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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sometimes, saving money isn't the thing that motivates me to make changes

Do you know why I'm drinking way more water and way less coffee these days? Here's a shocker, it isn't to save money!

One day, I looked in the mirror and noticed this skin hanging down on my neck. Yep! I think I'm developing "turkey neck". Where did this come from? It really just crept up on me. Anyways, I am downing the water and nixing the post-morning coffee. Because water can help your skin's appearance to improve if you're on the dehydrated side. Hey, I'm willing to give water a try. It's monumentally cheaper than a neck-lift.

But, I'm not buying bottled water. I understand that not everyone has decent tap water, readily available. And if that's the case, I'm not knocking your choice to drink bottled water. But for me, we have good-tasting tap water in our area. And the price can't be beat. We pay less than half a cent for a gallon of water, here. If you triple that, to account for wastewater fees, it's still just 1  1/2 cents per gallon, or less than a 10th of a cent for an 8 ounce glass.

I do use a filter for our drinking water. It's installed in the fridge. I replace these every 9 months, at a cost of about $25 a replacement. That works out to $2.77 per month, or about 9 cents per day. We are all drinking a lot of this filtered water -- including myself, perhaps as much as 15 glasses per day, on average. So, dividing the cost of the filter by the water consumed (in glasses), each 8 ounce glass of water costs about a half-cent to filter. Our "complete" cost of drinking our filtered tap water, then is still under a penny per 8 ounces. In comparison, Wal-Mart sells Aquafina bottled water in a 32-pack of 16.9 oz bottles for $13, or 2.4 cents per OUNCE. That's 19.2 cents per 8 ounce portion, roughly 20 times what it costs to drink filtered, tap water from home. Oh wow! That's ridiculous!

Do you know what's really mind-boggling for me? During the recent recession, bottled water consumption did NOT drop off significantly (the figure is about a 3% cutback in bottled water consumption for the years of 2008-2009). And it's not surprising that Americans drink the most bottled water of any country in the world.

I used to think it was a sort of status-y thing, to be seen carrying around your bottled water, like carrying around that Starbuck's cup. Now I just think it's a mindless consumer thing.

So, I may be improving the appearance of my skin. And I'm certainly helping my body and not hurting it, by drinking more water and less coffee. As a bonus, I'm saving money, as tap water is way cheaper than coffee. Time to go fill up my glass!


  1. I'm with you on the water. Growing up, water was something you drank when you were either extremely thirsty before moving on to the "real" beverage (mostly milk in my household) or when there was no other option. About 18 years ago, I made a conscious decision to drink more water, and now I crave it. We do keep a case of Aldi bottled on hand for very occasional usage (such as I take all the kids hiking and we don't have enough reusable bottles and bladders for them to take 2 reusable ones), but at home we drink our own water, also filtered. We invested in a Berkey Light about 9 years ago, and have replaced the filters twice, I think. When we got our current fridge about 3 years ago, it has a filtering system. But with 7 of us, we were blowing through those filters every 4-6 weeks so we went back to using the Berkey primarily. The fridge filters are lasting much longer now that they really only filter the water for ice.

    I started to follow Erin Brockovich a few months back and the many water issues around the country, Flint included. Apparently, many cities have gone to using a different chemical to treat water which is causing problems with older pipes in particular, my city included. :( So I feel much safer with the water filtered.

    1. Hi Cat,
      There are a lot of options for filtering water. I have a friend who uses an alkalinizing device for their water. I always drank plain tap water, until 7 years ago when we bought a fridge that came with an in-fridge filter. I was surprised that I could tell the difference. Now, I really can tell the difference between filtered and non-filtered. I'll have to read up on the Berkey Light and see what it is that you have for your home.

      We didn't drink a lot of water at home, growing up, either. I don't know why. But we always had some sort of flavored beverage, whether it was milk, juice, iced tea or lemonade. My kids have really grown up drinking water as their main beverage. That has been a huge improvement from my generation to theirs, in my family.

  2. We drink mostly filtered water at home, as well. When we moved into our home a few years ago, we purchased a Whirlpool under the sink filtration/purification system at Lowe's. I can't remember the initial cost of the system, but I think it was less than $150. The filter costs $70. There is an indicator that lets us know when the filter needs changes...usually every 9 months to a year. Still much cheaper than bottled water!

    I do keep a couple of cases of the Great Value bottled water on hand. A 35 pack of 16.9 oz bottles is $3.48...which works out to less than $0.10 per bottle.

    My son plays junior high baseball, and we take our bottled water to the games. We drink a lot of water, and bottled water is sold for $0.75 to $1.00 a bottle at the concession stands. So, we save a lot of money there.

    We also take bottled water on vacations and road trips. Bottled water is so expensive at gas stations and convenience stores.

    Before my grandpa passed away a couple of years ago, he was always expressing how shocked he was to walk into a gas station and see a bottle of water cost $1.00. His family had been poor, and lived through the Depression. He just couldn't understand why people would pay that much for a bottle of water.

    I think a lot of people do have concerns over the quality of their tap water. However, I've read a lot of articles about bottled water that lead me to believe it's not tested/regulated as much as tap water. In my humble opinion, I'll trust my filtered tap water more than the bottled water. We do have some guests to our home, who kind of turn their noses up at a glass of filtered tap water and prefer to drink a bottle of water from what I keep on hand. One guest won't drink our filtered tap water, or my Great Value bottled water, but brings his own Dasani bottled water. I don't know...

    Have a lovely day!

    1. Angie--

      I bet your grandfather would also remember something I remember that has always freaked out my kids. When I was very young, I was traveling with my grandparents, and we stopped at a little gas station. Besides filling up and using the facilities, my grandmother asked for a cup of water for us. I'd never ever heard of that, but this place was so old they had paper cups in a dispenser; and sure enough, we got a drink.

      I asked my grandmother about it when we were driving away, and she said, "It's a SERVICE station... of COURSE they'll give us a cup of water." And of course, it was going to be free.

      I'm not sure they found too many gas stations that did that after that trip. My kids, and even my husband (same age as me) are always shocked at the very idea of that having ever happened.

      As for our habits, we do drink filtered tap water; and we have invested in some nice steel and glass-with-rubber water bottles to carry around with us, so we're not investing so much money (and space) on individual bottles or drinking out of hot plastic in a hot car all the time. One a long trip, we also bring a jug to refill the bottles, at least until that runs out. You're totally right... the bottled stuff is EXORBITANT at gas stations and convenience stores!


    2. Hi Sara,
      You know what I haven't seen in a while, is a super large bottle of water in a "cooler" (that's what we always called them, even though it wasn't chilled), with a stack of small paper cups. That was the norm when you went to get the car worked on or had to sit in a waiting room someplace. The last tie I got the car worked on, in January, they had coffee and tea, but not a water cooler. Hmmm.

      Oh yeah, drinking water out of hot plastic bottles, yuk! That sounds very unappetizing!

    3. Hi Angie,
      I don't remember where I read this, but a lot of bottled water is simply filtered city water. Many of us grew up with bottled water meaning it was spring water, so I think a lot of folks still believe that is what they're buying. When I think of just buying bottled filtered city water I think "what a scam". Your friend that will only drink the Dasani, maybe he/she believes it's more than just tap water? Or maybe they just really prefer the taste.

      I, too, think it's shocking, that a plastic bottle of water is as expensive as a bottle of soda pop. $1 a bottle of water sounds just crazy to me.

  3. We just drink our water out of the tap--shocking! I have started keeping a case of Aldi bottled water around (like Cat!)--we use it VERY slowly but sometimes there are circumstances that make it almost necessary to have on hand--when our kids go on field trips, for instance, and need a beverage with a disposable container. I don't like them drinking sugary beverages so I go with the bottled water. Mostly, though, we refill water bottles.

    For me, the other issue with bottled water is the landfill one--as I mentioned, I'm not a purist on this, but when I think of how many bottles we as a family of 4 have saved from becoming landfill simply by using refillable water bottles, it's a pretty substantial amount.

    1. Hi Kris,
      I have a friend whose child goes to a school where the kids MUST throw away everything from their lunch bags. No reusable containers. Isn't that bizarre?!

      I know -- as frugal people, we often do our share for taking care of the planet. Simple things like not buying bottled water, or baking breads/cookies at home, or buying used items, or using cloth diapers, wind up saving a lot of plastic from the landfill. When my kids were little, I was reminded every Christmas of just how much wasteful packaging there is on everything these days. Those impossible to open plastic shells around toys/games were/are ridiculous.

    2. I'm with Kris on this one. We drink our water straight from the tap. We have very clean tasting water. We have noticed the difference in our water when we have gone out-of-state, even packing a Brita pitcher for a couple different trips to Disneyland, remembering how off-tasting the water in that area seemed to us. We carry refillable bottles with us, although I do keep some store brand bottled water on hand.
      A lot of the things I do are done for health benefits as well as being gentler with the earth's resources, and saving money is another nice result of my efforts.

    3. I would change schools if I found myself in the situation where the school required disposables. Despite what ever else they may teach, that philosophy is NOT something I would want imparted to my children. Of course I speak hypothetically since I have no children.

    4. Hi Mary,
      It's funny that you should mention the bad-tasting water in the Disneyland area. We thought so, too. (And a lot of other people we've talked with about that area have agreed -- so evidently it's an issue.) We still drank it. We had to go to the nurse's station one day, and they told us that their water was filtered, so we filled our containers there. They also told us that the PNW has water that is most agreeable to most people. I thought that was interesting, and maybe explains why buying bottled water has never interested me. But what a great idea to bring a Brita pitcher. I'll have to keep that in mind, the next time we take a road trip. I also really like the idea of those bottles with built-in filters.

      Yes! On doing things for our health that wind up saving money and are environmentally-friendly. Like eating whole, locally-grown foods, or walking to the store, instead of driving. Always nice to have those things beneficial in other areas.

    5. Hi frugal spinster,
      I know, horrible, right?! I am glad I never had to deal with that issue with my own children's school.

  4. Hi Lili,
    I also try to drink lots of water. I am currently fighting some horrible nummular eczema, and hoping the hydration from within will help that too.
    We have a Berkey water filter and love it! We buy bottled spring water (Deer Park) for backup and as needed for travel when our reusable glass water bottles aren't enough.
    I've read that it's important to not let plastic water bottles sit in direct sunlight as the chemicals in the plastic can leach into the water. If we have to take plastic bottles I always keep them in my daughter's old reusable insulated lunch bag to keep them cool and out of the sun.
    Jo Ann

    1. Hi Jo Ann,
      My own eczema issues is also a motivation for me to drink more water. It can't hurt, and it may help.

      That's really important about the plastic bottles sitting in direct sunlight. It's something a lot of folks don't think about. That's good you use an insulated bag for your bottles. I'll remember the same for our road trips in the future.

    2. Hi JoAnn,

      I've had nummular eczema about 5 years ago. It was so bad, looked like I had ring worms all over my back, neckline and arms. My primary care doctor gave me a shot of steroids and that cleared it all up. It seemed my dermatologist didn't quite agree that that was the right course (too drastic, but I was leaving on a month long vacation so my primary care went for it is my guess). It hasn't reappeared so far.

      The recommendation to me was to not wear scratchy clothes and take shorter showers, using the coolest temperatures, ie. no long hot showers. Hope you don't have to take any steroid shots like I did. I think it is not good for your long term immune health.


    3. Hi YHF,
      Oh my, I don't think they'll give me a steroid shot. I am a cancer survivor, so my immune system is probably not so good from the chemo and radiation.
      I'm glad it cleared up for you. Thanks for all the tips. I am also hoping that getting out more in the spring sunshine will help me.
      Jo Ann

  5. As usual, Lili, agreed. Our well water is not suitable to drink or cook with, so we do have 5 gal. jugs delivered to our house every 2 weeks for our water cooler. It's about what I'd pay for city water. A Berkey is something I've thought about, but haven't taken the plunge yet. The kids know not to waste the water (at least my bigger ones do :) It's hard when we have guests over & they fill their glass to the top, then don't drink it. Oh well. People just don't think about the fact that I pay for that water. We also have a filter at the sink, which we mostly for cooking water. We use reusable water bottles when we travel. Re: turkey neck. Me, too! I've decided to bring out the big guns. I've bought certain skin care products for years from Paula's Choice (before she was even popular & her stuff wasn't very expensive). Anyway, I recently tried some samples of her Resist Intensive Wrinkle Repair Retinol Serum. I loved it enough that I bought the full size version. I'm sure it will last me a good long time because it only takes a couple of drops to do the job. I wash my face, then put a few drops of serum around my eyes and on my neck, then apply my Cereve before going to bed. I always order thru Ebates. She often times has promotional codes available as well. The serum was a splurge, but I buy all my clothes @ Goodwill and yard sales. I just can't do turkey neck--not yet @ least. Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa,
      I have heard that, about some well water not being suitable for drinking. I understand on the wasted water. That bothers me, too. Even if it was "just" tap water, I still don't like the waste. To me, it feels like leaving the door open unnecessarily, while the furnace is running.

      LOL! I'm not ready for turkey neck, either. It just doesn't look right, compared to my face, which still looks "relatively" smooth (I do emphasize the "relatively"). I'll look into Paula's Choice. Thanks for the recommendation.

  6. oops...just when I was thinking of increasing my coffee intake because of possible health benefits!! As there are pluses and minuses with everything we do, we just have to weigh the benefits.

    As for water, that is our biggest utility bill every month. On average, we use between 3 - 4 kgal. At $4.42/kgal water plus $4.29/kgal sewer charges, the difference of 1kgal is $8.71. There is a sewer base charge of $71.81, that is ongoing regardless of use. So even with our best conservation efforts, we will save less than a penny a gal (.0087 cent). Not very much, but I do things like take shorter showers, wash dishes camp style (turn water off after rinsing each item, and catch rinse water with a container which I then use to soak dishes or run the garbage disposal).

    We enjoy drinking from the tap, absolutely refreshing and no funny taste. I don't know why, maybe it has to do with my dad changing all the water pipes when he rerouted the lines building the addition (said the old pipes were corroded). It's not the area we live because some of our neighbors have commented that their water doesn't taste as good. So we stint on our refrigerator filter, and have not changed it as recommended. But your post has reminded me that it is way overdue.

    We always, always bring along water in a 64 oz "Hydro Flask" that keeps iced water cold for hours, plus another stainless steel water bottle for additional water, since the ice remains frozen in the flask and just needs topping off. We rarely buy flavored drink and often choose to snack in the car instead of eating inside because we have our water.

    On trips, we bring our Brita filtered water bottle, just in case we are out of bottled water. My husband insists the bottled water tastes better than the filtered Brita. Keeping a case of water in the car during our trip is a must (don't want to be caught in the desert without water if the car should break down). Also, I know we should have at least a case of water around the house in case of natural disaster but I refrain....reminds me of what happened with our grandkids last year. One of grandsons decided that it was neat to play with empty bottle water containers. We had a few empty ones around so when I saw them playing with it I didn't think anything. Then suddenly I saw a lot more bottles around, then caught one of our grandsons opening and emptying out the water from a bottle...OMG they are wasting perfectly good water!! I know not the best of stories but through watching them I am blessed now knowing the antics of children (me<--only child)

    Have a wonderful, great day!!


    1. Hi YHF,
      When my twins were born, someone said to me, "what one child, alone, would never consider doing, 2 will definitely try". And that most certainly was the case. That must have been a horrifying moment, but in a slightly humorous way, to see all that water being dumped out. Oh, I could share stories, that's for sure!!

      Is Hydro Flask a branded name? I'll check into that. It sounds like a great way to keep the water chilled on road trips.

      We have incentives, here, to conserve water. Our water usage is on tiered pricing, and it's very hard to keep in the lowest tier with 5 people. One of the houses we lived in was in an area with set water rates, regardless of usage. I know we didn't conserve as we could have, as there was no incentive.

      A little coffee is a good thing, so you don't need to cut it out altogether!! LOL! At least that's what I'm telling myself!

      Have a great day, YHF!

    2. Yes,

      The cap is the part that breaks off at the tab. Although we could write for a new cap under lifetime warranty, we found it just as easy to string the cap on with fishing line. Our daughter bought this as "our once a year" gift and made a macrame holder to carry the flask in since it is a bit heavy when filled with water. But do not hold the flask by that flimsy tab. Can use hot or cold.


  7. Do you really drink 15 glasses of water a day? I try, but struggle to drink 3. It fills me up quickly and I get uncomfortable with much more. I have a friend who has the same problem. Drinking more water is something I am working on.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Oh no! I must have worded that wrong. We use about 15 cups of water from our home fridge per day, on average, for the whole family! I think I drink about 4-5 glasses of water on a good day, now, and only 2-3 on a bad day. But believe it or not, even that is an improvement for me. Any more than that and I'm up all night. But the water experts also point out that we can get a lot of our water from foods and other non-caffeinated beverages. Just eating a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables gives us a lot of our water. Think of watermelon. It's about 92% water by weight. So if you eat a half-pound of watermelon, you're getting over 7 ounces of water right there. I think if I was drinking 15 glasses of water per day I'd have other problems to look into.

  8. Yes, water! I like it a lot. When the kids were little and we were having dinner, my hubby kept filling their cups full of milk all during the dinner. They hardly emptied it and he filled it right back up. I suppose milk was good for them. Fast forward to about 3 years ago when we moved. Our home we live in now has a wonderful well with excellent drinking water so we either drink it right out of the faucet or use the filter in the refrigerator. I have also stopped serving milk at meals. We now get water and only water. The kids have all cut their milk consumption to "just enough" and opt for a big container of water that they carry wherever they go. Hubby has about 4 container cooling in the fridge and I have one on my desk all day long. We also have a case of bottled water in the garage for when we lose power and can't get water from the well. My dad complains about drinking water and during conversation we talked about the health benefits. A few weeks later he announced he has begun to drink more water and actually likes it! I'm surprised dad didn't like water--he is a huge gardener and knows how good water is for everything even himself.


    1. Hi Alice,
      Good for you for drinking your water!!
      I am learning to like water more. It is so good for our health, in so many ways. So even if it's not my favorite beverage, I do think I can keep up with my consumption, for my health's sake at the very least.

      That's great that your dad is now drinking more water! The experts say that as we age, our thirst decreases, but our need for water does not. So, seniors are prone to under-consume water.

      Have a nice evening, Alice.

  9. Hi Lili,
    I never used to drink water much at all & about 6 years ago I had some pretty bad stomach issues. The specialist told me to stop drinking carbonated beverages as they can bother your stomach, so I stopped drinking soda & switched to water. I do drink bottled water as our tap water is chlorinated & I do not like it. I grew up in the country & as a kid we had great tasting well water, but that changed when I got married. One of our grocery stores sells their brand of bottled water for $2.79 for a case of 35 16.9 oz bottles, so not bad at all, less than 8 cents per bottle. I go through about one case a week. I kind of look at it as I was spending way more that on soda in a week before I switched to water so I am ok with that cost, plus it is a whole lot better for me. I do always take my own water with me when I am out & about as it kills me to spend $1.50 to $2 per bottle if I am thirsty & have to stop somewhere.

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      I think making frugal choices is all relative. You are now choosing to forgo more expensive soda in lieu of less expensive and healthier bottled water. So you are saving money! When I see the price on bottled water, sold 1 bottle at a time, I cringe at the thought of a couple of dollars for a single bottle. Can you imagine for a whole family to buy everyone their own bottle?

    2. I know I cringe at the cost of single bottles too, I get a case of 35 for less then 2 single bottles! That is why I always try & carry mine with me when I am out, on the rare occasion that I am out late & stop at McDonalds for a burger off the dollar menu at least I don't have to buy the water.

  10. Water! I love it. We have 2 Britta filter pitchers. That we use every day. I think the water coming out of the frig filter is nasty so we just use the Britta pitchers. We also have the Britta bottles with filters. We keep a case of water on hand for emergencies. We also take one water bottle each
    into church on Sunday. Just me and my daughter so not a huge amount of money about 16 cents a week.I need to invest in some water bottles that don't leak in my purse When my daughter rented a Vacation cabin in Big Bear with her girl
    friends she took one of the britta pitchers with her. She was surprised everyone used it for drinking water and even
    filled to go water bottles. I am guessing the tap water in Big Bear was pretty good.
    Have a great day.

    1. Hi Patti,
      I've been seriously considering those individual Brita water bottles w/filters for trips. They sound like such a great idea.

      That is surprising about your daughter's friends all enjoying the Brita, because I, too would think Big Bear's water would be good. Arrowhead (near Big Bear, right?) even had a bottled, water delivery service named after the area.

      Have a great day, Patti!


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