Stop Guzzling Down Dollars

Heather says:
One of the simplest ways to tighten up an out of control grocery budget is to learn to love water. I don’t mean the 20oz bottles of the stuff, either.

The second? Get to know serving sizes. Drink all the water you can handle, but when it comes to OJ and other fruit juices, use a juice glass. Don’t have one? Break out your liquid measuring cup and get to know what 6oz looks like. I’ll give you a hint it’s a whole lot less than a pint. But Heather, I’m supposed to get 5 servings a day, thats still a lot of juice I can have, right? Try an apple, not only is it cheaper, but you get the fiber, too. It might not be a polite topic of conversation, but most Americans aren’t getting anywhere near the fiber they need. Healthy adults who get adequate fiber usually don’t have many GI complaints. Fiber keeps things truckin’ on through, in the colorful language of my kid’s GI doc.

Milk, it does a body good, right? 3 servings a day is all you need. Do you remember the 1/2 pint cartons that came with school lunches? That is a serving.  Once again break out your liquid measuring cup and learn what 1 cup of milk looks like. Cheese on your sandwich, a yogurt with lunch and a glass with dinner. Well, that wasn’t too hard was it?

But Heather, I LIKE soda. It’s fine to like soda, you’ll have a hard time prying Dr. Pepper completely from my life. Just keep soda to where it belongs, in the treat category. It’s not just your budget on the line, it’s your health, too.

If you want the caffeine and a reduction in sugar, try iced tea. It’s significantly cheaper than soda.

If it’s just flavor you crave, try floating slices of citrus in a pitcher of water. Personally I like the flavor of cucumber water. Give it a try, then try it again. Sometimes it takes a few days to reset your tastebuds if they are used to sweet and syrupy treats.

How do you cut the beverage budget?


  1. floaton10 on July 21, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    I have grown up with Iced Tea as a huge part of my life. As a child, and even now, I never order soda at at restaurant, aways Tea! (I actually kind of rate my favorite restaurants by how good their tea is) It is so much cheaper, and you can control the level of sugar. Normally I put enough sugar to make it just a touch sweet. I only drink sodas with alcohol, so less than 3 times a month. I also love water, and greet tea, hot or cold. You really do save soo much money, and you will start to feel a lot better.

  2. Heather @ Not a DIY LIfe on July 31, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    I have cut out all sodas except the very rare treat. Hubs has it more often, but we do not buy soda to keep in the house. It’s just a huge temptation. Even when eating out, we order water with lemon to keep the bill to a reasonable amount. Some places charge $2 or more for a soda – that’s one expense we don’t need!

    • Loretta on March 22, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      Hi Heather, we find it much better to order in and pick up our special take out meals. No tip, no soda’s or dessert which we always have a stocked up home on everything, it’s just crave for Mexican food and Japanese food here in Phoenix that when we do this we save money and that savings goes into the bank, that is what savings is about, you save when you but special meats or cuts of salmon etc, however we cook all these meals in the home, what we have saved gets put in the bank, unless you deposit your savings from a huge grocery sale you’re not saving. It adds up quickly, I save minimum 2500. a year on what I don’t spend. With making sure we have enough life insurance and our homes (investments get paid extra every month) it will help in 10 years time when my husband retires.

  3. Tara on July 30, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    I use jelly jars for my lunch drinks – they seal well, wash up easy, and recycle. Also I’m buying 8 or 12 oz jars; serving size is therefore defaulted.

    Drink idea – one orange, sliced, and a split vanilla bean in the water jug over night. Tastes like a creamsicle.

  4. Judith on July 29, 2009 at 11:18 am

    I sound so old saying this ……… but it used to be that sweets were considered a treat for most people, not a daily occurence. We had soda at family parties (I loved ginger ale with a marascino cherry in it … seemed festive!) and sometimes with popcorn when we played games on a Saturday evening. Or on the rare occasion when we ate out.
    I buy soda occasionally, because my husband, who was raised by a Pepsi addict, loves it .
    Mostly we drink water, coffee, tea, iced tea (homemade), some juice (I’d rather eat the fruit)

  5. Djuanna on July 29, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Great advice, especially during the summer when caffeine drinks can contribute to dehydration. This coming from the woman who won’t let go of her Coca Cola! That red bottle simply calls me. But for every can or bottle of coke I drink, I drink twice that amount in water later.

  6. Ask the Audience: Beverages | Home Ec 101 on July 29, 2009 at 8:06 am

    […] on this topic.Powered by WP Greet BoxHeather says: Yesterday we talked about saving money by taking control of the beverage budget. Today I have a two part […]

  7. Stacy on July 28, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    We mostly drink water. Sometimes I cut juice by 50% or more with water if I drink it. I stopped buying soda altogether about three years ago–too expensive and unhealthy. I thought my husband would complain, as he loves Dr. Pepper, but he hasn’t. When we go to restaurants, we almost always drink water. My son drinks a lot of milk since he’s still a toddler, but my husband and I keep it in moderation. We get plenty of dairy still. One expense is coffee. We like to grind it ourselves and I’ve been buying organic coffee for a year or more. However, since we don’t get a lot of other drinks, I figure it’s not that bad.

  8. JaxCC on July 28, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Caffeine makes me ill, so I avoid caffeinated beverages. I drink one cup of decaf hot tea w/ Splenda each morning at work, and for the rest of the day I drink only water. Exceptions are if I’m going out or visiting people … I may have a glass of juice or a caffeine free diet soda. I probably drink only 1 or 2 caloric drinks per month. Once you make the switch it’s really not that bad.

  9. Cathy on July 28, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    oh, but what I’d love to be able to do is make my own:
    caramel, soy, latte, iced – starbucks style THAT would save me about $5/week.

    • Heather on July 29, 2009 at 7:09 am

      Cathy, you don’t have to buy a top end espresso machine to learn if it’s something you will use. A low end machine will give you enough time to decide if it’s something you will use in the future.

  10. Cathy on July 28, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    We drink juicy water in our house. Just a little bit of juice and then fill the glass up with water. I can’t stand the taste of straight juice anymore! Better for us – and way cheaper too!

  11. Heather on July 28, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    I cut my budget by learning how to make my own sweet tea. I used to pay anywhere from 99 cents a can to 5.00 for a bottle now it’s a couple of cents for some tea bags, a little sugar (bought in bulk) and some leamons from my tree in the backyard. I don’t even go down the drink aisle anymore.

  12. KarenR on July 28, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    I drink a lot of seltzer, so I bought a soda maker. I mostly drink it plain, but sometimes I add some juice or some lime. You can also get soda syrups for it, so occasionally I’ll make a liter for my kids. Otherwise they never have soda at home. Unfortunately, my husband has a fierce Diet Mountain Dew addiction!

  13. crackerjackheart on July 28, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I buy juice and a $0.99 liter of store brand seltzer water can cut the juice with the seltzer 50/50 in a 12 oz glass. It’s like having soda but much better for you. My mom always did this. I don’t drink soda at all and after time even cut like this juice still seems too sweet to me.

  14. gracie on July 28, 2009 at 10:35 am

    the thing i remember as a child that was special about holidays was soda!!! it was never in the house unless it was a holiday

    we drink water, and i can usually find the soy milk we like for .99cents a 1/2 gallon at a local butcher, (usually retails for around $5 a gallon!!) — i stock up because it keeps very well in the fridge

    for me — I love sweet tea, but don’t need the sugar, a small bottle of stevia sweetener is around $7!!! (ouch) but it lasts a long time – it comes with a small dropper and it only takes about 3 (1/2 droppers to sweeten 2 quarts, and i love to drink switchel it’s sweetened with brown sugar (i don’t make it with oatmeal)
    — the children are welcome to drink either one but usually don’t – lol

    also in the sweet tea i might use a flavored tea instead of just regular tea if i want something different

    i limit orange juice to one frozen can made up a week — on a sunday and it’s gone by monday afternoon

    we dont’ drink kool-aid, or cows milk — but coffee isn’t the same with out it!

    the children get soda once a week, and they have to walk down to the soda machine to get it, granted it’s cheaper to buy the 2 litters at wally-world — but we don’t need that much sugar/caffeine – so we stick with the once a week can

    I also like Ribeena (blackcurrent juice) and Robinsons Orange Barley Water both come concentrated and i can make up as much as i want for the children — i’m thinking trying to make the orange barley water myself – it would be cheaper —- i get both products at meijers (northern midwest alternative to wally-world)
    (both drinks are in the british food section)

    but at wally world in the latino food section there are some wonderful powdered drinks that we love: Horchata, Hibiscus (Jamaica), and the local mexican grocery has even more flavors — maybe not more nutritious but it helps to add variety and the powders can be made up by the glass or pitcher

  15. ToyLady on July 28, 2009 at 10:17 am

    The sugars in juice are much more concentrated than in the original fruit, so when my son was small (his first 3-4 years) I watered down his juice a bit – he didn’t need the extra sugar – still doesn’t! It stretched the juice out, and satisfied his “sweet tooth.” I never limited him on fruits, veggies or milk – and we didn’t keep soda or kool-aid in the house.

    Nowadays, my caffeine comes from coffee and the occasional iced tea, and the only “sweets” I drink come from the occasional glass of wine. . . . and my wines aren’t even of the sweet variety!

  16. Angela on July 28, 2009 at 9:11 am

    My kids drink a lot and I was bad for a while and letting them drink whatever and whenever they wanted. I have not gotten back on track and am trying to keep there water bottles full in the morning and it is easy for them to grab them off the counter and drink then instead of pop, juice or milk… we love milk in this house and go through it, I have tried cutting back some, but that is still a work in progress.

  17. Chele on July 28, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Well I used to drink Pepsi and only Pepsi! The money wasted! Now I drink water and sweet tea. Big money saver! Thanks for the reminder. Unfortunately because I have been working on Saturday’s cleaning beach houses, I have drank a lot of Pepsi… time to switch back again! 🙂

  18. Melissa on July 28, 2009 at 8:39 am

    We just keep the soda drinking for when we go out. It won’t break the bank to buy a drink the once or twice a week we buy meals outside of the house, and then we get our fix without needing to buy cans. For us, soda is the kind of thing that we enjoy, but we don’t really miss it if it’s gone.

    Other than that, I usually buy a bottle of apple or grape, and a carton of orange juice, and we ration it. Comes to about $5 for the both of us for a week… which isn’t too bad. We love water, but we just can’t get rid of the juice!

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