While I cannot claim that soda is at all a green or healthy lifestyle choice, I'll be the first to admit my addiction to it and I won't quitting anytime soon. Now that we're being realistic, I've been thinking about the most efficient way to purchase soda. As you know, soda can be bought in many forms, from 12 ounce cans to 2 liter bottles, to a 24 pack of cans. But which way gives you the most bang for your buck?
Obviously, going generic would be an easy way to make buying soda more efficient, which usually is half the price of name-brand soda. In this case, I will examine what happens when we look at name-brand soda since it will be the most expensive and generally carry the same price across the board. Generic sodas can range in price, so be sure to check out what your grocery store offers.
If we look at the name-brand, 24 pack of soda, with no sale price, this usually goes for about $7.99, not including tax. When we break that down, that comes down to about 33 cents per 12 ounces of soda (which is the general form of measurement I will be using here as a standard). A 12 pack of can soda will typically come about the same price or even more, since it usually is priced at $4.50. At $4.50 its about 37 cents a can. If we look at the 2 liter bottle of soda, at the name-brand price, its usually $1.29, again with no sale price. Translated into ounces, 2 liters is equal to approximately 67.6 ounces. This is equal to about 5 and a half cans of soda, which then levels out to about 23 cents per 12 ounces of soda! We save approximately 10 cents per 12 ounces of soda when we buy 2 liter bottles of soda.
(I am not aware of the price of the 6 pack bottles of soda, just because I usually can't drink that much at a time, but I have left my equation for calculating these numbers at the bottom for you. Next time I go I will check out the price and add it here as well.) After checking at my local grocery store, for a 6 pack of 20 ounce bottles goes for about $4.29. At this rate, you are paying 42 cents per 12 ounces of soda. Again, this assuming there is not a sale, and this is a price of a name-brand soda.
Our other ways of buying soda, like 20 ounce bottles up by the check out counter, are clearly over-priced and used as a type of impulse buy for you. These are also priced at about $1.29 a bottle. At that rate, you are spending 77 cents per 12 ounces of soda! Thats a huge difference, so next time you are waiting in line at the store, look away from those displays, because their purpose is to rip you off and satisfy your need for whatever you like to drink.
Pepsi and Coke have also been selling these "half-cans" of soda, which I hope you can already predict these are a rip off as well. Aluminum is an expensive material right now, so you will be paying for it. If you cannot drink a whole can of soda at once, again, consider the wallet-friendly 2 liter bottles of soda. You only have to pour as much as you can drink.
In addition to saving on buying 2 liter bottles, watch for sales! This week my grocery store had a sale for 88 cents on name brand soda. That brings me down to 16 cents per can of soda, or basically half the price of canned soda! Again, with generic soda, you're likely to see similar savings, so if you can bear with it, give generic soda a chance, and consider just buying name-brand soda when its on sale.
Now, if you are drinking SO much soda, it might be possible to profit back from such, by turning your aluminum cans in for some pocket change. In our area, a large 20 gallon garbage bag of non-crushed cans gave us about $1.50 back, so its up to you whether this is something to pursue. However, I would encourage you to recycle these containers, plastic or aluminum, to keep our Earth clean. You can also make a lot of cool things out of 2 liter bottles, and there is a list of awesome ideas here. I remember when I was in 3rd grade we made miniature green houses out of them, and watched a plant grow a little bit everyday in our bottle. I use one now to work with my dog's water dish (like a water cooler works) so I dont have to fill his dish as often. In addition, since using 2 liter bottles requires you to use your own glasses, this can also be a more eco-friendly way to serving (assuming you are not using disposable cups). Since you wash and reuse these glasses, you are not filling our landfills further.
To use this equation in figuring out what you are paying per can of soda at your grocery store, I used to following:
(With 12 or 24 packs of soda:) Price divided by number of cans.
(With 2 liters of soda:) Number of total ounces divided by 12, then the price divided by the number you got from the first part of the equation.
Damn those math teachers in school, I really am using math in real life!