Five Minute Finances #6: Drink Lots of Water

Five Minute FinancesFive Minute Finances is a series of tips on how you can save significant money or reorganize your financial life in just five minutes. These tips appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on The Simple Dollar.

This is one of my favorite money saving tips, mostly because it’s so surprising to most people. Drink water? What does that have to do with saving money?

Give this exercise a try for one week. Before you prepare or order or buy any food, drink eight ounces of water (twelve or sixteen ounces if you’re a bigger fellow). It only takes a moment or two and you can do it almost unconsciously, but you’ll find yourself eating a smaller portion. This means a smaller bill at the restaurant, smaller meal preparations at home.

Not only do you directly save money on food bills (I estimate saving several dollars a week for myself alone by doing this), you may also indirectly save money on medical bills. The Cornell University Medical Center found that the majority of Americans are deficient enough in water intake to actually be considered dehydrated. To quote, “Asked to describe their beverage consumption habits, participants report drinking an overall average of only 4.6 8-ounce servings of water per day-most health and nutrition experts recommend at least 8 servings per day.”

In other words, drinking a little water before each meal is a real money saver in more ways than one. Today, when you start thinking about a meal, have a glass of water before you even get started. The end result? You’ll eat less, feel better, and save some money, too.

Trent Hamm

Founder & Columnist

Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 and still writes a daily column on personal finance. He’s the author of three books published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press, has contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and his financial advice has been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.