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Reader Tip: We Save Over $500 a Year by Drinking Water

Kimberlee at The Peaceful Mom emailed in the following tip:

It may seem simple, but drinking water rather than coffee, soft drinks or juice saves our family hundreds of dollars a year. Here’s how:

Grocery Budget

The most immediate savings occur in our weekly grocery spending. Soft drinks average $1.29 per two liter bottle in our area while juice averages $2.59 a bottle. Being a Money Saving Mom® reader, of course I would wait for a sale and use a coupon to buy the juice for around $1 a bottle.

Even with this savings our family of six would spend $4.58 a week buying two bottles of soda and two bottles of juice. By drinking water instead we’ve been saving a minimum of $238 on our annual spending.

Entertainment Spending

Like most large families, we try to keep a tight rein on the entertainment budget. In order to save money in this budget category we choose to skip daily $5 specialty coffees. We go even further by avoiding the dollar coffee as well. Spending $1 a day, five days a week adds up to $260 a year.

When we happen to take our family to a restaurant for a special occasion, we order water rather than soda. This saves us an average of $2 per person or $12 per meal. If we go out only six times per year, we save $72 on our yearly spending. By choosing water over other drinks when we’re away from home we been saving an average of $332 annually.

Medical Expenditures

A less obvious benefit from drinking water is lower doctor and dentist bills. Excessive drinking coffee and soda rather than water can lead to dehydration. This can cause a multitude of health problems ranging from dry skin, fatigue and memory loss to more serious issues such as low blood pressure, depression and heart problems.

Choosing juice might seem to be a better alternative, but studies have shown that children who drink large amounts of juice have a higher incidence of tooth decay. Drinking juice also increases blood sugar rapidly, which can lead to insulin resistance and eventually diabetes.

If we avoid one doctor visit (average $150 ) and one dental filling (average $135) per year, we save $285 per person or $1710 a year for our family of six.

Drinking water may not be exciting, but it’s an easy way we save hundreds of dollars a year and meet our financial goals more quickly.

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115 Comments

  • Stephanie says:

    I absolutely adore this tip and can’t imagine why more people don’t see the value in it. Not to be over looked also is the environmental benefit. Think of all the plastic containers not being produced (even if they get recycled, there is still an environmental impact).

  • Anna says:

    Growing up, my family of 8 always got water at restaurants too. If we wanted soda or juice occasionally, it was so much cheaper from the store. Nowadays a non-water drink at a restaurant is still very much a novelty to me.

    • chelsea says:

      That’s how it was for us too! I don’t think I realized until I was older that you could even order drinks at a restaurant. Its crazy how expensive it is to add even a single soda or tea to your order.

      • Chandler says:

        While on vacation, soda or tea cost $2.99 per person. Water was free. For the 4 of us, it would have cost us almost $15 in sodas when you count in tax and tip. Water with lemon please.

        • Laura says:

          When I used to wait tables people would get water with lemon and add a bit of sweet and low to it and make lemonade. 😛

  • I would add, in the vast majority of locales, drinking your plain old tap water is perfectly fine. I’m an epidemiologist (MPH) with 8 years of experience, and tap water is safe and healthy. You don’t need to buy bottled water. Bottled water contributes to landfill waste, uses petro-chemicals and the bottles can leach chemicals when left in the sun.

    We do drink other beverages, but 90% of what I drink is plain tap water. The other 10% is coffee, hot tea or Crystal Light lemonade.

    My husband and 4yo enjoy milk and juice, but I dilute the juice 50% and they only get 1 cup daily.

    My 10mo consumes only breast milk for liquids but I will introduce water for him this summer.

    • Holly says:

      I miss my parent’s tap water, theirs tasted very good! At our new apt since we got married the water has some freaky chemical in it that eats through copper pipes and made the fins deteriorate on my fish…. but we use a brita filter and bpa free bottles so we don’t have to waste the bottles or the money to buy them 🙂

      • Kristine says:

        We used to live in a small town where the water was so rusty that it was undrinkable straight from the tap.

    • Amy says:

      Do you filter your tap water?

      • Nope. I’ve lived in Chicago and now Columbus, OH and our water is just fine. Never filtered.

        However, I grew up in a small town with horrible water that smelled and tasted awful. It even stained white clothes! We used 2.5 gallon jugs and filled them up at the store or at family’s houses that had well water.

        • Amanda says:

          I am scared to drink our well water because of all of the mineral deposits. Our sinks and shower were turning orange and after my husband replaced the water tank under the house, they are now green. We have a filter and the water is tested from time to time, but nothing helps. I prefer bottled water, atleast for now.

    • Kristine says:

      I filter our tap water. I have to minimize my chlorine intake as much as I can.

  • Alyssa says:

    We do the same!

    At times (like fevers) when I need my kids to drink more fluids (more than they would plain water) I make iced herbal fruit tea (raspberry, peach etc.) Celestial Seasonings had coupons for a while so I could snag boxes for $1 or less. I can get at least 10 pitchers of iced tea made with it. So .10 for a couple liters of tea is pretty good for the occasion we need a flavored drink.

  • I completely agree. You can add extra flavor to the water with food you already have in the house for those special occasions:

    Lemons – sliced, ask for these at the restaurants too
    Limes – sliced
    Cucumbers – I love serving sliced cucumbers in a glass water pitcher with some ice in the Spring / Summer. It looks beautiful and tastes refreshing. The drink is a hit with our family and friends, plus it is healthy. We typically use the cucumbers from our garden.

  • We have a home water filter and have not purchased bottled water in years. For treats every once in a while, my kids will get juice, and I might treat myself once a week to a fountain soda (it’s my weakness 🙂 ), but we are drinking water 99% of the time, and we’re healthier for it, in addition to saving money! (We calculated that we used to spend over $30 a month on bottled water.)

  • Jessica says:

    I used to be a die-hard Vanilla Coke drinker. But, I cut it out because of all the sugar. Saved money on groceries, but cavities have all but disappeared since we stopped having pop in the house.

    • Crystal says:

      You and Jesse. Me? I think the stuff is nasty! 🙂

    • peever says:

      I gave up all caffeine 8.5 yrs ago, but I must admit that Vanilla Coke was pretty darn tasty!

    • My weakness is pop, I LOVE it! We usually have Cherry Coke, Diet Dr. Pepper and Sprite in the house (I usually get a 12 pack for $2.25 or less). I limit myself to one a day (unless it’s a special occasion). I do notice I have a lot more energy when I cut back. I know I could save so much if I quit, but at this point it’s a luxury I’m not willing to give up. (However with my husband being laid off in a few months, this could very well be my reality)! We also almost never had juice in the house until I started couponing. Now we have it and we don’t drink it that often. I also dilute the juice I give to the kids! However, we almost always get water when we eat out!

    • Micha says:

      I’ve just about quit Dr. Pepper as well. I find it tastes funny when I do drink it now.

  • Holly says:

    Another savings is actually on groceries, here in America we are very obese and very dehydrated (think of all the soda and energy drinks people are consuming) I read that often times when we feel we are hungry, we are actually thirsty and do not recall the difference. Most people I know don’t drink even close to the right amount of water. If we all stayed hydrated (which is tough to do-drink that much water!) some would probably eat less and be a more healthy weight 🙂

    I agree with the medical as well, If I have a headache, I know I’m dehydrated and I drink some instead of taking advil! If my lips are chapped, I reach for water before chapstick!

    • Crystal says:

      I’m amazed at how much better I feel when I stay hydrated! I especially notice this in pregnancy.

    • Ericka says:

      You wouldn’t think it was related, but as I’m trying to be more healthy I track my food and water intake daily and have noticed that when I don’t have enough water I don’t sleep as well. I don’t filter mine from the tap, but generally use the refrigerator which has a filter, but only cause it comes out colder!

    • Susan says:

      Yep! Whenever I get a headache, the first thing I reach for is a glass of water. Within an hour I usually feel a lot better.

  • emily says:

    My husband and I do something similar. We just opt out of purchasing soda, etc. when we are out. If we want a soda, we catch really good sales at Kroger and stock up. What you pay for one soda while you are out, is the price of a 12 pack on sale.

    • Amanda says:

      My husband and I usually always opt for water when we eat out as well now. We used to both get sodas, but I told him the same thing, we were paying the price of a 12 pack on sale for one soda. I would rather save the money on my restaurant total, tax and tip and get a 12 pack on sale for home. I realized I barely drank all of my soda when I was out to eat either. My husband on the other hand can drink three sodas while eating out. I am still trying to get him to cut back on diet sodas at home too.

  • Sarah says:

    I’m struggling with this one. I have always ordered water with my meals ever since graduating from the kids menu at age 12. I have water bottles for my kids to drink water throughout the day. I don’t disagree with the “water is good for you” premise. But I don’t see how not buying a $2 drink saves me $2. Or by not buying a $5 coffee saves me $5. According to that line of thinking, not taking my family on a cruise saves me several thousand. If I don’t have the money allocated in my budget for that specific purpose, I’m not saving any money. If I used to stop at Starbucks daily, but then chose to stop in order to save that money, it’s a different story.

    • emily says:

      I see what your saying, but I took the post differently. I think the family had the habit of buying drinks, etc. and chose to change and because of this, they are saving.

      My husband and I use to buy soda, tea, etc. with our meals when we went out and we chose to change that to save money.

    • Susan says:

      Sarah, I agree with Emily.

      I think the way people measure “savings” is highly variable. I agree with you that if you never used to spend money on something, then you are certainly not saving anything by continuing to not buy it now.

      I had a similar thought regarding a recent post (on another blog) about a coupon for Hostess cupcakes. “Save” $1! Well, I don’t buy that kind of junk food, so using a coupon to buy a box for $1-2 post-coupon isn’t really “saving” me anything.

      I used to spend $4/day at Starbucks, which adds up to $20/week. In order to save money, I stopped going to Starbucks and instead bought bagged Starbucks coffee in the grocery store and brewed my own for closer to $6/week, thus “saving” $14/week. I could “save” that $14/week if I gave up my Starbucks altogether, but I won’t because I like it too much.

      However, given that it’s been several years since my Starbucks habit went from $20 to $6 per week, I don’t continue to think that I’m “saving” $14/week. When I first made that change, I saw real dollar savings, but now that I’ve been spending $6/week for so long, I don’t “save” anything unless I get a really good deal on bagged coffee.

    • Chandler says:

      One way to think about it is if you are eating out you need something to drink. By choosing water over something else you are saving that amount of money since water is free most of the time.

    • Dawn says:

      Sarah that was exactly what I was thinking.

  • Amy says:

    If you want to get your kids to drink more water (but they are used to drinking juice) just add a slice of lemon to add flavor!
    I have never given my kids very much juice at all, but there was a time when they were getting tired of just plain water and wanted something else. I now add lemon and Wa-La..problem fixed!

    • Amy says:

      That’s a great tip! My husband and I do that sometimes.

      Another idea you might want to try if you have any good apple cider vinegar around, the kind with the “mother” in it, is to put a tablespoon of vinegar and a tablespoon of honey in 8 oz. of water. I use this whenever I crave soda because it has a similar effect on my tastebuds. My kids think it’s a little too tart, but it really helps me.

  • Jill says:

    I’m glad that works for you – but I can’t imagine a life without good coffee. Or a glass of grapefruit juice to start the day. Or my daily sparkling water (which is calorie free, no artificial sweeteners). Or giving my kids organic milk & juice. These things may cost more than tap water – but they are worth every penny to me! It’s hard to put a price on pleasure and mental health (the coffee!).
    Also, because of the fluoride that the city dumps in our tap water and the pharmaceuticals that show up when it is tested, we avoid tap water like the plague!

    • Please look into the research. Fluoride in the amount a person should drink daily (64-80 oz) is not harmful to health; rather, it benefits the teeth immensely. And ditto on the pharmaceuticals. The levels are nowhere near a medical “dose” of the drug- not enough to have a biological effect, even on children, even when consumed daily. These urban legends perpetuate themselves! I have a Masters of Public Health and 8 years of experience as an epidemiologist.

      • Jill says:

        I guess it depends on whose research you choose to believe! I would hardly call the research I have seen “urban legends”. I think if one researches fluoride, and why and how it came to be in our water, they would be very surprised. As well as researching who has historically used fluoride to manage people they wanted “under control”. Your credentials are very impressive, but I’m happy to be free to make my own choices on what is healthy and safe for my family. We have been a fluoride-free family for a decade, and not one of my 3 children has a single cavity or dental problem.
        As far as the pharmaceuticals in the tap water? There are so many new things, drug-wise, out there that are getting into our water – there is no way you can say what future effects they will have. I am just not cool with trace anti-depressants and hormone replacement drugs going into my developing children.

    • Crystal says:

      I love my coffee, too! Life is just better with a cup every day or every other day. 🙂 It’s often my morning or afternoon “pick-me-up”!

      • Melissa says:

        I agree that we need to make our own choices for our families prayerfully and with research and I hope we can all respect one another for those decisions without passing judgment. As for me, well, I have tried to limit the amount of soda and coffee I drink (we very rarely, if ever, purchase it when out)….but, alas, I desperately crave a little “cheating” now and again. With my husband traveling and being pregnant with a 2 and 1 year old at home all day….I will take my little treats when I can get them. 🙂 Now my children….they are completely happy with water…and sometimes I dilute a little juice in it as well. (in addition to milk, which they both love) Heehee. They won’t know what they won’t miss…. 😉

      • Melissa says:

        I apologize if this is a repeat of a previous comment I made. It somehow disappeared. 🙂 Anyway, I was just saying that I hope we can all respect one another’s choices to do what we feel is best prayerfully and with research for our families. I have to say as far as the pharmaceuticals in tap water….I rarely get concerned about that type of thing, but when we were in the NICU with my last child, they were doing a LOT of clinical research on whether or not some of that was related to various birth defects. I don’t think anyone truly knows. I would hate to be wrong. 🙁 That being said, we do use tap water filtered, but I certainly would not judge anyone who chooses not to do so. We try not to drink soda much…but I have to admit, with my husband traveling regularly, and being pregnant and home with my 2 and 1 year old (and in a temporary apt. waiting for our house to sell….) the stress and pressure makes me cave a wee bit to my morning coffee and an occasional soda….sometimes those “pick-me-ups” are worth it to me! 🙂 I figure, all in moderation…. 😉 (wink wink)

    • Kristine says:

      I enjoy my coffee, too. My hubby and I have a cup every evening after dinner. I guess it’s kind of a comfort food for us. We don’t drink a lot of it, so we really don’t spend much money on it. I do indulge in the whole-bean kind, but I buy it at Aldi, so it still not very expensive. During the day I sometimes drink herbal tea.

  • chelsea says:

    This is a work in progress for me, a southern-sweet-tea-loving girl!

  • Missy June says:

    I wish I could save in that way! My three little ones enjoy their [tap]water, but have a serious milk addiction: We easily go through six gallons per week!

    I just think they will have the strongest bones and perhaps I’m saving on doctor bills for broken bones. That’s my justification, anyway – =)~

    • sarah says:

      I agree with whoever posted about the 6 gallon per day milk habit 🙂 Same here! Sometimes 7! And y usband uses the same logic about saving on broken bnes (and cavities).

  • Cindy says:

    I’m not sure if I could get used to drinking water in the morning instead of coffee.

  • Great idea. My sister in law just told me her husband allowed her to order soda at a restaurant for the first time because it was her first mother’s day. Otherwise, only water!!

  • Ginger Wood says:

    We started drinking water as part of a “wellness” program at work to lower our overall premiums. so far I have noticed fewer colds, sinus issues, and kidney problems. I was going to the doctor every few months for kidney infections. The issue has been resolved and we are saving money on doctors visits. Also, we are saving money on eating out!! By drinking water from the tap, it helps get me flouride. I save money on buying water bottles too. Love it!

  • Leanne says:

    I think the medical expenditure part is a little overstated. Actually, coffee, tea, and soda do contribute to overall hydration… the caffeine is what dehydrates you. So, you can make choices that don’t involve much caffeine. Having worked for a leading endocrinologist, I can tell you insulin resistance and diabetes have much more to with overall calorie consumption, a lack of exercise, and your gene pool. A glass of juice, in the correct portion (usually 4 oz, not 8) is not a bad thing. Coffee can be made for pennies on the cup at home.
    I do get the cost factor…its lifestyle choices☺ We should just be careful that we don’t overstate the benefits of certain nutritional/ financial choices. However, obviously, water is always an awesome choice to drink! We should consider it a blessing that we live in a country with safe, clean drinking water (usually!)

    • Jennifer says:

      I was totally thinking the same thing as you. I’m a dietitian and I can tell you without question that the amount of sugar a person consumes in no way leads to diabetes. Developing diabetes has much more to do with your family history and your weight. The only way sugar impacts that is if you are consuming so much sugar that you are overweight, you would increase your chances of becoming diabetic.

      As far as the coffee goes, there is much research to support the caffeine and antioxidants found in the coffee.

  • I grew up with amazing tap water straight from a north Florida aquifer. It spoiled me, but I have finally gotten used to the tap water at my house. However, I find that water tastes awful at some restaurants.

    I got the mio water flavor for $1 a while back, and threw one in my purse. When we go out and order water I squirt some in so it doesn’t taste bad. It works out to cost around 2 cents per serving, and the little bottle has a great seal so it hasn’t leaked.

    • Crystal L. says:

      I also dislike the taste of restaurant water. Heck, I usually dislike just normal water (long time Diet Coke addict – almost entirely weaned off, yay!) and flavored packets are normally how I can ensure I drink enough water throughout the day. Anyway, I never thought about bringing the flavor packets to a restaraunt though! That’s brilliant! Thank you!

    • Rachel says:

      I understand why you do this, but as a waitress it really frustrates me when I see people do this. When you go out to eat you should allow yourself to indulge a little. It’s a time to relax and enjoy yourself. When your bill is smaller I get a smaller tip unless you compensate me with what you saved.

      • Kristine says:

        I don’t flavor my restaurant water (other than by asking for lemon in it), but I understand that some people have a hard time drinking water without a little flavor. The way I see it, it’s not cheating the waitress out of a bigger tip if people aren’t planning to buy drinks either way (whether they flavor their water or not). For us, eating at a restaurant at all is an indulgence, and we go out to eat only once per pay period. Adding the cost of drinks to the bill is not something that we would even consider most of the time.

        • Marsha says:

          A patron’s decision to order water instead of a soda is not the same thing, tip-wise, as not ordering a drink at all. Not ordering a drink means that no filling, delivering and re-filling (all part of a server’s job) is happening. If a patron orders water, he or she is merely having the server do those tasks, but not compensating accordingly on the grounds that the drink is “free”. The contents may well be free, but the work involved in serving the drink shouldn’t be.

          • Kristine says:

            I disagree. Most restaurants that I’ve been to serve water even if you don’t ask for it in lieu of other drinks, so I don’t consider it a beverage for which I should feel obligated to tip extra. I consider it part of the service for my meal as a whole, and I think that tipping 15-20% as I do is reasonable.

      • Beth T says:

        I was a server too and when people order water only it always made me expect to get a low tip–however, I always tip 30% anyways so I don’t feel bad ordering water. I understand what you are saying though. Its just that people who are frugal tend to be frugal with their tips too which is often rude.

        • Kristine says:

          I usually tip 15-20%. Adding drinks plus even more for a tip would be just too expensive for us. I know that it’s tough being a waitress and having to rely on tips, though.

      • Rachel,

        Please consider that some people don’t drink alcohol, coffee, or tea for religious reasons. We do not.

        We only go out to eat once a year, for our anniversary OR our birthdays (combined). We can only afford to go because it is my parent’s gift to us (otherwise, we would not be going out to eat at all).

        They give us $30 and watch the children for an hour and a half.

        We have to make that money work for our dinner, including tip. That usually means we can’t order drinks. Sometimes we have ordered lemonade when we could (depending on where we chose to go that year), but, it’s usually water. We drink water all the time at home. I’m not spending less; I’m spending what I can within the amount that I have. It isn’t going to go any higher.

        Perhaps you can be grateful for those who are able to afford to eat out at all, even if they aren’t big spenders. If everyone who couldn’t order drinks (or who just likes water, as we do) stayed home because of it, there would be a lot less people to wait on at all.

        • Joanne says:

          If I want to order water I order it. I tip very well and I will not be forced to drink a soda if that is not what I want to drink. Just because I drink a water does not make me el cheapo LOL.

        • Rhea says:

          I will say this. I too, am a server and we work hard for our tips. If ya’ll have very little money maybe a diner would be a better place to go, or even a pizza joint. There it would be ok to tip your sever less, because that atmosphere is more a a rush, rush, hurry, hurry type place. Nicer places expect to be tipped better, and well they do more for you. Remember server wages are a lot less than what you would make anywhere else. Tips also feed their families and children.

          • Kristine says:

            Actually, most of the time when we go out, we do go to fast-food places, where tipping isn’t expected, and the food itself is usually cheaper. When we have pizza, I usually make it myself from scratch. However, every once in a while, we do splurge on a sit-down restaurant, and I tip 15-20% on the total cost of our meal. I understand that it’s tough being a waitress, but still I don’t believe that we should be made to feel obligated to buy beverages on those few occasions when we do eat at a non-fast-food restaurant.

      • My saving $4 off of my bill by ordering water isn’t going to hurt the tip for a waitress. At 15% that’s what, 60 cents? And most of the places I go don’t have waitresses to tip 😀

        I have yet to find a restaurant that has a sugar free drink without aspartame, which is why I carry the flavor so I don’t feel bad about using it since I can’t have the aspartame and shouldn’t have the sugar.

      • Sarah in Alaska says:

        I prefer water. Plain and simple. It’s really not a matter of indulgence or relaxation.

        One time a host at a steak house seated my husband and me in the bar and it was obvious that the server wanted us to purchase something other than water. I made it clear that I expected my water glass to never be empty. If he could keep my glass full only then would he would get a 30% tip.

        Most recently the server at a rural Alaska restaurant eventually decided she should just leave me an entire pitcher. Yes. That earned her a good tip as well.

        I get tired of servers ignoring my table simply because of what we choose to order.

      • Kristine says:

        I agree!

      • Rachel says:

        I wish American restaurants were more like the European restaurants when it comes to tips. When I was visiting Spain for school, we were told it was considered rude to tip servers (they are paid more than servers in the United States). You knew that the price on the menu was exactly what you were paying, and to me, that was great. Sure, the prices appeared “higher” than I might pay in the United States, but I also wasn’t worried about making the decision on how much was an appropriate tip.

        • Beth L. says:

          I wish they were more like European restaurants too. The American system is really pathetic, honestly. Restaurants pay their staff $2.85/hour and then expect the patrons to make up the difference into a living wage. At a few restaurants, some servers certainly benefit from being paid with tips and make more that way than they would a reasonably hourly wage, but those servers are in the vast minority.

      • Cindy says:

        Well said!

      • Sarah says:

        When we go out to eat, we base the tip upon how attentive and friendly our server was, not necessarily our total bill. Servers that go above and beyond for us get a much higher tip (especially those who are nice to our toddler, who we ALWAYS clean up after before we leave). I’ve left a tip larger than the bill for some servers, and for others I’ve left nothing at all.

        The “nothing at all” was when she took so long to get our drinks that she forgot the order, and then brought me chicken fettucine alfredo when I asked for no chicken, and then told me to “pick out the chicken” myself instead of taking it back.

        I really don’t like the 20% rule for that reason. I want servers who work for their tip, not ones who feel entitled to it. And yes, I once had a job that relied upon tips.

        • Wow! Lots of opinions on this! I only drink water as I have an issue where I cannot drink other things usually, and that is all I drink. It is not a frugality thing! I will sometimes order hot herbal tea.
          I always tip, even if they were not the best wait staff. I have family members who are waitresses and I know most of the food issues is not the waitresses fault, usually the cooks.
          I think it is rude to go to a place that has waiters and waitresses and not tip at all. Especially if you are a Christian, my sister would know the people who would come in from church and then not tip at all. She hated it! She was a great waitress too!

        • Laura says:

          I waited tables through college and Im having a hard time understanding why ordering water is a bad thing – granted I only worked at a pizza place but I never had an issue that I was upset/annoyed that someone wanted to drink water…

          The reason servers ‘expect’ a tip is because they are paid WELL under minimum wage because of the expectation of tips making up the difference which is why a lot of places actually automatically add 15% for a tip on a bill.

          What I did find offputting is the people that came in seemingly looking to find things to complain about – As much as I understand people wanting things to go perfectly when they are out for a meal some times thats just not possible. The pizza place I worked at had a buffet and every Sunday at 12 the place would FILL up lines out of both doors with people waiting for other people to leave so they would be able to eat – I found that the wait time would often result in the customers not leaving the same type of tip they would give if they got there first.

          • Rachel says:

            OK, I am NOT saying you shouldn’t ever order water. It just seems a bit extreme not to order a real drink every time you go out because you are trying to be frugal. I work in a fairly nice restaurant and I only get so many tables per night. If I don’t get a nice tip it’s devastating. We do a lot for each table and in my experience many people who order water don’t tip as well (many DO, but several don’t). If you tip well even though you order water I really don’t care what you ordered. And no, I don’t care if you order dessert or an appetizer. I rarely do when I go out to eat because I get too full. You guys are taking what I said and completely running with it.

            At the restaurant I work in we have to tip out the busser and bartender. In the state I live in we are required to pay taxes on 15% of our sales whether we make that or not.

            I have lots of food allergies so I understand why some people can’t order anything but water. But, please remember that you’re not just tipping based on your check total, but on how many times I refilled your water. Tipping is grossly misunderstood, but it pays the bills and that’s why we do it!

  • Jennifer says:

    Since tap water has been proven to have all kinds of nasties in it in my area, we have a reverse osmosis system. The $350 it cost to install is far cheaper over time than paying for bottled water. Plus tap water is highly flouridated, which does not help those of us with thyroid issues!

    • I have Hashimoto’s disease. Fluoride does not affect the thyroid- that would be iodine, which is in salt, not tap water (unless there is something really seriously wrong with your water!).

    • Emily Kay says:

      Make sure you buy a mineral additive for your water too. RO filters out EVERYTHING, not just the bad stuff, and recent studies are showing that de-mineralized water can cause a host of health problems.

  • Carrie says:

    I do crave a pick-me-up on summer afternoons, and I can cave to the urge to have a cold can of Coke. But I’ve found a way to prevent this weakness — iced tea with just a bit of lemonade. It’s not as free as tap water, but it’s cheap and low-calorie.

  • Michelle says:

    Sigh…oh conviction, conviction…I *want* to give up my carbonated ways, but it’s just so tough. Thanks for the incentive to keep trying, though!

  • My family does not drink soda or juice but I am guilty of the coffee drinks. But seeing $260 a year just in $1 drinks is really eye opening.

    Also, not only will you be saving lots of money by switching to water you will be saving lots of calories. I know people that dropped over 40lbs just from switching to water from soda.

    • Ginny says:

      So we save money and lose weight? Wow. Those are my favorite results! Guess I should stop putting off cutting out my daily soda…

    • Charity says:

      This is so true! My husband is a Dr. Pepper-a-holic, and every time he weans himself off of it, he drops two pant sizes!

  • Kristin says:

    We are water people! My husband’s only other drink is coffee, but I enjoy iced tea and wine, too. We drink unsweetened tea and coffee.

    I grew up with water and unsweet tea after Dad was diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes. And it was quite clear how it happened: he drank up to 14 cokes a day.

  • Heather says:

    Great tips. We also drink mostly water. A little real juice in the morning, and some people in the family drink milk, but that’s it. No soda.
    I think the health benefits are greater than people realize.

  • We are very blessed to live in a country where clean water is available–and it comes right inside our homes! We don’t have to walk for 5 hours to carry home questionable water.

    The first time I went shopping after I was married, I came home to show my husband the great deals I had got. I remember showing him my favorite juice, which was on sale for .69. I was quite excited about it.

    He, being even more frugal than I was, looked at my total and said, “Can you do better?”

    I was shocked! I listened, though.

    He pointed out the cost of juice to me. I went to figure out the cost per serving, and when I did that, I looked at the serving size and the calories.

    The serving size was. . . . 1/4 of a cup! And it was 160 calories!

    There is no way that I was only going to drink 2 sips of juice at a time and call it done. That was eye opening for me.

    I stopped buying juice after that.

    We drink water all the time! We do not have a water dispenser on our fridge. We just keep water in the fridge. Our water has a high chlorine taste, and several people in town are appalled that we would drink tap water because of this. However, if you let the water sit in the refrigerator overnight, the chlorine taste will dissipate. The other nice thing about putting the water in the refrigerator is that you will have cold water immediately (instead of wasting water while it runs, trying to get cold water).

    We have 6 months of summer here, and nothing is quite so refreshing as a glass of cold water!

    • Crystal says:

      We, too, have found that water sitting in the refrigerator overnight makes a big difference in how it tastes.

    • Kristine says:

      I don’t like extremely cold water, so I don’t put it in the refrigerator. I just let it sit out on the kitchen counter.

      • Did you know, I read a thing on how ice cold water actually boosts your metabolism, and can help you burn extra calories?

        • Kristine says:

          That’s interesting. The problem for me is that my teeth are kind of sensitive to cold, so it’s hard for me to drink ice-cold water.

      • Beth L. says:

        I don’t like really cold water either. We moved our brita filter from the fridge to the counter and I’ve found that I drink WAY more water when it’s at room temp. Same with restaurants; I order my water without ice and can drink so much more.

  • Sarah says:

    Berkey water filters are AMAZING! Costly, I agree, but well worth it for us. I am a picky water drinker – I can taste STUFF in it. But LOVE the taste of Berkey water.

    When I am preggo and nursing, I am supposed to drink a boatload of water. If it doesn’t taste good and isn’t easily accessible, I don’t drink it. I didn’t like spending money on bottles when I was “supposed” to be drinking like8 or so a day! The Berkey did the trick!!!!

    http://www.berkeyfilters.com/berkeymodels.htm?gclid=CIjk8-Sc46gCFQli2godQg_jDA

    • I am usually pregnant or nursing, and we live in a very hot climate (summers can be 126º; we have 5 months of above 90º temperatures. Most summer days are 105º (at midnight) to 116º in the middle of the day).

      I have 16 ounce glasses, and I drink about 20 glasses of water a day.

      We installed a drinking fountain in our backyard so that our children can always get a drink when they are playing.

      Our children drink a lot of water, too!

      • Sarah says:

        hehe – I should’ve probably included pregnant AND nursing at the same time. I have been either pregnant, nursing or both for all but about 2 weeks or so of our marriage 🙂 🙂 🙂

        Oh I wish I were a better water drinker! I don’t drink enough PERIOD.

        Gooooood GRIEF 🙂

        LOVE the fountain idea!

      • Kristine says:

        I love the fountain idea. We wouldn’t be able to do it because we rent, but it’s such a great idea. I invested in some stainless-steel water bottles when they were on sale at Walgreens, and I keep them filled up for the kids.

  • HSD says:

    Great idea! One of our downfalls is drinking pop…but boy does it add up. Thanks for the reminder.
    Homeschool Dad

  • Holly says:

    Invest in a Reverse-Osmosis water filtration system. It is not too expensive, but saves so much money in the long run. It filters out a lot, especially the Fluoride. 🙂

  • Kristi says:

    When I was growing up, our family rarely went out to eat. It was such a treat. It was even rarer for us to order anything but water, sometimes for special occasions we were allowed to order a soda. It was always such a big deal and made me appreciate it when I was able to have it. This was also the practice at home. My mom bought sodas only for special things like slumber parties or birthdays. I’m glad that I didn’t grow up drinking a ton of soda (although I do love my Coke!) Now that I am the mom, I rarely buy sodas to drink at home. I have been trying hard to limit our juice intake as well, and so far it has gone great! My kids have been drinking a lot more water and they don’t think anything of it. If they want something to drink, I simply say “you may have water or milk” We don’t have to have juice in our home and its nice to know that we could eliminate it altogether if we needed to.

  • I rarely buy sodas or juice for us to drink at home. We’re a water family. Although when at a restaurant we do drink sodas. It’s a treat for us. Last summer I bought water bottles for each of my children and that’s what we use on picnics and field trips. We also bought a 2 gallon jug with a spigot. When we go on field trips or vacation we fill it with water and ice. When our water bottles are empty we just fill them up again from the jug.

  • I’m a big believer in the benefits of drinking 100% Concord Grape Juice (such as Welch’s). You get all of the benefits of wine without the alcohol consumption. I’ve had a glass every morning for literally decades. I truly believe that is why I have always had excellent blood pressure. I buy the frozen kind and mix it myself. It is rich so I add an extra measure of water to it when I make it (which also makes it last longer).

    I also love my coffee and also think there are health benefits. For people with asthma, it is an excellent natural remedy. I have noticed that if I drink my coffee regularly, I have very few flare-ups.

    I think it is important to consider the positives beyond just cost. Sometimes these “extras” can have added health benefits. 🙂

  • Drinking water is so natural for my family that I often forget we’re saving money by doing it. Thank you for remembering to mention the health benefits. Our bodies were meant to consume lots of that good stuff!

  • Anitra says:

    My husband and I grew up as heavy diet-soda drinkers. We have been drastically cutting our soda intake for about 2 years now. It’s just too expensive! We tend to only have water, juice, and milk in the house – and the only one regularly drinking the juice is my 2-year-old (watered down, of course!)

    We tend to get soda when we go out for fast food, and once in a while for a “treat” when our favorite brands are on sale at the grocery store. We also throw a humongous barbeque every summer, for which we usually provide about 2 cans of soda per person… for 100+ people! (Usually also bottled water. I try to provide pitchers of water & lemonade, but it’s too hard to keep up with, and people don’t keep track of their cups.) Sometimes there are leftovers from that, but not often. We look for cases of soda cans to go on sale starting about a month before the party date, and buy them 6 or so at a time.

  • Mom of 5 says:

    When my eldest daughter was a toddler, she refused to drink anything that was not juice. So I usually served her cow juice (milk) and cloud juice (water) She loved them, and thought they were juice, and it made us all happy. My family still drinks water mostly, although certain members like soft drinks. I quite them years afgo, and now they taste terrible. I am quite happy to stay with my “cloud juice”!

  • Stacy says:

    I grew up in a house where the main drinks were milk, water and orange juice. We nearly always ordered water in restaurants (my parents would get tea, coffee or water), and we only ever had pop in the house when we were hosting a party (usually once a year). To this day I still don’t like the taste of pop! I’m ok with root beer (love the microbrewed ones) and that’s about it. Coke, Pepsi, Dr Pepper, and everything else just taste like sweet icky to me.
    On the other hand, my husband grew up in a house where they drank pop all.the.time. At one point he was drinking close to a liter a day. To this day he has a pop habit that he can.not kick. He’ll go a few weeks without it then cave. If I don’t buy it when grocery shopping he will go out and get it. In restaurants he tries to only order pop every other time. His solution is to get the caffeine elsewhere if he can- coffee, tea, etc. We do loose-leaf tea and good whole bean coffee and it is still less expensive and healthier than pop.
    Basically pop and most juices have NO redeeming value. They’re empty calories and chemicals- high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners, colors, artificial flavors, etc.
    Our water here is VERY hard (it actually eats through the pipes). We keep a Brita tank in the refrigerator and filter our water with that- tastes great and its always cold.

  • Ami says:

    I sure wish it were an absolute formula that only giving kids water to drink equalled very few cavities. Not so for our son, who has extremely rarely been given anything but water and small servings of milk to drink. Sad. But surely it would have been worse (and more expensive!) if he’d been drinking and munching sugar all his life.

  • Vicki says:

    I try to drink more milk, being female and needing as much calcium as poss. I recommend the same for kids and teens. Having said that, nothing is better than iced water with a restaurant meal, plus it pays off in the long run not just in dollars saved, but in fewer calories consumed. People who drink sodas all the time are far more likely to become obese than people who drink skim milk and/or water. I use a Brita pitcher with a filter. Works great, and my tap water isn’t the best tasting either.

    @Ami – I drank tap water all my life, with the flouride, and have had few cavities, but I did end up needing a filling for one tooth anyway. The dentist said that tooth always had “weak enamel” anyway, so it might just be genetics in your son’s case, as it was in mine. Still, I’m in my 40s and still have all my teeth (except the ones extracted on purpose – my wisdom teeth, and a few teeth removed to make room for the rest, since I have big movie star teeth in a really small mouth!). My grandparents grew up in a rural area with untreated well water. They both lost all their teeth and were wearing dentures in their 30s. So, we’ve come a long way!!

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