Ideas to Buy Fewer Drinks and Drink More Water

Photo by D-32 on Flickr
Sometimes when I’m shopping at the grocery store, it catches me by surprise that drinks take up so much room in my cart. Compared to food, I mean. Usually all the food fits into two bags. The drinks, however, are big and awkward.

After I get them in the car, they’re heavy to carry from the car to the stairs and long walk to the apartment. We all like them, so they’re consumed quickly. Then we have to recycle the containers. If I lived in a place where I didn’t have such easy use of my car, I definitely wouldn’t be lugging those drinks home. Especially when I think about how they’re mostly made of water.

Our city has good tap water, but sometimes it’s a struggle to choose to drink water over other beverages. The New York Times said that eight daily glasses of tap water cost only about 49 cents a year.

Water is easier and cheaper. How do I drink more of it and buy fewer drinks at the store?

1. Drink a glass of water before drinking something else. This way you’re quenching your thirst with water, and then you can enjoy your flavored drink.

2. Dilute the juice. We often dilute a glass of apple juice to be about half water. I find that grape juice is too strong to drink by itself, but I like to add a little grape or blueberry juice to my glass of water for refreshing flavor.

3. Make iced tea. Tea bags are convenient and economical since you add your own water. If you don’t want to make a big pitcher of iced tea, you can make individual servings in jars like Katie does, or make an iced tea concentrate à la Angry Chicken.

4. Train your brain. My body needs water, but my brain doesn’t always think so. I’ve noticed that I tend to crave whatever liquid I’ve been drinking the most of lately. If I can just make myself drink more water for a couple of days, then my brain starts recognizing that craving for water, instead of soda or milk or juice.

5. Make a fruit cordial. If you want something sweet, try making your own fruit cordial with juice, simple syrup, and water at home.

What are your ideas?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. I’m quite addicted to the bubbles in soda, but I feel better when I’m drinking water so I’ve taken to drinking sparkling mineral water. I get the bubbles AND the water at the same time! =)

    trace´s last post…Last Day of Freedom

  2. I calculated the price of tapwater. (I live in the Netherlands, Europe). The results were shocking. For the amount that I pay for 2 bottles of 1.5 liter water, for that same amount, I can drink 1.5 liter tapwater a day, for one whole year!!

    One tip for the hot summer days. Fill a flask with water, put a slice of lemon in it, some slices of cucumber and some mint-leaves. Put it in the fridge and drink it cold. Really tasty!

    Patrick´s last post…Kijk nou eens!

  3. Is it weird that I drink water out of a quart jar all day long? It helps me to know how much I am drinking. I probably drink 3-4 quarts a day, so about a gallon. It seems like a lot when I say it out loud.

    Shannon´s last post…The Benefits of Fermented Food: Dairy

  4. Water is our drink of choice as well. Our kids rarely have anything else, and they don’t know what they’re missing! I have a soft spot for soda, but don’t indulge very regularly….


  5. i totally agree about the weight of drinks. when we buckled down on our budget a few months ago, we switched our drinking habits.

    we drink mostly water, but for treats, i have:
    frozen juice concentrate in the freezer
    some powdered mix for gatorade
    special tea bags to make the iced tea more enjoyable

    my husband packs his lunch for work and he prefers a portable drink with a little more flavor than water. so, we bought 6 small bottles of gatorade, used them and now recycle them with the powdered drink mix. it’s not as economical as water, but much cheaper than sodas or new bottled drinks every day.

    thanks again for the reminders.

    Burning Bushes´s last post…Christians Can NOT do NOTHING

  6. Slackerjo says:

    I am pretty sure I am the only person over the age of 10 to drink cherry kool-aid. I mix up a big pitcher of diet cherry kool-aid (sometimes I add tropical punch flavour) and try and drink that at work and during the day. I also fill my water bottle with it and place it at the edge of the pool to sip while I swim laps.

    Some people fancy up their water with crystal light. I do like their tangerine grapefruit mix too.

    Sadly many of these products are way too over packaged and much of the packaging can’t go in the recycle bin.

    • Nope, you’re not the only one… I do koolaid too and cherry is my flavour of choice,too. I use the unsweetened packet, but only add 1/4cup of sugar (I can’t imagine how sweet it would be to use the full cup they instruct you to add!)

      I also use powdered gatorade… But again, only about 1/4 of the amount called for.

      I’m on a well and don’t care for the taste of our water straight out of the tap, but a little flavouring goes a long way.

    • You have a fellow Kool-Aid drinker who resides in my home…my 53-yr-old husband. An AVID Kool-Aid drinker! Not picky about flavors, either. He makes his own and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t use a full cup of sugar, either.

  7. We only drink water, for years now we have had a filter. When our kids were born we realized that we didn’t want our kids to be filling up with empty calories and heaps of sugar, so we switched to water. My mom-in-law always used to say “Poor kids,” she thought they were wildly deprived!!! Ten years down the line she is so impressed (now that water is considered to be so healthy(!)) that our kids only drink water. And is so concerned for their cousins, who live on soda and spend their life having cavities filled. If I want them to consume fruit then thats what they must do – consume fruit, real fruit!!!

    se7en´s last post…Sunday Snippet: Sundays Are Special Days… A GiveAway…

  8. It has taken me since February to break my Diet Pepsi addiction. But I am finally drinking water—mainly water. Iced tead is my next drink of choice. (Hot when it is cold outside!) And I still have a cup of coffee. (I can’t get rid of all my bad habits!) I wonder how much money I have saved by giving up pop. A lot, I’d guess. We purchased a table top water dispenser a year ago. It holds 5 gallons. We buy 5 gallons of filtered water (our town water is terrible!) for $1.35 or so. It cools it, and there is a heater that you can heat a cup of water for tea, etc. I love it!!

    mrs. e´s last post…A few more bookstore moments

  9. Great topic– and so true. In fact, I went for a quick trip to the store yesterday and practically 50% of my items were drinks (juice & milk). Earlier this summer, at the beginning of the week, I filled a pitcher full or water with lemon and orange slices and put it in the fridge. I drank water from the pitcher all week long. When it got low, I just refilled the pitcher with new water and kept the same fruit slices. There’s something about drinking ice cold water and the citrus flavor gave it an extra boost of flavor.

    Cara´s last post…Deer problem in your yard?

  10. I know that the milk and seltzer bottles are a sought after recycle item but I still feel bad about it. All my husbands beer and wine bottles are recycleable, too, of course. His liver however… ; )

    juliet´s last post…The Madoff Follies

  11. I invested in a seltzer-maker this year and I’ve been loving it. We don’t go through as many bottles, it’s delicious on its own and a half-seltzer, half-cranberry drink couldn’t be more refreshing in the heat.

  12. We drink a pitcher of sun tea almost every day. I change it up by using a variety of teas–raspberry or orange spice or anything else. Sometimes I add mint or lemon verbena while it steeps. Then I have a selection of simple syrups in the frig, like ginger, lemon, vanilla. You just add about a tablespoon to a glass. Or we mix it half and half with fruit juice. This way we never get bored with our tea.

  13. I love the refrigerator tea idea. I recently switched from diet soda to iced chai tea. I make it and store it in a mason jar in the fridge.

    Karla @ Mom’s Potluck´s last post…The secret ingredient to the best ever playdough recipe is…

  14. My issue with drinks is also the amount of fuel required to transport them. They are far heavier than most items for the space they require, so far more gas is used.

    We eat local, and I have been trying to figure out how to get more than water and milk into our diets. Juice requries a lot of fruit, and we don’t have a tremendous amount of fruit in our area of Canada. Thanks for the link for making cordial! I can make a small amount of fruit really stretch that way and I can preserve it in the summer for use year-round. Thanks so much!

    Karen´s last post…Tomatoes, Tomatoes and more Tomatoes

  15. My take is just get used to drinking water. :) Now that we have, we only get juices/soda if we are having company. Other times, we have water to drink.

    You mind and then body gets used to the idea of drinking water.

  16. I myself don’t have this problem since the only think I really like to drink is, water.

    But, I just to leave with a friend who was almost addicted to coca cola and “frukt soda”, a kind of sparkly drink we have in Sweden. So I bought her a soda stremer for birthday present.

    It’s great!

    eriisu´s last post…Kvällspromenad med kameran

  17. Egg creams have been my latest obsession, especially with homemade chocolate syrup! 1T syrup, 1/4c. 1% milk, 8 oz. seltzer.

  18. I only drink water and coffee, so my poor family gets only what I’m willing to buy. I try and keep some kind of juice in the fridge and have purchased a couple of cartons of limeade this summer. We mix it with club soda and mint or fresh limes for a very refreshing summer drink (a virgin mojito?).

    Kim @ whatsupbird´s last post…Manic Monday

  19. By habit, I’m not a water drinker. I drink TONS of Diet Coke and we could have already funded a small countrys water supply with the money we have wasted buying soda.
    One thing I do to get myself motivated to drink water is fill large jam jars in the fridge with water and sliced lemons/oranges/limes etc. It tastes better and is always cold. I hate pouring tap water and getting the ice out, so this is at the ready! And I lose weight too (fringe benefit). :)

    Cherry Tree Lane´s last post…At 4:30pm, July 20th, 2002….

  20. I drink water as my main drink already but I still enjoyed your post. In fact, I tweeted about item #1 because I thought the idea was worth sharing. :-) I would have included a Twitter ID but I don’t know yours.

    Suzanne´s last post…To Me, From Me

  21. I bought a lemon squeezer/juicer so it’s easy for me to squeeze a half of a lemon in a glass of water and add a packet of stevia or truvia to make my own homemade lemonade.
    When we go to a restaurant I ask for lemon or lime with my water and bring my own stevia/truvia as well.
    I never used to drink water, now I have no problem drinking my 8 glasses.

  22. I just got a great little recipe book called Cool Waters. It has 50 water-based drink recipes including some flavored ice cubes. Worth the $12.95 for the book to save so much money on creative and healthy beverages.

  23. I love water. We use a filter, since our water quality is so-so. We recently took a trip to San Francisco and the tap water was AMAZING. Really, better than any water I’ve ever tasted.

    We only buy juice for special occasions. Soda (for the hubby) is only purchased out (which we rarely do anyhow), and lemonade is an occasional treat in the summertime.

    Usually we only have milk in the fridge, and drink water from the tap.

    I’m definitely going to try that cucumber/mint/lemon combo. Sounds heavenly!

    Kelly´s last post…Dear Chase, you suck! (and other news)

  24. We do only water and milk and 1/2 cup of juice for each of my girls only to aid digestion. But I will say this. I was soo bored of water I started drinking lots and lots of ice tea. All kinds, green, black, jasmine, and ended up drinking so much that it gave me reflux. SO watch out for too much caffeine and acid.

  25. I actually love water and truly enjoy drinking it. I chalk this up to my parents keeping soda and too much juice out of the house when I was a kid. But in the summer, is anything as great as a glass of iced tea? So refreshing!

    Anna´s last post…Knocking it off: inspired by vs. ripped off

  26. Filtered water is pretty much all we drink here except for dilute fruit juices for the kids in the morning. Back in my working days, I would set a 32 oz cup of water on my desk with the goal of drinking it all in the morning and filling it up at lunch and finishing most of it by the end of the day. Since then, I always have a glass of water close by.

    Marci@OvercomingBusy´s last post…Menu Plan Monday – July 20, 2009

  27. I bought a Brita tank a few years ago at the thrift store for a couple of dollars. For us, having the water COLD and available makes all of the difference. Also, I grew up drinking milk, water, and occasional orange juice, and to this day I have no taste for pop. My husband is an entirely different story.

  28. Number 4 is so true. I LOVE the taste of water, and have times out of the month, say a week that I only drink water.

  29. I found a wonderful Black Cherry concentrate by Knudsen Farms. It comes in a very small glass bottle. I water it down even more the suggested amount. It’s basically becomes flavored water but my kids love it. The best part is the glass bottle because glass is so much more sustainable to recycle than plastic.

    ITA with the “train your brain” tip. It is so true.

    Nina´s last post…Sharing and a Giveaway

  30. I don’t really have any new ideas, but I wanted to say that banishing sweet drinks can certainly be done. I was not raised on soda (or pop here in Canada), but I was raised on lots of fruit juice. I rarely drank water. As a result, it is hard for me to reach for water unless I keep other things out of the house. I keep a few cans of frozen lemonade for company/special occasions and I often make iced tea in the summer (raspberry leaf/oatstraw/nettle/red clover/mint blend), but other than that, I just don’t buy sweet drinks. I am very pleased that my children drink so much water, as they have not been raised with a juice habit.

    So, I guess that would be my best tip. Just don’t buy anything else. Then, there is no choice to be made. ;)

    ChristineG´s last post…All in a Nap’s Work

  31. Yes, and I like the citrus slice in the glass makes you think you’re drinking like royalty.

    Jannie Funster´s last post…Yep, Problogger Darren Rowse And Me – We’re Like This. Like This, I Tell Ya.

  32. I usually drink water at home and order soda when I eat out… My main problem, however, is drinking enough water. I also feel like I should be drinking milk and orange juice regularly to get calcium and vitamin C.

  33. We dilute our juice as well. I def. second this idea. Like, when we make concentrate juice, instead of adding 3 cans or h2o we will add 4-5.

    My kids are fans of water and always have been. My little sister started calling it “diamond juice” so that the kids would like it better.