When aiming to live more frugally, reduce waste or build savings (perhaps that first $25k), a place to make cuts is with beverage purchases.
As a kid, nothing elicited a more troubled look from my parents than ordering a beverage with a meal. Their concern makes sense: A non-alcoholic drink can often cost close to half of an entree, when (in the US, at least) tap/table water is typically provided for free.
It might sound lame, but throughout school and college and into my 30s, I drank little more than tap water at home and out. For at least 20 years I have carried a personal water bottle. At a bar, I might grab a Coke or a soda water and lime (drinks that were often comped to me), and it didn’t seem to slow the fun.
Now in my 40s, I drink some — but not much — alcohol, but mainly at home. I also enjoy coffee, but I’ve stopped purchasing specialty barista drinks in the US, as it’s often better here at least (and always cheaper) to simply order a house coffee. You can set yourself apart further (and in some cases save a little more cash) by carrying your own coffee cup. When traveling and at work, I use a 12oz / ‘medium’ KeepCup and a thermos, buying the organic coffee that I like in bulk and brewing at home.
I shared with the Dividend Diplomats another beverage strategy and product to consider: Uncle Lee’s Organic Green Tea — which tends to retail for about $7 for 100 bags. I was worried, as the guys (in their 20s) were already into their third pod coffee mid-day.
Many tea drinkers already know that convenience stores and similar in the US offer hot water near the coffee urns (check with the clerk about any cost). Along with a thermos of coffee or hot water for tea, I tend to fill up on soda machine iced water at convenience stores — why I like carrying a wide-mouth Nalgene bottle (occasionally there is a charge for ice).
In different regions, families are encouraged to keep a two-week drinking water supply as part of emergency prepareness– roughly a gallon per household member and each pet x 14 (days). Follow CDC advice for emergency water supplies, and remember that personal beverage choices can help with various life goals!