The Surprising Ways That Drinks Can Be Costing You Hundreds of Dollars per Year

We've heard it before that water is good for us, but is it possible that choosing to drink water can also benefit our finances? YES! In this post we'll get into the details of how this simple choice can save us a lot of money.

Most places we go, water isn't the popular option - coffee shops, restaurants, fast food, vending machines, the list goes on. While water is usually an option at these places, it isn't always the most convenient or appetizing choice.

That being said, simply choosing a cup of water over a pop, coffee, alcoholic drink, or whatever else - can save hundreds, even thousands, of dollars over the course of a year.

Below we'll go through a few different scenarios of exactly how choosing water can mean money in your pocket.

Scenario 1 - Coffee

Many people are quick to grab a coffee on their way to work, on break, as they're running errands, and the list goes on. While some practice this on occasion, others do it on a daily basis.

Let's say you buy a coffee for $2 (which to be honest, is on the lower end of coffee pricing at most places) each weekday. Your $2 coffee Monday - Friday adds up to $520/year. Spending $5 on a coffee? That's about $1,300/year.

If you're a coffee lover who just can't think about substituting it for water, making your coffee at home and bringing with you in a travel mug is a straightforward money-saving substitution. If you're out and about, having the coffee already made eliminates the temptation to stop somewhere and buy it.

Sure, if you decide to make coffee at home there is still the price of grounds or mix, but sometimes even an entire tub of grounds (AKA lots and lots of homemade coffee) can be the price of a single coffee.

Take a look at this scenario as an example:

  • you use 30 grams of coffee (which is about 2 tbsp) per cup you make at home

  • a tub of 900 grams of coffee grounds could last you for about 30 cups of coffee

  • you buy the tub on sale for about $6

  • you're looking at about 20 cents per cup of coffee

20 cents per cup of coffee. Even if its higher than that, that is an incredible savings compared to buying coffee every day, or even multiple times a day. If your morning coffee is only costing you 20 cents, that's less than $100 a year. Compared to the $500-$1,300 range, that is a STEAL!

Further to making coffee at home, you can save even more money by simply substituting it with water instead. That being said, maybe you don't want to substitute your coffee with water. And while I'd be lying if I said that it wouldn't save you money, I can agree that giving up morning coffee is easier said than done. Even just simply taking the step to make it at home can be a huge improvement to savings.

Scenario 2 - Pop, Juice, and Alcohol

Similar to the coffee scenario, the costs of these drinks like pop, juice, and alcohol can add up quickly without us even noticing. These items may cost only a few dollars, but buying regularly on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis turns into hundreds of dollars a year.

Let's say you spend a few dollars a week on a carton of juice, a few dollars on a case of pop, totaling $8. If you're spending even just $8 per week, you're looking at $400/year.

This isn't about eliminating pops and juices completely, because I understand the deliciousness of them and enjoy them in moderation as well. But on a routine basis, they add up and get in the way of how much water we could be drinking instead. Some ideas for enjoying these on a budget and in moderation include:

  • bulk buying while on sale (ensuring expiry dates will last as long as you plan to keep them)

  • making drinks at home ("bubbly" water, homemade juices, punch, etc.)

  • having a special routine for when to enjoy them (ex: Saturday night movie night with a glass of your favorite pop, but throughout the week - water)

Let's take a look at alcohol. If you're spending even $10 per week (which could be much higher), that is over $500/year.

If you drink alcohol and buy pops/juices, you're close to $1,000 per year on drinks alone. So, substituting any of these items for water would not only be a healthy choice (think about all the unhealthy ingredients you'd be missing out on), it can also be a huge savings opportunity.

Scenario 3 - Water

Yes, water can actually be costing you. While regular bottled water may only cost a few dollars per bulk case, many specialty waters (flavored waters, nutrient waters, sparkling waters, etc.) are close to $1 or $2 per bottle - so if you have one every day, you're looking at over $350/year. Whereas regular bottled water is typically much less at a similar price range but instead for a case of 12 or 24+ bottles.

But maybe you really love those specialty waters. Maybe you limit how much you have them, drinking regular water most often, but love to treat yourself with a "fun" water. What else can you do to save on them without giving them up completely?

  • stock up while on sale

  • consider investing in a machine to make them at one (ex: "bubbly" water)

  • if you really must have them often, consider mixing them with regular water to double their quantity (test out on a small amount first; this works great with some but the flavor turns out not so well with others)

The Incredible Drink Savings

If you're all of these scenarios combined, drinking costs can be as high as $2,000 according to these examples. If you're above these examples, the expenses are higher too.

So, how do you cut back? Here are some of the methods discussed:


  • make drinks at home (coffee, juice, specialty waters, etc.)

  • bulk buy drinks while they're on sale

  • have a routine for when you'll enjoy a drink besides water (ex: movie nights)

  • consider mixing drinks with water to make them last longer but still enjoy some taste

I hope this post has helped you identify ways in which you can cut back without completely giving up your favorite drinks. Maybe in a years time, you'll be surprised at how much you can save by spending on drinks wisely.

What is the biggest way you've found to save on the cost of drinks? Let me know in the comments :)


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