The 8 Beers of Personal Finance


I love beer – all different styles, from stouts to sours, from double IPAs to doppelbocks. So naturally, I started thinking about how different beers can represent different parts of personal finance. I hear you scoffing, but let me explain:

Light Beer – The Entertainment Fund

Light Beer

Sometimes, we are embarrassed to admit that we drink it, but man, does it make life fun! A lot of frugal people tend to cut their entertainment budget down to next to nothing. There are plenty of great free/almost-free entertainment options in NYC, from walking around attractions and neighborhoods to having friends over for dinner. However, sometimes it’s ok to spend a little money on entertainment. Be proud of your light beer!

Leftover Beer – The Emergency Fund


You know that beer that sits in the back of your fridge forever? Somebody brought it over to your apartment months ago and nobody ever wants to drink it. But that one day, when you really need that nice, cold refreshment, you are thankful you have that beer waiting for you. Just like your emergency fund, dipping into it isn’t as satisfying as if you had other options, but it is important in a pinch.

Barrel Aged Stout – The Retirement Fund


This beer ferments and ages longer than most. Sure, you have to wait a while before you can pop it open, but it sure does taste good once you do. Your retirement fund is the same. It sits and it grows. That extra boost you get from employer contributions and tax-free earnings? That’s like the oaky flavor that really gives it something extra.

Exploded Freezer Beer – Debt


You didn’t want to wait. You wanted the instant gratification of having an ice cold beer almost instantly. But somehow, it got away from you. Just like your debt, you put off dealing with it for too long and now you have a mess on your hands. Debt is dangerous, but don’t worry, you can always clean it up.

IPA – The Debt Payments


Newer beer drinkers tend to dislike IPAs. They taste bitter and are unappealing at first. However, as you continue to drink them, you get used to the bitter hop taste and actually start to love it. Many beer aficionados crave the hoppiest of IPAs – there are NEVER enough hops for them. Taking a chunk of your income and putting it towards debt can be a bitter experience at first. But as debt bloggers like Student Debt Survivor, Red Debted Stepchild, and Debt BLAG will tell you, paying off debt becomes addicting and so satisfying!

Homebrew – The “Play” Fund


Brewing your own beer takes work, but it is so rewarding to drink the fruits of your labor. You get to tinker with recipes and the final product can end up being amazing, or not so great. But at least you can always grab your favorite beer from the fridge if your homebrew turns out gross. Whether you have a funds set aside for picking individual stocks, investing in Lending Club, or playing around with Bitcoin, your “play” fund allows you to mess around with a small  portion of your portfolio. Just like homebrewing, this type of investing isn’t necessary to meet your financial goals. It’s just for the hobbyists. Oh, and if you actually want to try your hand at homebrewing beer, the Mr. Beer kit is extremely easy.


Last Beer of the Night – The Budget


You had your fun. You drank some beers. But you’ve had too many nights in the past where you blacked out and did something regrettable. Now, you’re older and wiser! You know exactly when to stop to maximize your fun and minimize tomorrow’s pain. Making conscious decisions about how much money you spend and what you spend it on each month is no different. Good for you, you’ve optimized your enjoyment!

Your Beer List – Net Worth


I’m cheating a little as this is not just one beer, but as you travel deeper and deeper into the beer lover’s world, you often start to take note of which beers you have tried and how you felt about those beers. As your list grows, you want to try even MORE beers. You also want to diversify the types of beers you have tried, and build your overall knowledge base.  In the same way, tracking your net worth can be motivation to continue building your wealth. The free online service, Personal Capital, is a great way to track your net worth.


There you have it. Man, all this talk about beer has made me thirsty. I’m gonna go grab a cold one. What types of beers (or alcohol in general) remind you of personal finance?

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45 thoughts on “The 8 Beers of Personal Finance

  1. Mark Ross January 27, 2014 at 7:49 am

    HAHAHA! Great article. Beer. Beer. Beers everywhere. I really like your analogy between the leftover beer and the emergency fund, it makes perfect sense to me. 🙂 Cheers mate!
    Mark Ross recently posted: A Quick Way To Save Money With The Help Of A Water BottleMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget January 27, 2014 at 8:25 am

      Thanks Mark! I had fun writing it as well. Kicking off the week right!

  2. Claire M January 27, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    This is hilarious and so apt. Definitely a viable channel for teaching financial literacy!!

    Well done 🙂
    Claire M recently posted: Uncovering the Hidden Tactics that Are Keeping You in DebtMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget January 27, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      Thanks Claire!

  3. J. Money January 27, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    That. Is. Hilarious.

    I literally have a handful of “emergency” beer in my fridge right now just waiting to be used when necessary 🙂 GREAT idea for a post.

    • Mr NYBudget January 27, 2014 at 9:19 pm

      Thanks J! You will be thankful for that emergency beer when the time comes!

  4. KK @ Student Debt Survivor January 27, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Love it! I’m a big fan of Belgian beers. In college I hated beer, but over the years it’s grown on me and now I actually prefer beer to wine. I still hate IPAs, but if that’s the key to financial success, I’d probably be able to get one down 😉
    KK @ Student Debt Survivor recently posted: Valentine’s Day: Big Expectations & Big SpendingMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget January 28, 2014 at 5:54 am

      🙂 Something switched in me a couple of years back and now the most delicious thing in the world to me is an IPA on a hot summer day.

  5. Mr. 1500 January 28, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Nice! This makes me want to come visit you in NYC that much more!

    I’m a double IPA fan myself. Go big or go home.
    Mr. 1500 recently posted: Ask the Readers: What was your College Major?My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget January 28, 2014 at 9:18 am

      Perfect – come visit and we’ll tear through a bunch of good double IPAs!

  6. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life January 28, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Haha, I don’t like beer so I don’t know that I can relate much, but I like the concept.
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted: The Danger of Doing What You LoveMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget January 28, 2014 at 10:03 am

      Feel free to replace with cocktails or beverages of your choice!

  7. Grayson @ Debt Roundup January 28, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Oh yeah, this is a great post. I am brewing some beer right now. A nice spring bock that is going through lager stage right now. It definitely is my play fund and I do have my emergency beer just in case!
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted: Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard Review – 40,000 Bonus Miles OfferMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget January 28, 2014 at 11:37 am

      Sounds delicious!

  8. Mel @ brokeGIRLrich January 28, 2014 at 11:33 am

    So does that make Untappd the equivalent of Mint?

    I love the exploded beer analogy. And despite 4 years of my boyfriend trying to win me over to beer, I still cannot appreciate an IPA – but at least I know what the heck that means now.
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted: How I Chose My MajorMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget January 28, 2014 at 11:38 am

      I’m sure your boyfriend will keep trying! Us IPA drinkers are obsessed!

  9. Kendal @HassleFreeSaver January 28, 2014 at 11:37 am

    I love this!! You did an awesome job relating beer to personal finance. I think spending money on a cocktail at dinner represents the necessity of working splurges into your budget. I usually stick with water when I go out to eat since drinks are marked up so high, but sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a glass of wine or craft brew from the tap.
    Kendal @HassleFreeSaver recently posted: Money-Saving Tricks Part IIMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget January 28, 2014 at 11:40 am

      I completely agree. I actually love splurges like that because what is mundane and commonplace for many people is a special treat for you!

  10. FI Fighter January 28, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Very entertaining post! I’m not much of a drinker, but even I got a kick out of reading this.
    FI Fighter recently posted: Goals for 2014My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget January 28, 2014 at 11:43 am

      Thanks! And the exploded beer phenomenon has DEFINITELY happened to me with soda as well!

  11. Fig @ Figuring Money Out January 28, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Hah love it! the combination of beer and personal finance is always nice in my opinion. 🙂
    Fig @ Figuring Money Out recently posted: Cool Piggy BanksMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget January 28, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      Two of my very favorite things!

  12. Shannon @ Financially Blonde January 29, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Ha! It is 10am and now I am in the mood for a beer. 🙂 I am a lover of beer, but I can’t get the concept of home brewing. I have had friends do it and it seems like too much time and money for very little reward. Which I guess is why it makes sense that it is the “play” fund. Have you ever had a good home brew?
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted: Financial Fitness Series – Game Week StrategiesMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget January 29, 2014 at 10:50 am

      I’ve made a few that I really have enjoyed quite a bit. I made a coffee IPA with some friends recently that tastes great! It is definitely a hobby though and the enjoyment comes from creating a beer that is delicious, interesting, and maybe something that is a little different from a standard beer. If you are just looking to save money, then it is really kind of a wash. It’s also more fun if you are doing it with other people!

  13. John S @ Frugal Rules January 29, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    This is awesome! We actually just had a beer explode on us in the freezer a few weeks ago and hated the mess, but you’re right on about its correlation with debt. I started brewing about a year ago and it’s definitely my play fund. We have a nice spicy Winter ale that we bottled about 5-6 weeks ago that we’ll be trying soon. Of course we have some emergency beer ready just in case it doesn’t work out. 🙂
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted: My 24 Hour Car Buying ExperienceMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget January 29, 2014 at 4:58 pm

      Mmm – spicy Winter ale sounds amazing! I did an alcoholic ginger beer recently that had a couple of hitches, but overall is pretty good! Always good to have the emergency beer as backup!

  14. Steven January 30, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Well played sir. I think you throw in Craft Beer somewhere in there and I’m 100% sold, fun article.
    Steven recently posted: I’m a Credit Card HypocriteMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget January 30, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      Thanks Steven – I do love a good craft beer myself (although, some can be bad) – but there is a lot of fun finding out which ones are good and which ones aren’t!

  15. Tej January 30, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    What about “Your Roommate’s Beer”? Is that like the “Scratch and Win Fund”?

    • Mr NYBudget January 30, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      Ha! Perfect – or “Your Parents Beer” = “Your Inheritance”

  16. Heidi @ ThriftyTricks January 31, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Very smart post and it certainly gets the point accross without being boring as many money saving posts are 🙂
    Heidi @ ThriftyTricks recently posted: How To Get A Job In The Middle of An Economical Crisis With No Experience At AllMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget January 31, 2014 at 7:39 am

      Thanks Heidi!

  17. Dan January 31, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Love the article. I didn’t think it was possible to combine my two favorite things: personal finance and beer. But you did it, sir! Cheers!

    • Mr NYBudget January 31, 2014 at 8:44 am

      Two of my faves as well!

  18. maria@moneyprinciple February 1, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Ha, ha…I love this. If I had to describe my financial situation in these terms it’ll go something like this: have no freezer exploding beer (cleaned it all), have loads of aged stout and home brew. Souds good!
    maria@moneyprinciple recently posted: What being debt free means to me?My Profile

    • Mr NYBudget February 2, 2014 at 2:16 am

      Great work! I guess I would call you hoppy-go-lucky! (sorry, sometimes I can’t help the bad puns).

  19. NZ Muse February 6, 2014 at 1:43 am

    Haha, this is brilliant!

    I have honestly never met a beer I liked – hate beer, hate wine – closest I’ve gotten is cider. You should do one for spirits/liqueurs, I’d get behind that!
    NZ Muse recently posted: I need your adviceMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget February 6, 2014 at 8:03 am

      Hmm – interesting. The retirement account would be a fine aged Scotch!

  20. Phil February 8, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    As a craft beer lover I approve of this post! I also love a good cocktail and the taste of a good bourbon, but I just don’t underdstand people who don’t like any kind of beer. I think they just really don’t want to try. Their loss!
    Phil recently posted: So, did they start playing the Super Bowl yet?My Profile

  21. Home Brewer November 20, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    You should add bailout and a picture of a case of empties!

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