Soda and other flavored or sweetened beverages are a luxury. They are also an expense that if removed can save you not only thousands of dollars, but also thousands of calories, and 10+ pounds per year.
The average american drinks 50 gallons or so of soda per year. The average obese american or overweight American can drink as much as 500 gallons, and many healthy people drink 0 gallons.
I myself on some days could drink as much as 2-3 liters per day. (Think 3 large cups at McDonalds is equal to 3 liters.) Some days I could drink a lot more.
Let's do some math.
Let's say you eat at fast food restauarants 4 times per week, and you upsize your meals. That's 208 liters of soda per year. It's also roughly 312 dollars (at $1.50 each), and 79872 calories (at 384 calories per liter of soda). 3500 calories is equal to one pound, so that's the equivalent of 22 lbs gained per year just from soda.
Let's say beyond eating at McDonalds you eat at nicer restaurants maybe twice a week, like Olive Garden, or Applebees. You order a coke, and get 3 refills of a 12 oz glass. Now you're spending a little more per drink - about $2.50 on average, and you drink about 36 oz. In a year you would spend $260, drink another 39900 calories, gaining another 12 lbs.
Do you drink soda at home? What about during football games? What about at parties? At School?
This is just how much money you spend by yourself - what about the rest of your family - your spouse, and any children?
Using the example above in a two person family, just a husband and wife, if you ordered water every time you eat out, you could save the following:
239544 Calories saved.
68 lbs saved.
On top of that you'll add years to your life.
Some other good ways to save money is to stop going to places like starbucks if you need coffee brew it at home and save money. You can spend thousands a year on latte's and it's just wasted money. If you eat out religiously every week, try taking one week per month and having a spending freeze - spend no money except on bills and absolute necessities, you will find yourself saving hundreds more.
Times are tough right now, and American's are more overweight than ever, just drinking water at restaurants can not only save your life and make you more attractive but it can save you from financial ruin.
I myself have lost over 80 lbs since January 1st 2009, by eating healthier, now's a great time to eat healthy, and you can save money by doing it as well. It's a win-win proposition.
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