Good Drinks: Save Big on Water and Home-Brewed Tea

One of the easiest ways to start to Cook for Good is to drink water and home-brewed tea instead of bottled or canned drinks of any kind. You'll save lots of money, reduce your carbon footprint, and probably do your health a lot of good too.

How much money can you save? Lots!

Back in 2008, I slunk into the grocery store to buy props for the Cook for Good table at the Women on the Move forum. The point was to show how expensive and inconvenient to buy bottled or canned drinks.

The twelve-pack of bottled "iced" tea cost $6.93. Each bottle held 16.9 fluid ounces of tea. I did the math and found that I could make the same amount of tea using a national brand of tea bags for only 54 cents! That's a savings of $6.39 for boiling a little water.

Of course, brewing tea at home gives you several other of the Seven Lively Savings. You not only save money, you help save the planet. That 12-pack of tea weighs a whopping 14 pounds, 8 ounces. Six tea bags, including their share of a 24-bag box, weigh just under 8 ounces.

Picking tea bags over bottled tea for just one 12 pack means you didn't haul 14 pounds of water and plastic off the shelf, into your cart, up onto the register, out to the car or bus, and then into your home. Precious oil wasn't used to make the plastic bottles, transport them, or send them to the recycler or landfill either.

Save even more with water

The difference is even more striking with water. I bought a 12 pack of 12-ounce bottles of water for $4.58. When I figured out how much that would have cost coming from the tap, I was astounded. Only one third of one cent! Drinking tap water is the next best thing to free.

I can understand people buying bottled water if they live where the water tastes or smells bad. But where I live, companies bottle our city tap water and sell it back for an enormous markup to the people who live here.

Bottled water is often filtered. But that may not be good for your teeth. The Center for Disease Control says:

If you mainly drink bottled water with no or low fluoride and you are not getting enough fluoride from other sources, you may get more cavities than you would if fluoridated tap water were your main water source.

Save your family too.

Pick healthy water and tea over soft drinks if you want to lose weight or lower your risk of getting diabetes. Soft drinks made with high-fructose corn syrup or sugar are one culprit, according to a study done by Harvard School of Public Health. "The message is: Anyone who cares about their health or the health of their family would not consume these beverages," said Walter C. Willett, a researcher who helped conduct the study. "Parents who care about their children's health should not keep them at home." A study done by the Boston University School of Medicine shows that even diet sodas lead to weight gain and increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Tips for making the most of home-brewed tea and tap water

  • Drink unsweetened home-brewed tea for the best benefit.
  • Flavor tea with lemon balm, lemon, or mint. Or try my recipe for spicing up tea with an extra herbal tea bag.
  • Flavor a pitcher of tea by using one individual-sized bag of herbal tea and three family-sized bags of regular tea. I brew our standard house tea using three family-sized bags of Lipton's tea and one bag of Mandarin Orange Spice tea from Celestial Seasonings.
  • Make tap water cool by letting your teenager pick a stylish bottle. In fact, everyone in your family should have a reusable water bottle. Double check to make sure the bottles are not made with BPA, a particularly dangerous plastic.
  • On a trip, buy one bottle of water per person and then refill it with water the rest of the trip.