In the weeks after the holidays, you probably made plans to reconnect with friends heading into the new year. But not everyone may be up for a cocktail catch-up. If the suggestion of grabbing a drink suddenly makes everyone ghost, you can bet you know people participating in Dry January.
Dry January is a month-long social campaign with the goal of completely abstaining from drinking alcohol in the first month of the year. And it is growing in popularity! According to CNN, by 2022, the number of Dry January participants in the U.S. was up to 35% — up from the previous high of 21% in 2019.
For 2023, the numbers are projected to rise even more as Americans resolve to work on their health and wellness goals in the new year, and mindfulness around drinking has led to the development of a full-fledged sober curious movement.
If you and your friends are interested in Dry January, Fetch can help! Read on to find out our top five tips for making it through Dry January, including some ways to pay yourself back for your efforts in self-improvement.
How Did Dry January Start?
Even if they participate in a month of zero alcohol, most people probably don’t know the origins of the movement.
The first recorded national idea of January sobriety was actually all the way back in 1942 when the Finnish government launched “Sober January” (Raitis tammikuu) as part of a war effort against the Soviet Union. But the Dry January we know today officially marks its 10th year in 2023 thanks to a British charity.
Dry January as a behavioral change campaign was started by the British organization Alcohol Change UK, which began the effort around 2013 and registered it as a trademark in 2014.
And now Dry January has official partners in countries all over the world, including Switzerland, Germany, Norway, France, and the U.S., though, in some countries, like the Czech Republic and Canada, Dry February is recognized instead.
Why Should You Participate in Dry January?
Ditch the hangover! Save money! Maybe even save a life — and it could be your own. More Americans are resolving to make it through Dry January every year, and their reasons for participating vary widely.
Some people do it for charity. Many are convinced that they will lose weight, sleep better, and have more energy or better concentration. And then there are those who just like the challenge of seeing if they can hack it for a full 31 days and finish with a sense of achievement.
To be sure, Dry January is not just about sacrifice; it’s about monitoring physical and mental wellness, and there are many body benefits from not drinking alcohol for a month or more. Reducing alcoholic intake has been proven to result in a better-functioning liver and stomach. Brighter skin, clarity of thought, and reduced anxiety and depression are often cited in studies of reduced alcohol consumption as well.
And then there is the wonder it can do for your wallet because alcohol can be expensive! 86% of participants claimed they saved money by abstaining from this indulgence for a month — and these steep savings likely encouraged them to reduce their consumption further throughout the year.
But do keep in mind that complete abstinence from alcohol for those with a substance dependency may have symptoms of withdrawal that can be highly dangerous. Consider consulting with a health professional before participating in Dry January.
Fetch’s Tips for Making It Through Dry January
Whether you’ve attempted to make it through Dry January before or are working through your first zero-alcohol month, you should know that you’ll need to prepare for the times when the goal is hard to reach. And Fetch is here to help!
Here are our best tips for making it through Dry January plus some ways to save money while you’re crushing that month (or more) of sobriety.
It’s hard to decline an invitation to a night at the bar or turn that brew with a buddy, so an important tip for navigating Dry January is to make a plan for situations where alcohol will be offered — or avoid them entirely.
Of course, you can always simply say, “No, thanks.” But some creative ways people avoid temptation during Dry January while still enjoying nights with friends have included suggestions like alerting drinking buddies that you’ll be serving as the designated driver, conspiring with a trusted bartender to make sure you get just ginger ale or soda when a friend orders you a cocktail, holding an empty cup, or ordering a drink you actually despise and having the superhuman willpower to carry that drink around without imbibing. But however you can avoid temptation, you do you!
Chew On It.
Chewing has long been a way to resist cravings. Some people turn to gum, hard candy, ice, carrots, nuts, or sunflower seeds as substitutes to focus on instead of drinking alcohol during Dry January.
We believe that indulging in a sweet treat, satisfying crunch, or mindful chew can be just the trick, so be sure to stock up on these items. Snacks like Pop Works popcorn treats, Welch’s fruit snacks, Lifesavers, and specific chewing gums can even help you to earn extra points when you upload your receipts to Fetch… and those points can translate into gift cards to save you money at the retailers where you most love to shop!
Use Sip Substitutes.
Speaking of substitutes, there are sip substitutes as well. Yes, it may be easier than ever for most to make it through Dry January thanks to a growing selection of non-alcoholic offerings and mocktails. (Yes! There are zero-proof spirits, and wine without alcohol actually exists!) So you can sip something shockingly similar to an alcoholic beverage without breaking your Dry January pledge.
Or, you can trade in alcohol for other beverages like water, smoothies, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or soft drinks. Not only can you make it through a month — and master some monetary savings goals — with substitutions like Gatorade, Ocean Spray juices, Lipton tea, Starbucks coffee, and bubly sparkling water, but when you join PepsiCo Tasty Rewards and upload a receipt showing any Pepsi product, you’ll unlock even more exclusive special offers and points toward those free gifts cards.
Plan Activities or Take Up New Hobbies.
It’s easiest to forget about sacrifices when you are busy, so to get through Dry January, it’s best to find ways to fill your time. This could include exercising, taking a class to learn something new, pickup up some cooking skills with Blue Apron meal kits, diving into a new TV show, or even doing some shopping!
Get Friends to Dry January With You.
Participants agree that enlisting friends to join in Dry January helps them to stay the course. Not only does letting friends and family know about your plan to stay sober for the month (or more) help with support, but this way you have someone to plan activities with that don’t involve alcohol and you can hold each other accountable to improve your chances of success.
You may want to keep Dry January going all year long! Or you may want to simply modify your alcoholic intake. Either way, with these tips for making it through Dry January, you’ll be primed for a potentially healthier and more productive year ahead… and your wallet will, too!
And while you are focusing on this self-improvement, remember to snap your receipts — or connect those in your email inbox — as you participate in Dry January and all year long to earn points with Fetch whenever and wherever you shop, including and especially on Dry January shopping and substitutions.
Every purchase can add up to gift cards to save you money, or treat yourself for being so proactive, because once you’ve accumulated enough reward points, you can redeem them for gift cards across countless shopping categories, including popular brands in travel, beauty, electronics, pets, and more.
You’ve earned it!