Last year I gave up soda. No, it wasn’t something I did for Lent, though with Lent starting next month, it is conceivable someone will give up soda for that reason.
No, I gave up soda for my health.
Granted, I wasn’t drinking sugary soda. I was a devout diet soda drinker, which at least meant that I didn’t add any empty calories to my diet.
But I had to give up soda–and all carbonated beverages–after I was diagnosed with a stomach disorder over the summer. Funny thing was whenever my stomach hurt, I would drink soda, thinking the bubbles were “settling” what was bothering me in my stomach. But the soda just made it worse.
So I stopped drinking soda and almost immediately my stomach problems went away.
So did a lot of spending.
Turns out the average American family spends $850 per year on soft drinks. When you break that down to daily ($2.33), weekly ($16.35) or monthly ($70.83) spending, it doesn’t seem like that much. But in the grand scheme of frugal things, why would you spend $850 on beverages when you can drink water for free?
I have always been a water drinker, but now more than ever water is my go to beverage–better for me and better for my wallet.
I started drinking diet soda in earnest in my teens. Was I drinking the equivalent of $2 per day of soda? Possibly. Given how many years I had been drinking soda–and using the math above–it is possible that I have spent more than $25,000 in my lifetime as a soda drinker. Ouch.
A recent NIH study that links diet soda and depression furthered my resolve to give up diet soda.
I have nothing against the soda industry and I do miss my Diet Coke. I guess it’s like smokers who give up cigarettes because they know they should for lots of health and financial reasons–but who continue to dream about smoking. Every once and awhile I’ll get a craving for a nice cold diet soda. But the memory of how much my stomach hurts when I drink soda keeps me from giving in to that craving.
Now that I have this financial figure to ponder as well, that’s even more of a reason for me not to reach for a cold one–soda, that is.
One final thought: if you like fizzy drinks but don’t want to spend $850 a year feeding your habit, you could always invest in a Soda Stream machine–we own one so my husband can make seltzer–and make your own. See below.