How much could you save if you didn't have to buy soda?
We Review SodaStream
by Paige Estigarribia
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The Dollar Stretcher was sent a SodaStream Source Sodamachine with CO2 carbonator, carbonating bottle, and many flavorings to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are those of the author.
As a self-proclaimed lover of soda, I can attest to how wonderful soda tastes. I love the fizzy yumminess, sweetened and perfectly carbonated. Sometimes, nothing will beat an ice-cold, carbonated soda. But, I can also attest that buying soda from the store can make a big dent in your monthly grocery bill. In searching for frugal alternatives for buying soda, TDS was thrilled when SodaStream provided us with a Source machine to review. And we absolutely loved this soda machine! But before we tell you all the reasons why we love it, let me tell you a little about how it works.
How Does the SodaStream Work?
The SodaStream Source works by using a CO2 carbonator to carbonate plain water. It came with the actual machine, the CO2 carbonator, and a reusable carbonating bottle. It doesn't even need to be plugged in! The machine has different levels of carbonation, and depending on how much fizz you like, your drink can be as fizzy as you want. Plus, they have so many flavors. You're bound to find one (or many!) that you adore! So why do we love it?
Why We Love the SodaStream Soda Machine
Ease and Variety of Making Your Own Soda at Home (or Work!) - With the Source machine, SodaStream sent us a great variety of soda flavors to try from SodaStream's own naturally flavored soda syrups (Ginger Ale and Cola) to a variety of SodaStream's regular and diet sodas, Country Time Pink Lemonade, Ocean Spray Cranberry, Crystal Light, Kool-Aid, and even a non-alcoholic Cosmopolitan cocktail flavored syrup! Here at TDS Headquarters, we tried them all, and between all of us, we didn't find a single one that tasted terrible. SodaStream has enough flavors available to appeal to anyone who enjoys carbonated beverages. I loved all the MyWater flavors and the Naturally Flavored Ginger Ale and Cola myself, but my fellow co-workers all had their own favorites, ranging from Raspberry MyWater, Root Beer, the Cosmopolitan, and Ocean Spray Cranberry. Plus, some syrups are flavored with artificial sweeteners, while others have natural sugar, so if you are counting calories, these sodas could be a very tasty (and lower-calorie) alternative.
Less Expensive Overall Than Buying Canned/Bottled Soda - Depending on where you are, which stores you shop at, how much soda you drink, and which sales are going on, making your own soda (or carbonated water) can be a much more frugal alternative to buying soda. On sale around here, you can expect to pay about $4 per twelve pack for premium soda brands. The same is also typically true for carbonated water beverages (unless they are BOGO). So for example, if your home or office goes through a 12-pack of soda per week, that's 624 cans of soda in a year and $208 per year, just for weekly soda expenditures. If your family goes through two 12-packs per week, that's 1,248 cans of soda a year and $416 per year in soda expenditures.
According to SodaStream's site:
A Source Machine: $99.95 (a one-time purchase)
SodaMix flavorings: $4.99-$9.99 (each 16.9-ounce bottle makes 33 cans)
Two-pack of one-liter carbonating bottles: $19.99 (good for three years' use)
CO2 carbonator exchange: around $15 (This is based on our web research. According to several retailer sites, you must bring in your empty carbonator to get this price for a full one. To purchase an additional, spare CO2 carbonator is a higher price.)
According to the above, you would need about 19 bottles of soda syrup to equal buying a 12-pack per week for a year, and that would be about $94 to $189, depending on the type of syrup you like. You could double that for two 12-packs per week. Your carbonators last up through 60 liters of soda, and your carbonating bottles last three years. According to SodaStream's site, a can of soda equals out to about 25 cents, and a liter of bottled water is about 25 cents. For a family who buys one twelve pack per week, that's $3.00 per week to make your own with SodaStream, compared to $4.00 if you buy a twelve pack. It could be a yearly savings of $52.00! It's a great value with great variety too!
Good for the Environment and Fun! - One of the best things about the SodaStream Soda Maker is the fact that there are no cans or bottles to throw away. The 12-pack per week in soda that you buy also produces 12 empty cans that go in the trash or the landfill. That's a lot of empty cans per year! The soda maker uses tap water, and the carbonating bottle is reusable. Even the CO2 cans are returned to be refilled. Plus, it is really fun to make your own sodas and experiment with all the great flavors SodaStream offers! From Kool-Aid to sparkling teas, SodaStream has a flavor option for anyone that likes soda.
Things to Think About Before You Purchase
First, if you are completely wed to the flavor of a certain soda, the SodaStream flavors might taste a little different to you. If you only drink a certain brand, or only drink soda from a can, or only drink soda from the fountain, see if you can try out a SodaStream flavor before you buy to make sure you like it. A few of us here at TDS really like certain types of soda, but we were pleasantly surprised by the great flavor of several of the SodaStream flavors. The soda flavors you prefer can vary depending on your particular tastes and preferences. The variety of sodas offered by SodaStream is pretty diverse.
Second, if you are watching your dollars, remember to bring in your carbonator to get a lower-priced exchange refill. Your carbonator should carbonate 60 liters of soda, and buying a spare outright will cost a bit more than exchanging it for a full one.
And be sure to read all the directions before you start making fizzy drinks!
That's it! No more lugging 12-packs out of the car from the grocery store. No more re-stocking the office fridge full of soda cans. No more two-liter bottles taking up space on your countertop. The SodaStream is an easy, versatile way to create your own tasty sodas at home or at work! And with the variety of flavors offered by SodaStream, any soda drinker has a great offering to choose from!
Paige Estigarribia is a writer for The Dollar Stretcher who enjoys writing about food, frugal living, and money-saving tips. Visit Paige on Google+.
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