Cool Down Your Budget by Bringing Down Your Water Cost

by Jamie Simmerman · 17 comments

Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink – at least not for under a buck per bottle nowadays! Bottled water has gotten to be exorbitantly expensive, and for some, a status symbol. Even if you only drink “designer water”, you can still save some money by shopping smart, and replacing that soda pop or energy drink with refreshing (cheap) water. Here are a few tips on saving money on water.

Bottled Water

Some market watchers have estimated that bottled water is marked up nearly 4,000% over the production cost. As of the date this post was written, you can get a 24-pack of bottled water (Great Value brand) from Walmart for $3.48. That works out to $0.15 cents per bottle. If your bottled water tastes are a bit more refined, you can pick up a 24 pack of Voss water for $38.88, or $1.62 per bottle. Picking up a similar bottle of water at your local convenience store or gas station will cost you anywhere from $0.99 (on sale) to $3.99 per bottle. How much is your “designer” water habit worth?

Filtered Water

One way to save even more on your daily liquid intake is by installing a water filter in your home and filling your own bottles. Health experts will tell you that using a metal, BPA-free, reusable bottle for your water is not only better for the environment, but healthier for you, as well. These bottle last for years and even if you spend $10-$30 on a high quality bottle, that’s still cheaper than a couple of month’s worth of plastic bottles. And if you like living on the wild side, you can always refill those store-bought plastic water bottles at your faucet for cheap, but keep in mind that those cheaply made plastic bottles break down over time and release unhealthy particles into your water.

If you were to purchase a DuPont 4-stage water filter for your kitchen faucet (available at Walmart, Lowe’s, or Amazon), you would have an initial investment of $40 for the faucet housing and a two hundred gallon filter. Replacement filters sell for about $10 per 100-gallons of filtered water. That’s a cost of ten cents per gallon. While a four-stage water filter is one of the best readily available to consumers, if you’re serious about water filtration, you can opt for a while-house filter installed by experts, like the Culligan Man. Water filters are available that fit under your kitchen sink, on your refrigerator water line for dispensing filtered ice and water, and for installation on specific pipes leading to particular faucets in your home.

Water on the Run

One of the biggest mark-ups for water is found at your local restaurant. The pizza place my kids like to frequent charges $2.99 for a large fountain soda, which is outrageous enough, but they also charge $2.89 for a bottle of water. To save even more money, ask for a cup of ice and tap water (which they may charge you $0.10 to $0.50 for) or just bring your own bottle from home. Especially if you’re toting kids, toddlers, infants, or diaper bags and backpacks filled with feeding supplies and snacks, most establishments won’t say anything about you drinking from your own bottle.

So, how much does your water intake cost? How much do you think it SHOULD cost?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • JC says:

    When I buy bottled water at a convenience store, I’m paying for the fact that it’s ice cold. That’s usually worth a buck to me, especially if it’s hot out.

  • longhorns says:

    Filtering and boiling water?! Why?! Our municipal tap water meets every standard.

    • Jean says:

      I used to believe in that until I fell sick, hehe. Since then, I decided it is not worth the risk.


  • Shane says:

    I use a refrigerator filter and I believe it gets most impurities out, and some you don’t want out.

  • Jean says:

    What I do is filter water and then boil it for about 10 minutes. It comes out to be cheaper than bottled water (and probably a good bit purer too!).


  • Paul Smithson says:

    I personally am usually open to drinking tap water but I have lived places where that wasn’t such a good idea. I am mostly fine with bottled water but the cost of water does have a way of adding up.

  • Marbella says:

    Water is big business around the world. A small Swedish company exporting bottled water to the Arab countries with över10.000 percent mark-up. I drink tap water anywhere in the world and never get sick.

  • Danielle says:

    4000% markup! And I thought the jewelry business was profitable. This one makes my list of “Top 10 Reasons Not To Diet,” since I am always picking up a bottled water at some convenience store while I’m out on the road, to stave off the desire to eat something to cure the boredom of driving.

  • Donna says:

    I absolutely refuse to pay for water. If I have to buy something to drink, I’ll buy seltzer.

  • david says:

    I have a nice glass bottle with a nice rubber peice for gripping that fits on the outside of the bottle. It works well and even though the glass is a little heavier, I prefer it over plastic or metal.

  • Jenny @ Discount Coder says:

    Completely agree that bottled water is massively overpriced! When I absolutely have to buy it, I buy big, 2 litre bottles. That’s the only way to get the price down, although it’s not always convenient to carry such large, heavy bottles.

  • Felicia says:

    4,000% and we don’t even know for sure it is pure! That’s it! I won’t be buying another bottle of water either!

  • Lance@MoneyLife&More says:

    I just refill old coke bottles as water bottles. Some people have told me that the plastics aren’t made for that and can be harmful but I haven’t seen anything on it yet…

  • Julie @ Nutmeg says:

    Interesting read; thanks for sharing, Jamie. Personally, I’m a fan of tap water, but it’s not always an option. I like the idea of carrying a water bottle when out and about.

  • longhorns says:

    The bottled water does not have to meet the safety and health requirements that your municipal water has to meet. Pay More-Get Less.

  • Glenn Mako says:

    Don’t forget installing water saving devices!
    I have changed my bathroom faucet aerator from 2.0 GPM to a 1.5 GPM by Neoperi bought from NRG seller at Amazon. The people say water savings are about 30% which is important if you care about your water bill or environment or both 🙂
    P.S. There are many other water saving devices to explore: High-pressure/low flow shower heads, dual flush toilet adapters, on/off switchable kitchen aerators etc. Sorry Ning, but this article is far away from being complete!

  • Carl Lassegue says:

    I always feel guilty when I purchase water bottles because I know how much I’m overpaying for it but a 4,000% markup is ridiculous. I’m never buying bottled water again.

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