This post is part of The One Hour Project, in which you can spend just one hour to put your finances in a better place without a big lifestyle change, through frugality or other financial choices.
One of the biggest expenditures in many people’s lives is that of bottled and canned beverages, whether it be soda, sports drinks, or even bottled water. Considering that you can get four gallons of tap water from your tap for a single cent, it’s easy to see that substituting other beverages for this highly inexpensive resource can save you a lot of money rather quickly. If you drink a case of soda a week (costing $6), that’s an annual savings of $312 – well worth it.
Not only that, most people don’t drink a healthy amount of water in a day. The National Institute of Medicine advises that “men consume roughly 3.0 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.” Since only 20% of that comes from food, men should be drinking a little over 10 cups a day and women should drink a little over 7 cups a day – and the average American drinks far less than that.
Plus, it’s always a healthy choice to replace beverages that you’re drinking with water. Every time you make that choice, you’re choosing to eliminate all sorts of things from your diet – everything from caffeine to high fructose corn syrup and excess salts.
The problem for most people is upsetting their routine, so spend some time making it easy for yourself to change the routine. Here’s the game plan.
Every time you have a tendency to grab a beverage, get water instead. Make it your mission to do this for one week, and if you don’t like it, then don’t continue with it.
Fill some water bottles and put them in place of where you normally store beverages. I have a shelf in my refrigerator for beverages. As I went through my last go-round of Gatorade, I refilled the bottles with water and put them back in the fridge. This way, my normal routine of reaching in and grabbing a bottle wasn’t interrupted.
Don’t buy replacements for the beverages you already have. If you buy Gatorade or soda – or even ordinary bottled water – by the case, stop buying it. Instead, just keep water around and available in the refrigerator.
The real key to changing your beverage drinking habits, as with changing any habit, is to focus on changing the routine of it. Converting to drinking mostly water for your liquid intake is financially worthwhile (and healthy, too), but taking the time to modify any expensive habit is worth your time.