There are money leaks in almost every personal budget. Take a look in your refrigerator. Does it contain a lot of soda? Many people are hooked on soda and drink a few cans each day. It's difficult to beat the temptation when there are countless flavors available.
Drinking soda is costly, dehydrating, replaces healthier options and is addicting. One soda can contain more than 100 calories and at least 10 teaspoons of sugar. A single soda per day can equate to sizable weight gain, too. And if a family of four is consuming soda consistently, it can easily amount to $1,000 every year.
Cutting back by using alternatives can help your health and your grocery budget. Just drinking one fewer soda each day can amount to considerable yearly savings.
I noted that a lot of frugal folks used soda to clean their toilets and even remove rust. I began substituting my other beverages for my daily sodas -- not because I thought soda was dangerous, although it can be potentially harmful, but I realized that it's simply not the best choice. It took a while, but now I drink water primarily. I reserve soda for special occasions and whenever I have a glass, I can barely drink it. It's much too sweet.
The following are soda alternatives to help you kick the habit.
WATER: Water is the ideal drink. If you're not a fan of water, you can try sipping it through a straw, or adding lemon or other juices and lots of ice. Have a handy container prepared, such as a pitcher in the fridge or a refillable bottle you can take with you, or drink flavored carbonated water. Try filtered water or a water cooler to encourage you to drink more.
JUICE: Juices are a good option, but only in moderation, because they are high in calories. Aim for 100 percent fruit juice. You can use a juicer to make your own healthy combinations, too.
CRYSTAL LIGHT: With more than a dozen flavors available, Crystal Light is a great substitute, especially if you're not fond of plain water. It's low in calories, too.
VEGETABLE JUICE: A great option and an easy way to add vitamins and minerals to your diet.
SMOOTHIES: These drinks will take your mind off soda. There are so many delicious smoothie combinations. They contain calcium and can be made healthier by adding fiber, vitamins and protein. They are filling and don't have caffeine. Best of all, they can be personalized to your tastes.
FLAVORED MILK: More than just chocolate milk is available. It makes the perfect alternative when you want to change things up a bit. You can buy whole milk, fat-free, reduced-fat or low-fat. It can satisfy a sweet tooth and has much less caffeine than soda. You may also enjoy flavored soymilk.
EARN YOUR SODA: If you are having a hard time cutting back on soda, challenge yourself by working for your soda. Challenge yourself to work out, or drink a certain amount of beverage alternatives before allowing yourself to drink soda.