Ask the Audience: Beverages

Heather says:
Yesterday we talked about saving money by taking control of the beverage budget. Today I have a two part question.

Part one, what drinks are you not wiling to give up?

I have two, my morning coffee and Dr. Pepper. To keep costs and calories reasonable the Dr. Pepper is an occasional treat. We try not to bring soda into the house unless it is related to a special occasion.

Part two,  where have you made strides to cut back?

Yesterday’s conversation in the comments of Guzzling Down Dollars had great ideas such as where readers use seltzer and juice to replace soda. In our house we brew our own sweet tea, use frozen OJ concentrate, watch for the kids wasting milk, and encourage water consumption.

I don’t usually name brands, but we enjoy Chock full o’Nuts coffee (yes, the one in The Bucket List). Occasionally we splurge on higher quality beans for treat coffees, Mr. Heather and I have discovered that a treat of this nature is our default gift for each other. It’s something we both enjoy.

What about you, Home Eccers? What will you cut back on but not give up and where do you find inexpensive alternatives?


  1. Stacy on July 30, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    We have given up sodas and most juices, although I buy orange juice from time to time. I normally don’t give my son juice because our doctor said it’s mostly full of empty calories–although I give him some watered O.J. . We have not given up whole bean coffee, and I don’t think we will. My husband buys beer and drinks maybe one a day in the summer. I don’t drink, so it’s easy for me not to buy it. I figure if he wants it, he can buy it. Maybe that cuts down on it a little bit.

  2. Judith on July 30, 2009 at 10:20 am

    I wouldn’t give up my Folgers coffee ………. regular or french roast for the morning, decaf for after 4 pm (hey, I’m a caffeine wimp!)
    I also wouldn’t give up having an ice cold beer after I’ve mowed the lawn on a hot summer day ………. preferably Sam Adams Boston Lager or Summer Ale. Just one. Oh, it’s so good when you’re sweaty and tired!
    BTW, Heather, you know how smells trigger memories? I walked into someone’s kitchen a while back and they were brewing coffee. I tripped back, in memory, into my favorite aunt’s kitchen. I asked my friend, is that Chock Full O’Nuts coffee? It was! It has a distinctive smell. Yum!

  3. Amy on July 30, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Reading another blog, I was introduced to this interesting machine, It makes whatever you want carbonated. So for $50 bucks for the soda machine, you can have all the “soda” you want. I have not gotten it yet, but I find it quite interesting. I figure you can save loads by just buying your favorite juices then add bubbles.

  4. twadlund on July 30, 2009 at 1:43 am

    Caffeine… I defiantly have problem when it comes to coffee and Dr. Pepper. I’m not really sure when and where I picked up my habit for caffeine, but I got a problem. I guess its time to start to cutting back a little bit, this post is a really good reminder to challenge myself to change the habits I’ve gotten myself into. I’ve read some of the reply’s and there are some great suggestions. I especially like the idea of substituting soda with seltzer and juice. never thought of that, very good idea…

    I think as a family we have cut back most by eating at home more. During the week, I am always eating lunch on the run, usually fast food. So I have also really tried to start making myself lunch, cheaper and healthier…

  5. Anne on July 29, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    I won’t give up beer. My husband and I are beer snobs and drinking good beer together is something we do together. We have cut back on the actual Belgians in favor of local Californian microbrews.. And at least it’s cheaper than wine.

    My husband’s convinced me to start buying milk regularly again but I buy it at CVS pretty cheap. I buy soda on sale or when my husband craves it and I buy whatever juice doesn’t give him heartburn on any given week. Mostly my husband drinks tea (I admit I get the Lipton Cold Brew for the convenience) and I drink water.

    I keep tea bags in my drawer at work and often just make myself a cup and take it with me when we have group outings for coffee. (It’s a college campus so that’s not horrifically tacky.)

  6. Becky on July 29, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    I have issues giving up coffee. I find it funny since I don’t even drink coffee every day, or most days for that matter, but the idea of giving it up is a serious contemplation. I’ll second the Dr. Pepper as well – again, not an everyday occurrence, but man is it worth it when I do drink it!

  7. Kathleen on July 29, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    I’m a milk girl. You are what you eat (or drink), right? Well, I can go through nearly a gallon of 1% milk A DAY if left to my druthers. And it shows. ;( Seriously. An addiction. It has something to do with having a constantly itchy throat from allergies. The milk relieves it like nothing else. I’m not a big fan of carbonated bevs and my tap water is AWFUL. Truly awful. I buy bottled water for making tea, soups, etc.

  8. Milehimama on July 29, 2009 at 11:40 am

    At this point in life, I’m not willing to give up coffee (Folger’s). It’s actually cheaper than the WalMart generic, though, and I almost always have a coupon.

    My husband has given up cokes, but subbed sweet tea. I buy berry or chai tea bags at the dollar store to flavor it.

    I pretty much just drink coffee in the morning and water the rest of the time. I HATE sweet tea (I like it unsweet).

  9. Maleia on July 29, 2009 at 10:49 am

    I cannot give up Sweet Tea or Coke. I am totally addicted, and generic cola does not measure up. Are we just talking drinks here? Because there’s one other name brand item that I won’t give up: Viva paper towels. They’re better than Bounty. Back to drink though, if there’s a sale I can get off-brand cola for around $.68/2-liter and I’ll stock up… but I still sneak a real Coke from McDonald’s or Sweet Tea from Chick-Fil-A once in a while.

  10. Nancy on July 29, 2009 at 10:48 am

    I buy my spouse Diet Coke, in the cans. Yes, this is not very frugal, but if it was not here, he would drive to the local 7-11, which usually entails taking at least one child, costing a minimum of $3 per visit, and often more for “just a little snack”. Mostly I drink water with ice and a little Real Lemon in it. I also drink non-fat milk to try to get enough calcium in my diet. Kids drink milk, water and white grape juice. The price of milk here keeps dropping! It is down to $2.44 a gallon with returnable bottles from the local dairy.

  11. ThatBobbieGirl on July 29, 2009 at 9:44 am

    I can get by with water all the time (if it’s from our well — it’s so amazingly wonderful we could bottle & sell it)

    The only other beverage I must have on a regular basis is coffee. You can pry my coffee mug out of my cold, dead hands. I actually prefer my own homemade coffee over pretty much any I’ve had anywhere, because I can control the strength, AND because the one thing I splurge on is real cream to go in the coffee. Not non-dairy fake stuff, not milk, and not even half & half. Cream. I can live without just about anything else – just give me my french press and some real cream for my coffee and I’ll be fine.

    I save on coffee by getting it at a salvage grocery store — BB’s Grocery Outlet. Very Cool Store, run by Amish folks, who recently went crazy and put in credit card processing and even an ATM. Kinda weird using an ATM by gas light. No electric lights at all in the place – only sky lights and gas light for dreary days. Anyway, I have gotten gourmet coffees that would sell for 7 or 8 bucks or more elsewhere, for under two dollars a package.

    I save on everything I can, and splurge only when I can’t stand not to.

  12. ~M on July 29, 2009 at 9:14 am

    The two pricier beverages I won’t give up are So Delicious coconut milk (my dairy free sub) and the occasional Reed’s Ginger Brew. About 6-8 weeks ago, I found the So Delicious coconut milk on sale (buy one get one free) at Jewel and stocked up for as long as the expiration would allow (we go through a 1/2 gallon a week). We don’t have cereal often, unless I make grain-free granola from scratch, but we drink it and occasionally cook with it. In terms of the Ginger Brew, it’s a blue moon or tummy ache treat. We found that Trader Joe’s price for it is lower than Whole Food’s sale price, woo hoo!

    We don’t drink coffee, but we do drink OJ…I buy it by the case of 4 1/2 gallons once a month at Costco for the best price.

  13. Sara on July 29, 2009 at 9:10 am

    While I was in South America a few weeks ago, I gave up Coca-cola (which I thought would be impossible!). Due to a crazy travel schedule, I wouldn’t remember that I hadn’t had a soda all day until dinner, which is when I don’t drink caffeine. It was surprisingly easy to keep it up when I got home – my mother’s house, where I initially returned to before my apartment, didn’t have any Coke in stock (for once), and my apartment didn’t either. When I made it to the grocery store, I just didn’t even go down the soda aisle. Aside from a sip at the movies on Saturday, I haven’t had a Coke in about a month, and I don’t really miss it.

    As for drinks I couldn’t give up, it would probably be coffee (even that is drunk in moderation, and I probably could give it up except for being a college student :D) and 1% milk – I usually have a small glass everyday.

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