The cost of beverages can bloat your grocery budget

Reducing the Cost of Beverages

by Tamara Wilhite

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Do your grocery store expenses seem high? Even when you subtract the paper towels, cleaning wipes and other non-food items? Then maybe you have a drinking problem!

Total up how much of the food budget goes for soda, beer, and bottled water. If it is more than 20%, then it may be time to change your drinking habits. Try these ways to reduce the cost of beverages:

  • Use refillable water bottles instead of bottled water.
  • Never drink bottled water at home. Put a water filter on your tap instead. And remember to turn off the filter when washing hands, dishes and other items.
  • Use bottles filled with tap water mixed with sweetener or drink flavoring packets like Crystal Light instead of soda.
  • Take the TDS Pantry Challenge.
    Clean out that pantry, fridge and freezer and see how much extra cash you can free up this month!

  • Experiment with the generic store brand soda. Find a brand you like and you'll save up to half the cost of the branded soda.
  • Shift to simpler beverages. Elaborate flavors (black cherry with vanilla, diet raspberry lemonade) are more expensive than the generics. This will save money and often eliminate side trips to other grocery stores to find the one, perfect combination flavor.
  • Find what triggers you to drink as much as you do. A family member over 21 can legally enjoy a beer while watching a game. However, if your friends gather for a few beers on game day every week, they are driving up your grocery budget. Do you drink a soda while surfing the net and simply refill to keep going? Set a sleep schedule and turn off the computer at a set time to end the need to "refuel" and keep going all night.
  • Is your athlete going for sports performance? Sports drinks do not have to be expensive designer brands. Generic sports drinks are often just as good. Low sugar fruit juice also quenches thirst without unnecessary calories.
  • Shop smart with great cash back offers on your favorite brands at your favorite grocers.
    Better than coupons. Join Ibotta today.

  • Are you a juice addict? Hook up with neighbors in food co-ops and take their unwanted fruits and vegetables to feed your juicer. You could repay the favor by giving them unwanted produce of your own or returning a favor.
  • What do you want for Christmas or your birthday? If you enjoy a beverage, request it as a gift! It's better than a knick-knack you do not want and will save you money.

Take the Next Step:

  • Making your own carbonated water and soft drinks is simple and can greatly reduce your beverage costs! Get a Soda Maker at
  • Discover more smart beverage savings by visiting the Dollar Stretcher Library.
  • Better than coupons. Shop smart with great cash back offers on your favorite brands at your favorite grocers. Join Ibotta today.
  • Join those who 'live better...for less' - Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, a weekly look at how to stretch both your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!

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