the Google Drive app (not Google Sheets), browsed to where my copy of the alcohol tracking spreadsheet was saved, hit the 3-dot menu, and chose “Add to Home screen.”
Not sure if there’s anything similar you could do on an iPhone, but I do love the convenience of being able to jump directly into it at any time.
I also have it marked as “Available offline” from within Google Sheets/Drive so no I don’t need an internet connection when I need it. That means I can use it when we visit Kelleys Island back in Ohio, for instance, where my cell signal is nil. When I get back to civilization, it’ll automatically sync up.
How’s it going so far?
Well, you already know it’s been an interesting start to the year for me so far. Not drinking for the entire month of January should bring my averages down dramatically.
However, I’ve drank more in February than I think I normally would have. Remember how I said I’m normally a one or two-beer kind of guy? Yeah, well, when we were at the Rambala Jungle Lodge (which was awesome!!!), I had 9.5 drinks on one day there alone! In my defense, that was essentially vacation for us, but those couple of days hurt my average.
Overall though, as of February 21 (52 days into the year), the Alcohol Tracking spreadsheet shows I’ve had 25.5 drinks. That puts my daily drink average at half a beer and my weekly average at 3.50.
I’m good with those numbers as a whole, but again, considering that all the drinking was in February, I’ve still got some work to do. I’d like to keep or even drop those averages throughout this year. And that means I need to be careful that the upcoming months aren’t like the past few weeks have been.
And how might one get their hands on a copy of said spreadsheet?
If you’re already on my mailing list, you already received the link to the Alcohol Tracking spreadsheet in this morning’s email. If you’re not on the list, what the heck are you waiting for? Sign up and see what all the hullabaloo is about!
Fine, there’s not really any hullabaloo but it’s still the best decision you can make today. I usually just send out one email each week to let you know what’s new and what’s going on. Jump on board and I’ll send you this spreadsheet along with some other goodies in the welcome email. Come on, all the cool kids are doing it!
This alcohol tracking spreadsheet isn’t going to be a world’s problem solver. However, I’m always looking to improve myself and it’s a nice little tool to help me see how I’m doing on this front. That’s why I thought I’d share it with you as well. The only way it’s worth anything though is if you actually use it and commit to change if you’re not happy with what you’re seeing.
I hope you enjoy it!
If you’re a drinker, would an alcohol tracker like this be useful to you?
Plan well, take action, and live your best life!
Thanks for reading!!