(Almost) Free Soda, Part 2


[Update #3: Once again, saved by my friend Donna. She was shopping in Walmart recently and noticed that they are now selling the Sodastream plus lots of the flavors you can add to turn plain seltzer into flavored sodas. Their price for the unit, which includes a CO2 cartridge plus 6 flavor packets, is $79. I don’t know if all Walmarts are carrying this yet, but I wanted you to know about it. Below are the photos Donna took (again, THANK YOU Donna!). As you can see, they carry the extra empty bottles for dispensing the soda as well as tons of flavor packs.]


[Update #2: I knew there must be other, similar products out there but until a dear friend sent me this link, I didn’t know. The product is called Twist ‘n Sparkle Beverage Carbonating System, which appears to be much less expensive than the Sodastream. Here’s the link to it on QVC and you can read more about it there:  http://tinyurl.com/7b8dtom]

[Update #1: I’m sorry I didn’t include this yesterday but I just thought of it a little while ago: I am in no way affiliated with the manufacturer of Sodastream and have not been paid to write about the product or endorse it. I simply like it and it is a great way to save money.]

I don’t really like soda (or pop, as it is known in the Midwest and various other areas) because there is either too much sugar or I can’t tolerate the artificial sweeteners that are used. One of my migraine symptoms is nausea so carbonated drinks really help that. We used to buy the 1 liter size bottles of club soda because the 2 liter size fizzled out before I could drink it all. And then we realized how much sodium club soda contains, so I switched to plain old seltzer water, which is really just carbonated water.

After a while, I was really miffed at how much stores charge for a simple bottle of carbonated water so I started researching drink carbonating gadgets. Enter the Sodastream.

Sodastream ready to go!

I found our Sodastream at Bed Bath & Beyond but other retailers also sell it. The way it works is that a CO2 canister is stored in the long upright section of this appliance. The white plastic piece you see coming out of the top unit is what injects the CO2 into the bottle (which came with my unit) that is simply filled with tap water.

Here’s our Sodastream with a bottle of water attached.

Once the bottle of water is in place—and it just screws in—you press down on the large button on top (looks grey in this photo but is actually black, just like the entire top of the unit). You can hear a rush of air and then a few louder spurts as the unit injects the CO2. The typical CO2 amount = about 3 spurts but I like a heavily carbonated drink so I let it go about 6 spurts and then release the button.

I should have taken a photo with the bottle in place while injecting the CO2 into it, but picture the bottle at a 45° angle during this process.

When I finish the CO2 injection process, I release the bottle back to an upright position. While doing so I can hear what I can only describe as a mild version of a “Jake Brake”— that special sound semis make when slowing down (officially known as a Jacobs Engine Brake ™). In the photo above you can see the bottle being held in place until I unscrew it from the top.

All done and our Sodastream has done its job well!

Here’s the bottle filled with carbonated water, although you can’t see the carbonation in the photo.

So, what’s the frugal part of this whole thing? Well, I have used this every day for over a year and haven’t had to purchase a refill canister yet. When my hubby drinks soda at all, he likes certain brands so I’m the only one who uses the Sodastream.

I think we paid around $100 for the unit over a year ago and I drink about 1 bottle (1 liter) per day. If I’ve done my math correctly, here’s how much money we’ve saved on seltzer water over a year’s time:

  • Seltzer, 1 liter = approx. $0.75 each, so 365 days per year x $0.75 = $273.75/year
  • Sodastream unit = approx. $100, so $100 / 365 days per year = $0.27 per bottle =  $27/year

Hmm … spending only $27 versus almost $275 per year? It’s easy to see how we quickly paid for our Sodastream within less than 6 months of use and continue to save every day that I use it!

Conclusion: sometimes it is worth it to spend a little extra to save a lot in the long run!

The replacement cartridges cost about $16 each, but I am on Bed Bath & Beyond‘s mailing list and receive a $5 coupon every month which we can use to reduce the cost. I also regularly earn gift cards by clicking on daily emails from MyPoints, and I usually redeem those points for a BB&B gift card.

[And by the way, the retailers which sell Sodastream also sell the CO2 units plus extra empty bottles. And for people who like flavored soda, they also sell flavors to add to the plain soda.]

So … that’s my Frugal Friday story, and I’m stickin’ with it!

Frugally yours,

Everything New

Things have seemed to get away from me lately. I’ve been dealing with a CFIDS flare for several weeks … in waves. Yesterday was another day of nauseous migraines on top of this flare, and last night I caught myself sighing in frustration as another wave of nausea joined the pounding in my head. Not again!

When I’m in a CFIDS flare, my entire body aches as if a huge semi is driving back and forth over me. When I’m feeling like this, I often wonder if I will ever feel normal again.

So, what is “normal” anyway? About 20 years ago, normal for me meant working 50 to 60 hours (sometimes more) each week while still taking care of a big house, carting my children to and from their activities, and exercising at least 5 days per week. These days what I call my “new normal” involves getting plenty of rest and monitoring my daily activities so that I don’t overdo.

I once heard a friend say that normal is just a setting on the clothes dryer. Did that ever put things in perspective for me! It helped me understand that normal is different for each one of us. Some people work Monday through Friday at a “9 to 5” job; others work nights. Many drive cars while there are those who ride motorcycles. Some individuals hardly ever smile, but there are also many people who smile no matter what is happening in their lives, good or bad.

Today I feel somewhere between the green smiley face and the red one, but no worries. I am still thankful that the God of all creation has made us a wonderful promise in this Scripture verse:

He who was seated on the throne said, ‘ I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ —Rev 21:4

Some day we will be with Him in a new body completely free of pain. Everything will be new!