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Soda Aisle

Save Money on Groceries: Soda 
by Michelle Jones,

Tip # 1 - The Healthier Option

Of course the best way to save money on sodas is to start drinking water instead, and it's a lot healthier too!

Tip # 2 - 50% Less

If you can't cut the soda habit completely, try just cutting your family's consumption in half.  That will help.

Tip # 3 - Rotating Sales

Sales for these products vary from week to week, but I have noticed when Coke products are on sale Pepsi products are not, and vice versa.  So, either stock up when your brand of choice is on sale or switch back and forth depending on the sale.  At our local stores, a 2-liter on sale will cost about .99 cents, while a 2-liter not on sale will cost up to $1.79. In other words... No sale, No buy.

Tip # 4 - Smaller is Sometimes Better

Smaller containers (cans and bottles) are always more expensive than the 2-liters, so try to avoid purchasing those altogether if possible. On occasion I will buy one package of small sodas for my office and it will last for a couple of months. In a case like this smaller is better because once opened, a 2-liter will go flat quickly.

Tip # 5 - Cutting Back on Soda

Also, if you're cutting back on total soda consumption and may only drink 1 can or bottle of soda per week, then get them when they're on sale. You'll save money in the end because if you're only drinking a small amount each week you may end up having to pour the remainder of a 2-liter out. Thus making the smaller cans and bottles a better purchase.

Tip # 6 - Store Brand Sodas

A lot of store brand sodas are decent, but not great. Some of the flavors, like grape and orange, are pretty similar. Other than that, the decision is up to you. I suggest trying the store brands when they're on sale to see if you like them. If you don't, especially if it's just awful, take the remaining soda back to the store and ask for a refund.  (You can do this, though I never have. I just leave it until someone finally drinks it up and then I try to remember to never buy it again.) And if you discover that you DO like the store brand sodas you may be able to save a small fortune over the next 20 years. ;o)

Tip # 7 - Sale Prices

Did you know sodas are always "sale priced" at Wal-Mart?  It's true.  I spent years waiting for my favorite sodas to go on sale each month and just doing without or switching brands when they weren't on sale, but now whenever I'm at Wal-Mart I just pick up a few of our favorite sodas while I'm there. If you're having a party and need a large supply of soda it would even be worth a special trip.

Tip # 8 - Large Containers

When buying sodas for large family gatherings or parties, here are two extra tips... First, stock up on sale items starting a month before the gathering (since there's sometimes a limit on the best sales.) And second, consider buying 3-liter containers, they almost always cost less per ounce. They don't fit in the fridge very well but as long as you keep the caps on tight, you can just set them out on the counter during the event and serve with ice.

Tip # 9 - Water

Okay, now I'm back to the water tip again... if we could all just make the switch from sodas to water we could REALLY save some money. And this tip is not just for the grocery stores, they offer water at restaurants too you know! ;o)

Tip # 10 - Price Matching

If you're not familiar with price matching at grocery stores, all you have to do is ask the sales associate for a price match... which means asking them to give you the lower price that's being offered at another store on the exact same item.  This is especially easy when purchasing sodas because they are pretty much always on sale somewhere!  Just look through the store flyers each week and when you go to your favorite store say to the cashier "Can I have a price match on this, it's on sale for (whatever price) at (whatever store)."  That's all you have to do!  If you're the first person to ask for the price match on that item they'll look it up in the sale flyers to confirm, but often they already know it's on sale because other shoppers have been asking for the same price match all week!

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Readers' Tips...

"Can't stand to drink just plain water?  Need to cut back on sodas?  Try this: put ice in a cup, fill cup 3/4ths with filtered water and fill last 1/4th with your favorite clear soda.  One can will last you for a couple of refills when you water it down this way.  You get the water you need and it's flavored with your favorite drink.  You're also cutting back on sodas and saving money.  A win/win all around!  I also love to do this with orange juice and my favorite - grape juice!  If you try this tip with "brown sodas" make it half and half.  It tastes no different than the drinks you get when you go through a fast food drive-thru." - Karen Yates of Georgia

"For saving on the soda, if you get the 24oz bottles out the machines... keep the bottles rinse them out. Save about five or six of them. Then you can buy the 2 liters and refill them. That way you portion them out and will not drink as much." - Livena C

"Actually try and convince yourself that store-brand soda is the same.  Have a double-blind test!  If you don't pick the real Coke or Pepsi most of the time, it'll be easier to convince yourself to buy the store brand.  I think you should address pop machines and avoiding them.  I keep a case of drinks at my desk at my office.  $1 for a can of coke is several times what you pay in the grocery store.  Same with fountain drinks at fast food." - Arron C.

"Leftover flat soda gives white cakes and muffins some zing!" Dawn from VA

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