Eliminating Cola Cravings – My Biggest Expense

Q. I need help eliminating my biggest expense at the grocery store: carbonated cola soft drinks. I usually buy 12 two liter bottles every week and a half when I go to the grocery store.  I don’t drink them for the caffeine because I get the decaffeinated cola (I can’t have caffeine), and I buy the generic brand where available. It’s not the sugar, because even though I won’t drink the diet version, another carbonated soft drink doesn’t satisfy the craving for the cola.  I’ve been hooked on them for years and I have tried many ways to kick this habit with poor results. I’ve run the numbers and I know how much it’s costing me, and how much easier it would be to bring in the groceries if I didn’t have all those bottles to haul in. Maybe one of your readers has had this problem and successfully solved it?  Thanks. G.

A. This may sound simplistic but why don’t you try a couple of things.
1. Each time you buy the colas buy 1 less two liter bottle.

2. When you drink your cola use a slightly smaller glass each week. until you are either using a juice glass to drink out of or not drinking any at all. the trick to this is that you designate one glass each day or  so to be used and use only that. This may help somewhat at least to cut down. The rules have to be that glass only and no more cokes after you drink the last one for that week. Visualize a desert island with just you and the cokes and they have to last.LOL  Pam

A. Well, this may be a bit of an offbeat solution but here goes. I used to drink many, many sodas a day. Then I began to really start taking care of my health. I realized what damage the carbonation was doing to my kidneys. Not a good thing!! First of all, even the decaf brands have some caffeine. Not sure why they can get away with that in advertising but they can. But as a transition to just water I found I needed flavor. So I began to brew gallons of herb tea and drink it rather than soda. It comes in wonderful flavors these days like peach, lemon, peppermint, etc. All really tasty with honey added. It may sound boring, but don’t go cold turkey. Try subbing just one liter of soda for a liter of tea. Then two, etc., etc.  Much cheaper (especially when you use sales and coupons.) And it can be really exciting to discover how different flavors taste. Good luck! Toni

A. I too was "addicted" to soda. Actually for me it was diet cola. I don’t know how helpful this is but I just stopped drinking it "cold turkey". I figured it wasn’t good for my health and I needed to stop. I knew that I couldn’t limit myself because one sip would be a whole liter. I started drinking water. Ice cold water. At first I craved the soda, but that actually passed pretty quickly. Now I crave water (that’s what our  body really needs anyway). An added benefit is my children prefer water now. Linda B.

A. One way that we’ve cut our cola budget is to buy 3 liter bottles instead of 2 liters. I can get four 3-liters for $6.00. This equals 12 liters. Buying 2-liter bottles, I would have to spend about $9.00 to get 12 liters. We also limit the number of glasses of cola we each get per day. Since it’s so high in carbohydrates (which I’m trying to cut down on to lose weight) and so high in sugar (which the kids don’t need), we each get 1 glass per day. We can drink it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, whatever…but once you’ve had your one glass for the day, that’s it.  Emily

A. Just an observation on my spouse about cola addiction.   If she keeps properly hydrated plain water is enough.   If however she gets slightly dehydrated she will stop to get the largest diet cola she can get, usually at a fast food place or mini-mart.   When she keeps hydrated she usually doesn’t stop for cola.    What has worked the best for her, when she remembers to do it, is to take water from home.   We have a well with mineral rich, but not ‘hard’ water.    you may be craving electrolytes which are minerals our bodies need to function properly, especially the nervous system.   Your home water no matter the source usually has these.   Cola has several of these in their formulas. Water that has been filtered loses most of these minerals.  Most bottled water is filtered so check the label.   It has been in the medical news that many women that drink filtered water have a greater incidence of osteoporosis.

A. Stay hydrated do not wait to be thirsty, thirst is actually a physical panic response.    Also the sweeteners in soft drinks bind up the water not allowing the proper exchange of fluids throughout the body.     Many times when people feel thirsty due to not enough salt.  A simple test is to put some salt on your palm and taste it.  strong taste means you’re OK.  no taste or greatly reduced taste you need a little more salt in your system

A. I have a few suggestions for cutting your cola costs:
1. The first is to try to bring down the cost by thourghouly  checking out markets in your area for the low-lowest price. Soda in sealed containers keeps very well so this works in your favor. It may be that you can get it much more cheaply from a place where you don’t shop for your groceries, and you could pick up several months worth since you don’t normally shop there. Sometimes drug stores, superstores, or convenience shops sell soda or have it on sale as a "loss leader" to get you to come there, figuring you’ll buy the overpriced items, too, and of course, you can look into combining the low prices with coupon or rebate savings. Don’t neglect to price canned and smaller bottles of cola at the same time, in case there are pricing surprises. 

2. The second suggestion is to see if there are any decaffeinated generic options available to you. We buy generic cola for our guests at an Aldi’s in our area, and the savings is more than 50%. I’ve noticed more generics simulate Pepsi than Coke, I don’t know if this makes a difference to you. 

3. The third suggestion I have is to have another try at reexamining your habit, because it sounds to me like you are quite sincere in your desire to kick this habit for reasons beyond saving money. You have understandably been frustrated by your attempts to quit, because you have tried very hard. I respect this, because I’ve been on that long road with chocolate and sweets in general. The thing that finally did it for me was changing how I thought, rather than working so hard to change what I did. What you do follows what you think, not the other way around. So I gave myself permission to eat as much chocolate as I wanted for the time being, but I quit eating it in front of the TV. or anywhere I wouldn’t be fully appreciating the sensation. I delayed eating it before I had enough to eat of lunch or dinner, too. These two small changes let me eat it only for the full enjoyment of it and not out of habit or hunger. Before I knew it, I was able to savor and appreciate one square of chocolate better than a whole bar eaten in front of a TV. show or before dinner – or sometimes, I confess, for breakfast! I am eating so little of chocolate or candy now, that I don’t even know how many months its been since I last bought any! If you are drinking about 2 liters of cola a day, you ARE drinking it when you are thirsty and need water, and possibly when you are hungry and need food if you have the habit of going all day without a meal. Water seems to be an acquired taste, these days, but it will grow on you if you give it a chance. I would like to suggest that you try letting yourself have your usual cola whenever you want, but only after you drink a small glass of good water first, and when you have your cola, think just about the cola, really love it. If you’ve been drinking cola in front of the TV., at least keep your glass of cola in the kitchen so you have to take a little break to drink some. Feel the bubbles on your nose as you lift the glass to your face, feel the bubbles and taste roll around your mouth. In other words – learn to enjoy it even more! If you do that and make sure you are eating healthy food about every four hours and drinking water every two to four, it should be much, much easier to reduce your cola habit. I wish you the best of luck! Holly

A. Well I have seen  theses machines where you add your own liquid ( and you by the CO2 containers) and you make your OWN soda.. it tastes much the same.. and it is less expensive You can use your  own bottles ( 2 liter) to make your own.. The drawbacks are.. it takes room in the kitchen and you would have to buy your own c02 for carbonation,,, I am not sure what they are called but I saw one recently at our city fair and was thinking of purchasing one.. hope this helps!  Bambi

A. To over come my BIG cola habit of 25 years, I switched to water.  I filled a very pretty crystal glass with ice chips, added water and a twist of lemon peel and "indulged" myself for my cola breaks.  It required a few days of really trying, but I made it and now I prefer this "ice water" instead of the colas.  I still have colas, but not nearly as many as before. Good Luck!  Sheila

A. Often times, cravings are an indication of a nutritional deficiency. I am currently on a low-carb regimen of eating to deal with an overgrowth of yeast in the intestines. In addition to dietary changes, I am using whole food supplements. My carb/ sugar cravings have lessened tremendously! God’s blessings upon you as you seek ways to take care of your temple! J.S

A. My husband was stuck on cola for years before we got married, He said that it was the taste that he liked so much and nothing else. I have found a bread recipe that uses cola in-stead of water and it keeps the taste of colas curbed.

A. If it is the caffeine that you are craving, try black tea bags.  Make the tea as strong as you like.  If you want it COLD, make it in advance, refrigerate it and then make ice tea. 

A. Someone once gave me a great hint on this, but it requires self-discipline. Make a habit of drinking one large glass of water BEFORE a glass of cola. In the end you’re a.) getting more water, which is good for your body. b.) not using cola to satisfy thirst, but as a treat and c.) cutting your use at least in half. Good luck!  Brian

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