How Will My Decision To Stop Drinking Soda Affect Our Finances?

Recently, I decided to stop drinking (and buying) soda.  And, when I say “recently”, I mean “today”.

In a few minutes I’m going to head to the grocery store.  For the first time in years, I will not be purchasing sodas.  I thought it might be interesting to run the numbers and see just how much I’ll save if I stick to my plan.

I’m embarrassed to admit that usually consume a 2 liter of Diet Mountain Dew every three days.  Yikes!  So, if we consider than an average 2 liter costs $1.25, and I purchase roughly 120 Diet Mountain Dews a year.

Wow.

I’ve been spending $150 a year on soda.  And, that doesn’t include the sodas that I purchase when I eat out.  For calculations sake, I’ll assume that I drink a minimum of 2 Diet Cokes, each week, when eating out.  That equals, 100 Diet Cokes @ roughly $2 a piece.  That’s another $200 I’ve been spending on Diet Cokes.

If you add all of my soda consumption costs, the total would be $350 a year!

Or, to put it another way -

$350 a year for 30 years, compounding at 4%, equals more than $20,000!

Wow.

Well, off to the grocery store.


NCN

http://www.ncnblog.com

No Credit Needed is a personal finance blog about debt reduction, saving money, and simple living. Thank you for visiting the site and please consider subscribing to No Credit Needed by Email. Have a blessed day!

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33 thoughts on “How Will My Decision To Stop Drinking Soda Affect Our Finances?
  1. Phil Stanoch

    Funny, I just made the same decision regarding Vitamin Water a couple of days ago. I was drinking 10 at week at ~$1.00 per, so I will be saving myself at least $520 a year. Not to mention the health benefits of drinking good old tap water instead of that sugar water. It’s amazing how quickly this could add up when you look at from a higher level as opposed to day-to-day. Good luck in your attempt to avoid soda!

     
  2. John Hunter

    I used to drink close to that much mountain dew. I cut back to 1 can a day for a year or so and then to about 3 or 4 a week. I must admit I would gladly pay what it cost and drink more if I could avoid the health consequences. So don’t forget you not only gain some money but better health as well.

     
  3. Mrs. Micah

    It’ll be great for your finances and health! I was addicted to Coca Cola in college (saying “addicted to Coke” gives people the wrong idea). It was included in the price of a cafeteria meal…but I was paying $0.65+ every night for at least one can. My stomach didn’t like it much either.

    Anyway, in my second year my roommate did an intervention. Terribly headaches for a few days, migraines really. But I went without it for a month and I’ve hardly ever even wanted it since. My body asks “why?” except on the rare occasions when it wants a strange sugar rush.

    Best of luck! Weather the headaches, they’ll go away within 4 days maybe less.

     
  4. Freeloader Attorney

    I stopped drinking diet Coke 3 years ago; I drank it obsessively from the moment it came on the market, only taking a break when traveling in countries that didn’t have it. I started trying to drink more water (so as to avoid drinking the dC), then took a Kundalini yoga class which was about releasing toxins. dC started tasting funny to me, so I thought I was getting sick and kept forcing it down. That lasted for two days.

    Since it was my caffeine delivery system of choice, I got a bit tired and about a week later, tried to drink some diet coke again. Two sips and I was done! It was utterly vile. One overtired day last summer, at a class where others were drinking diet Coke, I was dying for a can. It was tough not to get one, but I held out and haven’t wanted one since.

    Who knew Diet Coke was a toxin?

     
  5. joetaxpayer

    The latte factor is big for most people. Think about it – you can save 50 cents a day quitting the soda. How about the $5 coffee habit many have picked up? How about the 2 pack a day smokers, wasting nearly $4,000 a year and killing themselves at the same time? Congratulations on seeing the light.
    Joe

     
  6. Kevin

    I haven’t quite quit soda, but I’ve cut it down to a rare treat, and there are some positive ripple effects above and beyond the cost of the soda itself. Soda used to make up a good portion of the size and weight of our grocery purchases, so shopping is more convenient and it’s more practical to bring our own bags, take our smaller car, or even walk. Likewise soda took up a large amount of space in the pantry and fridge; that space is now available for other projects such as buying more things in bulk. There’s a nearby ethnic market that had great prices on produce but didn’t carry and name-brand packaged foods such as soda; now it’s practical to shop there and save money on all our produce.

    I bet if you pay attention you’ll see a lot of these little benefits that add up. Long-term, making a bunch of these kinds of changes makes downshifting to smaller houses and vehicles more practical.

     
  7. Holly

    There is also the financial benefit of improved health. Excess sugar consumption can lead to diabetes and/or obesity in the worst case scenario. Avoiding these costly illnesses has considerable value. I also have concerns about the acid consumption. I stopped drinking soda when I learned that the soda eats through the fountain tubes in the restaurants. Ugh!

     
  8. grapeshot

    I’ve learned that water works the best for quenching THIRST.

    For my caffeine fix, tea works, and I can have it either hot or iced, and I can jazz it up with lemon and/or milk or even a splash of orange juice. If I want a sweet drink, limeade or lemonade is a fabulous treat. I keep a simple sugar syrup made of equal parts water and sugar (boiled until the sugar dissolves) in a carafe in my refrigerator. This way it’s always ready to sweeten iced tea, or to make lemonade, and it dissolves much quicker in cold liquid.

    My mother was a frugal woman, and she would make orange juice from concentrate using about twice as much water as the directions called for. This not only made the concentrate last longer, but the drink wasn’t quite so sickly sweet. None of us kids felt deprived. The drink that resulted was rather like an orange flavored ade, or Tang. As kids we carped about a lot of things, but her “orange-ade” was never one of them.

    If I want something a bit more “sophisticated”, I drop a dash or two of Angostura bitters into some seltzer or soda water — but that’s IF I have any soda water around. (Bitters can also help digestion, but be warned, it is actually an alcohol based liqueur.)

     
  9. fivecentnickel.com

    I’d be willing to bet that you’re in for a rough week. Whatever you do, don’t give in. I quite Diet Coke back in February and haven’t touched a drop since. For whatever reason, it took me almost exactly six days to detox (I drank a *lot* of it). On the sixth day, it was almost like the clouds parted and it’s been great since. I sleep better, snore less, wake up more refreshed, etc. I still sneak a caffeine free Diet Coke every now and then, but I’ve pretty much replaced it with ice water.

     
  10. Industry and Frugality

    I recently decided to quit drinking sodas when I went out to eat and also to stop buying them when I buy groceries. I do still have some occasionally on long road trips. For me, the drinks account for too large a percentage of your meal when you go out to eat. I can save about 33% by choosing water. Good luck on your resolution!

     
  11. Aaron

    You might also consider that the price of sodas is expected to rise in conjunction with the increased costs in corn. If the price of corn increases, then it only makes sense that corn syrup and sodas follow suit. So essentially, you saved a bit more than you figure.

     
  12. Clean Simple

    You might want to add some tea to your day for at least a few days, to ease the caffeine withdrawal. Mt. Dew is quite high in caffeine. Congrats on kicking the soda habit!! I feel lucky that I’ve never gotten hooked on it. Coffee, yes, I love. But I make it at home, drink it black, and buy the beans for $3/lb at Costco.

    Keep us updated!

     
  13. Tim

    i use to drink a 6 pack of regular mountain dew throughout high school and drank lots of sugary caffeine impregnated soda during college and post college. not good at all. probably the reason why i cannot drink anything with sugar or caffeine unless i have eaten something. if not for the direct cost of the soda, you are decreasing your health care costs as well.

     
  14. Christina

    I have given up soda at home. I will still occassionally get a soda at a restaurant as a treat. We’re saving about $20 a month by doing so. My husband has significantly scaled back… mostly because I’ve been more of a stickler about buying it! :-)

    The hardest part of giving up soda is the mental challenge. Once you get over that, it’s easy. And you’ll feel better both physically and wallet-wise!

     
  15. Matt

    This is a perfect example of how the small amounts we spend can very quickly add up. I used to drink a lot more soda than you do until I calculated I was spending close to $1,000 a year on it. I now pause whenever I find myself buying something out of habit such as soda or chocolate bars. Good Luck cutting back!

     
  16. Livingalmostlarge

    I gave up soda about a year ago because I thought maybe we’d be having kids. So I went anti-soda and anti-alcohol. I feel better, but my DH is ADDICTED to Coke.

    He drinks probably 2-3 cans/day, used to be more but I’ve weaned him. I buy it at $1.99/12 pack so it works out to be about 21/cent can with the 5 cent deposit. So 16 cents/can. That means he’s drinking 50 cents/day.

    But I can’t get him to give it up. I’ve warned him about diabetes even considering that he’s BMI of 19. He drinks regular Coke too.

    What I’m hoping is he gives it up when we have kids so we don’t teach him bad behavior. Because when I drank soda we consumed a 12 pack every couple days. We spent I’ve tracked about $300/year on soda and we don’t drink when out, but this is ALL at home or taking a can to work.

     
  17. Johanna

    “For my caffeine fix, tea works, and I can have it either hot or iced, and I can jazz it up with lemon and/or milk”

    “and”? Seriously? I always thought that was a bad idea.

    For me, the biggest financial benefit of avoiding bottled beverages is that I can carry a week’s worth of groceries home under my own power, so I can go to the grocery store on foot or on the bus, so I don’t need to own a car. That’s a savings of a lot more than $300/year.

     
  18. Scott

    I actually quit for health reasons alone. I was also up to 2-3 liters A DAY. Yikes!! But I bet the savings there are astronomical. Assume an average of 16 liters per week, at 2.50 per 2 liters, and 53 weeks a year (plus 8 percent sales tax) equals 1144.80 a year. Holy Jesus, that’s a paycheck and then some, or roughly 4% of my income.
    Maybe I should calculate how much I’ve saved by quitting the cigarettes three years ago……..

     
  19. Emily @ Taking Charge

    Toward the end of high school I stopped drinking soda because my track coach strongly encouraged it. At some point in college I picked it up again, and became so addicted to Coca Cola (it’s the only soft drink I like) that I couldn’t resist getting one any time I picked up food or ate out (which is often since I live alone). I’m strange in that I don’t like Coke in a can, so I never bought it home, but I pick up sandwiches and things so frequently, and at restaurants a small coke costs anything from 99 cents to 1.99, so I was spending way more on it than I would if I could just drink it from a can.

    I have had some chronic digestive problems and I noticed that Coke aggravated it (I was so addicted I kept drinking it anyway.) A few weeks ago I made the decision to stop eating sugar, which was encouraged by my acupuncturist, naturopath, a friend who is an organic gardener who dropped sugar, and my mother, who stopped eating sugar a few years ago and has never felt better. It has been extremely difficult since I was always a sugar fiend, but I feel more healthy, have lost a few pounds, and have been saving so much money. I wasted so many dollars on Coke, cookies, desserts, etc…not to mention calories! I have had strong cravings and temptations are everywhere, but I found a great chocolate made by a small company near me that is sweetened with raw agave nectar rather than processed sugar, which has an extremely low glycemic index. It is delicious and helps me deal with the transition. Any time I see Coke at a restaurant I crave that sugary taste so badly, but I hope that will go away soon. In the mean time, I know my wallet and my body are SO much happier! I haven’t been spending nearly as much money. Every time I ordered a Coke somewhere, my bill went up about $2 because of the steep in-restaurant price and tax.

     
  20. T

    I used to drink HFCS loaded soda quite a bit years then I switch over to drinking at least 2 liters of water a day. I still will on occasion get a soda (usually coke or dr pepper), but I can go weeks and months without one. I drink beer and wine probably less than once a month, however, when I do drink I sometimes go overboard. Water seems to be the best substance for quenching my thirst.

     
  21. Nathan

    As others have pointed out, meh, on what it will do for your finances but it will surely do a lot for your health. About 4 years ago I dropped 20 lbs. just be limiting soda intake to 1 a week and getting a little exercise. High fructose corn syrup is f-ing poison. I still have about one soda a week but I try to make it a sugarcane soda whenever possible…not as terrible for you and tastes better to boot.

     
  22. Kate

    re: Giving up sodas

    I’ve recently been working on eliminating sodas from our diet and our grocery budget. I really enjoy them, but it’s hard to justify the expense. I switched to diet sodas years ago, so calories aren’t the issue. I just prefer flavored drinks to tap water much of the time, even though our tap water is excellent.

    For caffeine, I’m a tea drinker. And in summer I switch to sun tea, which I then refrigerate and drink cold instead of hot. Non-cola sodas are another thing. Fortunately, I do have a nice homemade alternative, which I posted about today on my blog. It’s called shrub, and you can read about it here:

    http://livingthefrugallife.blogspot.com/2008/06/shrub.html

    P.S. For anyone concerned about caffeine headaches resulting from going cold turkey, it IS possible to wean yourself pretty quickly without suffering the withdrawal headaches. Just cut your consumption in half each day until you’re down to less than a teacup. No more caffeine the next day, and no headache either. For most of us, this program takes no more than 3-5 days, though I admit those days and the ones that follow closely will be a challenge in terms of energy levels.

     
  23. mellen

    Not only will you save money but you’re not putting any phosphoric acid or high fructose corn syrup (in regular soda) or artificial sweeteners (in diet soda).

    Phosphoric acid binds to calcium and can contribute to calcium deficiency.

    High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is NOT sugar, it’s modified corn syrup and the human body does not process it the same way it processes sugar. In other countries, they don’t use HFCS in soda.

    I used to drink soda a lot in HS but then I stopped and only drank it when I went out. Eventually, I just stopped drinking it at all. I hope you quit it for good, it’s really not good for you. It’s not good for anyone.

     
  24. Holly

    An article I read recently talked about Aspartame, which is the sugar substitute used in diet sodas…Aspartame is pretty much poison! It leads to many, many serious health issues. We found out my my husband is allergic to aspartame after weird stuff started happening when we switched from regular soda to diet. I am in the process of cutting out soda from my diet and will only drink it as a “treat”.

     
  25. Lerrina

    A few years ago, my doctor (mistakenly) sent me information about Fosamax (for osteoporosis), right after my bone density scan. As such, I assumed I had – or was on the road for osteoporosis- and quickly started to do some online library research (am a chemist).

    Long story short: In this process, I discovered how soda pop essentially leaches calcium from your bones (in an effort to balance the phosphorous incoming from the soda pop).

    Frankly, that was enough for me- I recall thinking ‘this stuff is bone acid’. NO- not in the ‘dramatic’ way of thinking that it’s making your bones sizzle, but that it effectively causes progressive weakening of your structural frame/infrastructure.

    I’m predicting that there will be a lot of rail-thin women who will be severely osteoporetic (sp?) once they hit middle age and beyond, because of high soda pop intake over time during their younger years.

    Side note: doctor called the next day to apologize- I should not have been sent that information, as my bone density was fine! Paradoxically, I’d never done the investigation if not, and was glad to find this out!

    I’ll occasionally have a can of soda (usually the storebrand outside of the department store- cheaper, and tastes ok, since I’ve forgotten what the ‘real’ stuff tastes like!lol)- but no where near the old intake.

    Plus- I refuse to spend more than $5/24 pack when I do indulge- there just reaches a point where it’s economically stupid to pay for something that has so little value (on SO many levels)

    In general, hot/iced tea works just fine, along with those sugar-free on-the-go flavor straws added to TAP WATER.
    (sheesh- do NOT BUY BOTTLED WATER! -unless you live in sulfur-water-city, it’s THE biggest scam going!)

     
  26. Rebecca

    I recently spent a week flat on my back in the hospital with a severe bout of diverticulitis. During that time, I had no coffee (which I usually drank at least three or four cups per day) and no soda. After the hospital stay, I was on medication for two more weeks that left a horrible taste in my mouth, thus, curbing my appetite severely. Well, it has been a month and I still don’t have a desire for coffee or soda. And, I have lost 10 lbs. and kept it off!! Obviously, not the best way to lose weight, but I do think the soda and coffee were a problem. I did have a horrendous headache the first day in the hospital, which I attributed to not having my caffeine fix that day. Needless to say, water is my main choice for drinking now. I am not sure I will ever go back to the coffee. I am just happy to have eliminated caffeine from my life. It has seemed to make a difference for me.

     
  27. Brandon

    @Freeloader Attorney:

    You’re a moron. But I’m glad it helped you to kick the habit.

     
  28. Ronnie

    We drink pop once or twice a month – usually ginger ale. I’d rather spend that money on good quality juice or wine! Water & green tea are delicious and good for you :-)

     
  29. elbillo

    I stopped buying soda recently but will still have it as a treat. I drink ablmost a pot of decaf a day though along w a liter or 2 of water. I don’t think it’s a $$ savings but anyway that’s my story. it’s a better feeling to be drinking something less processed.

     
  30. happyturtle

    I tried to give up soda, but it’s so very hard. It’s not the caffeine or the sugar I crave, it’s the acidy-fizziness. The phosphoric acid maybe? I try to limit it to 1-2 cans a day. I know it’s bad for my teeth, my health, and my wallet, but I love it sooooo much.

    I console myself with the reminder that I don’t smoke or drink, but it would be nice to be vice-free.

     
  31. Christine

    I have tried to give up soda for years. This time I’m going to do it after drinking 600 calories a day and my weight ballooning to 300 lbs. I’m not going to touch a drop of the stuff every again.

     
  32. Saul

    I’ve become addicted to Diet Root beer, I’m a recovered alcoholic 30yrs. sober Don’t smoke. So I know about mental and physical obsessions. I’m afraid that i have rationalized drinking root beer is ok because I won’t get drunk and get in trouble with the law, I also have diabetis so I rationalize Diet. I feel that seltzer sensation going down my gullet. Somewhat like a beer feels going down my gullet. I think I need to get down and find what the cause is. I suspect that It has to do with loneliness, boredom, self centerdness. Root Beer is filling the hole in my gut.

     
  33. t-luck

    great post.
    So I think, I can save more than $20,000 too.. but the problem is I’m just addicted to it. no matter whatever I tell myself, when I go grocery shopping I’m sure to pick up one of those carbonated drinks. Coz I don’t smoke and I don’t drink alcohol either.. mmm… anyone there can suggest me ways to stop this addiction? This is one addiction I got to stop!!!