Saving Money On Bottled Water

Ivy says:

Recently, I saw a discussion about bottled water in a frugality community. Some people were saying it is not frugal at all to buy bottled water, since tap water is (essentially) free. Others explained that the water where they lived was just bad and they needed bottled water.

I’m in the “my water is just bad” camp, personally. We often get notices from the city that they have once again violated the state’s codes for safe water, and once our water turned pink. Now, I agree that buying the individual sizes of bottled water isn’t very frugal. But there are plenty of more-frugal ways to get water that’s safe and tastes good.

We ended up buying a refillable water cooler like this one, only mine’s not cool and black like that one. It uses Brita pitcher filters, so the cost of upkeep isn’t too bad. We spend about $15 every 3 months or so. The really nice thing about having the water cooler is that it has both cold water (and wowzers, it’s cold) and hot water (and WOWZERS, it’s HOT), so I can make instant oatmeal or instant ramen, well, instantly.

Another option is the faucet filters, which have gotten smaller and less of a pain to deal with. Certain brands also have flavor filters, so you can get your raspberry water right out of the tap. Pretty neat, if you ask me. And, of course, there’s the ubiquitous refrigerator pitchers, which are quite inexpensive and are also a good option.

If all else fails, you can buy bottled water in gallon jugs. This isn’t the *most* economical option, but it is certainly cheaper than the individually sized bottled water.

One of the reasons I see people saying they buy the individual bottled water is for on the go use, and some even refill the bottled water (which I hear is not recommended due to some plastic leaching issues), but I still find a Nalgalene bottle is the best way to go. You can sometimes find good bargains on these- I saw some at Target once for just a buck apiece and yeah- they were actually Nalgalene. So keep an eye out, bargains can be found with those.

What do you do to save money on bottled water, or are you lucky enough to live somewhere where the tap water is pretty good? And if so, where do you live, so I can move there?? 😉


  1. verybestworthytips on July 20, 2010 at 5:02 am

    First drink lots of water in the morning. Then have a healthy breakfast fills you up with energy for the day and also decreases your desire a huge lunch. Breakfast can be very healthy and quick.

  2. brita water pitcher on July 7, 2008 at 10:43 am

    […] since tap water is essentially free. Others explained that the water where they lived was just b the money pinch? Here are some ways to make your dollar go further Island PacketWhether it’s […]

  3. Mommy on July 4, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    our water comes from an underground spring, and tastes really good. Plus the bonus is that it is always ice cold!!

  4. Rachel on July 3, 2008 at 4:39 am

    Oh, I forgot to mention: I live in Houston and the water here is actually decent from the tap. I decided to deal with my weirdness about tap water a couple of years back and went for it. It’s been fine!

  5. Rachel on July 3, 2008 at 4:34 am

    I’m another wanting to mention the BPA in Nalgene. I know the FDA retracted their statement on it recently, but like someone else said, why take the chance?

    I plan to get the Kleen Kanteen style bottles soon. And I’ve seen other brands popping up lately for far less money for what seems to be the same product.

  6. Canadian on June 30, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    I don’t really like our water straight from the tap. However, I find it tastes a LOT better when it’s very cold. So I fill a pitcher with tap water and keep it in the fridge. We used to buy water but we stopped since we switched to this method (and I won’t go back to bought water for environmental reasons).

  7. JayMonster on June 30, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Our water is actually pretty good here to begin with, but we went with a Reverse Osmosis Filter. It costs more than the charcoal filter systems (but less than buying individual bottles of water), and since it is reverse osmosis, NOTHING gets through except clean water.

    Also, another vote here for Kleen Kanteen. So much easier than trying to figure out which plastics are safe or not, which has BPA, etc.

  8. noodle on June 28, 2008 at 11:06 am

    We have excellent water, so I don’t have to worry about buying. I do like having cold water in the refrigerator, so I wash and reuse glass bottles. Some are the smaller, individual size, but my favorites are the large San Pellegrino bottles.

    I could use pitchers of water in the same manner, but the bottles are easier for my children to use. And they look prettier on the dinner table. 🙂

  9. maudie-mae on June 28, 2008 at 12:25 am

    We live in a town with good water. I have several nalgenes and fakegenes that I use constantly. I don’t filter. However my in-laws live in a town where it is mandated that they MUST have a filter for their drinking water. My son goes to school in another place where there is too much sulphur in the water. He buys water.

  10. EarthlyJane on June 27, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    I live in northern Minnesota, up on the Iron Range. We live in a pretty little town and do have city water and it tastes good to me. I like the mineral-y taste. With out it, I always think, “gee this tastes different.” But if you go 2 hours south the water tastes like bleach. it’s nasty.
    When we did live further south, we bought water by the gallon when we went to visit family up here and they would bring some when they came to visit us. If you save the jugs, you can fill each one for $0.15, which was pretty cheap if you ask me.
    As for water bottles, they have them at our doller store for $1 each, I just saw them today!

  11. Sarah on June 27, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    We’re lucky enough to have filtered water through our fridge, but I think our tap water is just fine here in Rock Hill, SC. I’ve always used my nalgeen bottle but now I’m going to check and see if it is one that has BPA, since it is an older one.

  12. JimK on June 27, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    My tap water is pretty good, but my tap water filtered with a Brita and put in a Sigg bottle is alarmingly delicious.

    I don’t even like Nalgene as it DOES leech Bisphenol-A, even though they say it’s not in a quantity big enough to harm you. I say why take the chance? Sigg, Kleen Kanteen and other brands of rugged metal bottles are non-reactive and more durable, and with the internal coatings leech absolutely nothing. Durable well beyond that of the Nalgene as well: my Sigg sport size (.75 liters) looks like it’s been through a war, but it’s as good as ever.

    The one ongoing expense (beyond the initial cost of a Sigg) is I splurge on the special tablets to clean them. I know I could use watered-down bleach but I have a mental block when it comes to using that for a drinking vessel. Intellectually I know it’s fine, but I can’t bring myself to do it.

  13. Lisa- Domestic Accident on June 27, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    I live in Maine and have well water and it’s fantastic. I use Sigg bottles for water on the go.

  14. katie on June 27, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    We don’t have too much to get excited about over here in Memphis, but we do have us some good water. Mine comes right outta the frigde door. Of course, that does mean it’s filtered, but the stuff right out of the tap is great also.

  15. LoriW on June 27, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    While we have “good” water at home in West Wilson county (TN), we have a reverse osmosis system on our water and it’s wonderful! I’m addicted to water. Last year, during the drought, the water at work tasted like the bottom of the Cumberland River — Because it was the bottom. So I got in the habit of bringing two jugs of water with me from home every day. And yes, I drink both jugs. Almost.

  16. Heather on June 27, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    We have fantastic water and you know exactly where I live.

  17. Brenda on June 27, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    We just drink well water….so yummy! I like the slightly iron taste. To get this, we have to go down to the basement & get a couple gallons a day & put it in the fridge. The rest of the household’s water runs through the softener.


  18. Cindy on June 27, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    One thing to remember about Pur and Brita filters is that they only filter water. The water you get from them is not pure, so if your water really does have contaminants in it and not just bad taste, then you should consider bottled water.

    I have a little fridge pitcher, and my icemaker has a Brita filter in the refrigerator. (Love my GE Profile!) When my cousin lived near San Francisco, she always got the large bottles of water like the kind you can put on a water cooler. At my grandma’s house I always drank the tap water, but they had softeners and filters on the line. At my parents’ house, the tap water is good, and the only filtration is the sand it goes through as it comes out the well!

  19. Bean on June 27, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    The older Nalgene bottles have BPA, some of them. The newer ones do not. I personally love our Klean Kanteens, and don’t love our Siggs, even though they’re cuter.

  20. Heidi @ Carolina Dreamz on June 27, 2008 at 11:55 am

    The biggest problem that we’ve experienced with reusing any water bottles is STREP! I had no idea, for two years, why my daughter’s throat was always sore. I had used my dishwasher on the bottles..

    Then, just this last two weeks, my boy is at summer camp, working. His throat is real bad and I suggested he take his bottle in and rinse it with bleach. Now its getting better.

    At home, we have a Pur filter on our faucet. Its the next best thing to Peanut butter and Jelly, if you ask me. I also added a filter to the water line, to my ice maker. Drinking water is simply a joy now.

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