Drinking water, saving money

Although there might not be total agreement about how much water we need to drink each day, we all know that having sufficient fluid intake is key to keeping our bodies hydrated (especially in hot or dry weather) – since our bodies are 60% water!   One of the best ways to ensure adequate water consumption is to drink water – pure and simple (after all, water = water).  But, there are other healthful ways to increase your water intake in addition to drinking tap water – but they all come at a price:

How can I consume the water that I need?

  • Flavored seltzer waters (typically $0.60 to $0.85 for 32 ounces) – buy carbonated water with a hint of flavor (such as lemon, lime, orange, or raspberry) that has no added sugar or sugar substitutes.  Many stores carry an affordable store brand or lesser-known brand.
  • Herbal teas ($2.12 to $2.38 for 20 herbal, caffeine free tea bags) – select caffeine-free teas that eliminate diuretic effects, and come in a staggering variety of flavors.  Bigalow carries flavors such as Orange & Spice, Perfect Peach and Red Raspberry; and, Celestial Seasoning carries flavors such as Black Cherry Berry, Lemon Zinger and True Blueberry.  Consider making sun tea during the summer months.
  • Soups – (Campbell’s Healthy Request soups, $1.44, 10.75 oz.) choose soups that are lower-fat and lower-sodium.
  • Tap water with a twist – add a zing of flavor (slice of lemon ($0.58/lemon), lime ($0.68/lime), cucumber ($0.78 each); or, a few raspberries or blueberries) to your cup of tap water.

What about bottled waters?

You can buy bottled waters by the gallon ($0.88 for a gallon jug of Great Value drinking water), or in individual bottles.  Packages of 24-bottles (16 – 20 oz. per bottle) of water cost around $4 – $4.50/case.  Remember, it’s more about portability and seal-ability than the water itself.  So, after you finish drinking a bottle of water, consider refilling it from a drinking fountain or faucet for the rest of the day.

How can FNS/SNAP benefits help?

You could use your FNS/SNAP benefits to purchase bottled water; or, you could use your benefits to buy groceries, and drink water from the tap.

What about when I eat out at (fast food) restaurants?

How do fast food restaurants make most of their profit?  Through the sale of fountain drinks that have a 1200% markup.  What does this mean to you?  If you pay $1.29 for a drink, the actual cost to the business is just $0.10.  What to do?  Order tap water (or ice water) for free, or a minimal cost to cover the cost of a cup (typically $0.10).  Not only does the price of fountain drinks affect your wallet, the “empty” (i.e., no nutritional benefit) calories affect your waistline!

What ways have you found to easily get the water you need without putting a huge dent in your wallet?

* Walmart prices on 5/16/12.