Monday, November 10, 2008

Budget FAIL: drinks

I smoothed out a handful of crinkled grocery receipts. Why am I spending so much more?

Shame, shame: Diet Coke.

I'm propping myself up with caffeine when I can't get a nap. Which is...just about every day.

My friend Jordana keeps trying to convert me to tea. She brought a delicious black cherry when she came to see the baby. (See below.)

Boy, I miss naptime.

Other than water, what do you like to drink and how does it affect your budget?

104 comments:

Diane said...

I'll admit to being a coffee drinker - 2 to 3 cups a day, but I also work full time, so up to fifteen of those are funded through work.

People tend to give me coffee as gifts. I don't drink much of it at home (I really, really like water - tap water, not the bottled stuff) so it takes forever to go through that stuff. I've also learned to make half or quarter pots so there is less waste.

Dirkey said...

ha ha thats a priceless picture. We're converted seltzer drinkers, I try to catch it on sale or go without. Another cheap drink that has fizz is homemade Kombucha, but I'm getting outa that habit as it attracts fruit flies (the bain of my existance).

Layla said...

We drink a lot of sweet tea. The tea itself isn't all that expensive at all, but I find that we have to buy sugar alarmingly more often than I ever did when I was on my own (perhaps because my dear husband prefers that his tea taste more like sugar-water than tea...). Not often enough to break the budget, but it did sort of surprise me when I noticed how quickly we were going through it.

I do drink coffee all day at work, but that doesn't hurt the budget, since it's provided by my employer. (I miss the fridge full of Diet Coke that my last office kept for us...I would much prefer that to coffee, but I'll take what's free right now!)

Mrs. Mordecai said...

We drink tons of milk. We used to drink more juice, but I've stopped making it for the moment because my two-year-old has made a hobby of pouring it out on the floor.

Other than that, we just drink water. No soda, since we don't like it; just an occasional hot cup of apple cider or hot chocolate. We go through our hot drinks so slowly that I hardly ever have to buy more.

Anonymous said...

We drink a lot of tea. I had our daughter back in 2006 and was nursing until she weaned herself at 19 months, so I made the switch to decaf tea and have stuck with that for a while now. I find that when we are buying more cokes it really makes the budget hard to keep, but both my husband and I really enjoy them. As a way to reduce the cost, I'll make decaf Lipton 2 family bags and mix it with some kind of flavored tea (my favorite now is orange spice from Stash tea which I buy in the Frontier co-op for a reduced price). I'll make it up at night, and my hubby will pack it in his lunch the next morning. He still brings one soda, but when I do not have the tea ready he brings two or more. I'll take every bit of savings I can get. We've found that when the tea is flavored we don't need the sugar, honey or sweetener. I started adding less and less sugar per pitcher until we were drinking it "straight".


My hubby also started making his own sodas, which is such a delightful treat. The cost per soda is significantly less than ones at the grocery store if made with the champagne yeast (not alcoholic, the yeast makes the fizz). It is a fun project for when the kiddos are a bit older.

One more thought-there is a printable Lipton tea coupon from Super Target that you can use with those Lipton manufacturer's coupons that came out about 3 or more weeks ago in the newspaper. It made my recent stockpile of tea SOOO cheap!

Thanks for the photos of the sweet baby. I was glad to hear that all went well for you. Know you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Gabrielle
Knoxville, TN

April said...

Two things before your answer -- first, you are such a blog mommy -- grabbing a camera first. Soooooo sweet.

Second, I am incredibly impressed that Elise still has a beautiful bow in her hair. You are a good mommy, Meredith.

I drink mainly water, but my occasional treat is the generic Crystal Light. I get it at WalMart in those little packages that are meant to be added to a 20 oz bottle. I like it really, really weak, though -- basically to flavor water a little, so I pour in just a bit and add lots of water on top of it -- no stirring. A packet lasts me a day or so. It's especially good cold. I'm out right now -- you've reminded me to pick some up next time I'm out!

Hang in there -- hope the energy surges again!

Moxie said...

LOL!!! What a Kodak moment :D I hate to admit it ....but nearing 40, I am still a koolaid kid :P I can still find it for 10 packs for a buck, so it's cheap.....probably more sugar than I need, but I skimp and only use about 3/4 a cup instead of 1 whole cup...You CAN use splenda for a sugar free version. Sounds strange but you can also make flavored teas with it too. In a 2 quart pitcher make your usual recipe for sweet tea (mine is 4 regular tea bags with 1/2 cup sugar) Then add 1/2 pack of koolaid...blackcherry, raspberry, lemon and peach all make a YUMMY flavored teas......I think this method is less expensive than buying rather small boxes of specialty teas. I shop Save-a-Lot and get regular tea bags @ 100 for .99 cents.

Sheila said...

Unless it really is causing a huge issue in your budget, I think you should allow yourself Diet Coke right now. :) It's enough to handle with a new baby and two other small children to allow an indulgence. I actually am drinking a glass of herbal ice tea right now, but I go for the Diet Coke when I need a little something. Well, that or a piece of candy. :)

Michelle Smiles said...

We drink a lot of iced tea - brewing it at home means it is pretty low cost but let's not discuss my Splenda budget each month. I also buy crystal light when it is on sale...and when I buy soda it is usually the store brand diet - not quite as good as diet pepsi but does the job.

Sheryl said...

We went "cold turkey" on drinks of the cold variety. We were spending way too much money on juice which we gave to the kids watered down. The smallest child, at the time, wasn't really eating a whole lot and I figured it probably had something to do with the amount of juice she was drinking.Lets face it juice is just mostly sugar. She said "Juice" and I said "water" while handing her the sippy. She would throw it in anger. It was the best thing we ever did. (at the same time we cut out flavoured yogurt and crisps(chips)) Now we are water only unless we have guests. We drink tea...english. I drink about two cups of coffee a day and so does my husband.
While I am here I want to thank you for your blog. I have been reading for a very long time but never commented. It has been a great encouragement to me.

Sheryl in the Uk

Michelle said...

Besides water (which is our usual staple), we do tea and Country Time Lemonade. I can buy the lemonade in the giant cans at Costco and it's a quick and easy go-to, plus it's a break from the norm.

Kirk and Cathy said...

We drink water and hot and iced tea. The tea is just the generic version of Lipton, although we do have some loose tea that people give us as gifts.

My husband drinks soy milk when I can get it on super discount at the store. (I try not to pay more than $1 for a half gallon, but I find it on markdown surprisingly often at our local Kroger place.)

I also keep orange juice in the house when the sniffles start going around, but we don't drink much juice in this house.

I would totally drink Coke all day if we kept it in the house. We'd go broke if I drank it as much as I wanted. :) I don't do diet either, so I'd need a new wardrobe as well.

Robert said...

We mainly drink water, but for something different we will have tea or cocoa. And the kids will sometimes get watered down juice. (Less sugar and saves money and they can't tell the difference) I have been trying to cut out the soda since it seemed like I was hooked. Cutting it out has saved us money and I am not getting caffeine headaches.

Erin

Tamara said...

Oh my goodness! What an adorable mess!

Diet Coke (for me) and Diet DP (for my husband) is the biggest sieve in our budget. We've cut back considerably by making iced tea daily. My favorite flavor is strawberry (the same brand as that blackberry tea in your picture) - I bought 10 boxes at Big Lots a few weeks ago when they were on a great sale! I mix 2 strawberry bags, 1 Earl Gray bag, and 1 decaf Luzianne bag for 1 large Iced Tea pot, which makes about 2 quarts, I think. I love it with Splenda.

Emily C said...

My husband is a lemonade fiend. I make it one glass at a time for him, with lemon juice from Costco that I keep in the fridge and sugar. You could also use xylitol from the health food store, or some other sweetener if you're watching white sugar intake.

Suzanne said...

I make myself a latte every morning (with my ugly-but-functional garage sale latte maker) and I drink a small glass of grapefruit juice with my vitamins. On the weekends we share a bottle a wine with dinner.

Other than that, we all drink water. It's cheap and it is good for your skin.

If I need an afternoon bit of energy, I make a pot of plain black tea.

Anonymous said...

I am no help at all. I allow myself 1 Coke (must be the 'real thing') everyday. I drink coffee in the morning (always 2 big cups) and then tea. The rest of the time it is water.

The children drink water, juice, and store brand cool ade. Roxie

Kelly said...

Oh my goodness!!! What does that little girl NOT get into??? Too funny.

Shannon M said...

I'm with Roxie:) I love my coke - somedays hubby stops on his way home from work to get me one. But when things are saner we drink mostly sweet tea with meal and water in between.

Shannon M said...

Look at those scissor skills, btw!

Jennifer said...

I drink mostly sweet tea. I have found though that drinks are a killer on our budget too, and I don't buy coke of any kind typically. but between juice, lemonade, hot chocolate, milk, coffee and tea, I spend way too much. good luck!

Woman of Faith said...

I am the WORST at the drink thing. I am addicted to mocha freezes (blended coffees). When I try to only do one or two a week, I always fail and at $4.25/piece...it isn't good. When I plan ahead, I can get the same mixes from Box-of-Goodies.com for about 1.40/drink, so that helps. I don't do drugs, I don't smoke, I LOVE the Lord, but I am addicted to mocha freezes. They just make me so happy. There ya have it. They pack on the pounds, too, because I just won't do the lite ones.

Anna said...

Oh, I think I would cry.
We really drink mostly water. You'll find sweet tea and coffee and milk, but it's rare.

Georgia said...

oh no! i hope that's not your new delicious black cherry tea all over the floor! i love black tea with milk & sugar, but am doing decaf now as i'm nursing and pregnant. for a cold drink i like a big glass of cold water with a few squirts of lemon juice & stevia to sweeten it - almost like lemonaid.

Robyn said...

Taking Spirulina (blue-green algae) can give a huge energy boost and it's full of good nutrients, too.

I've heard Super-Mom vitamins are energy boosters, too, but I think they're pricey?

Anonymous said...

I admit, I am a Diet Pepsi drinker! I will make room for it in my budget! I don't drink coffee or tea, but get my caffiene fix from the cola. My two-tear-old would be likely to do what Elise did....almost had an "Elise moment" a few days ago when I caught him with a bottle of Hershey's chocolate, with the top off, heading upstairs......

frugalmom said...

I read somewhere once that eating an apple can give you as much energy as a cup of coffee. I'm not a coffee drinker so I can't say it's true, but it's worth a try.

We are mostly water drinkers with juice a few times a month and my husband drinks a lot of soda.

Anonymous said...

Meredith, I'm a long-time lurker who has only commented a few times. But as a mommy of 4 little ones from 8 down to 14 months, I have a few thoughts. First, even though some people have suggested tea, be careful because it's a diuretic. If you're nursing, it's not going to keep you hydrated enough. Water is the best. (Maybe it's the caffeine in the tea that is the diuretic, but I'm not sure.) Second, I can sooo relate to the picture of your little girl. Is she done napping? The only way I survived having my third was that I still required my non-nappers to spend 60 - 90 minutes alone in their rooms every afternoon. They were allowed to listen to tapes, look at books, or just lay quietly, but they HAD to do it. (In fact, I still require a "quiet time" of all of my children, but there is more flexibility with the 8 and 6 yo girls now.) That precious hour gave me a chance to recharge, doze for 20 minutes, or vacuum, whatever. Often, I would just go to bed with the baby, let her nurse and fall asleep myself. I know you weren't looking for advice, but I just wanted to let you know you're not alone!

Heather P.

Mary Ann said...

We like the occasional glass of cranberry juice or a fruit smoothie. I like hot tea once in awhile. Other than that, we're water drinkers. Oh and husband likes sweet tea whenever we go out and we make it at home for company too.

Domestic Accident said...

My kids only get milk, soy milk or water. Very occasionally we get cider or lemonade.

My dh and I drink coffee and recently decided to switch to fairtrade only.

Also, after a stressful day, I like to salute Two Buck Chuck!

Domestic Accident said...

Oops forgot to say that I completely agree with anonymous. When #3 came along and #2 stopped napping, I strictly enforced "quiet time." No coming out of their rooms for an hour. I was pretty militant about it (for their own safety really.)

In desperate times, I was known to occasionally pop in a video and sleep on the couch while they watched Little Bear.

Anonymous said...

I would buy a 2 ltr. bottle of diet coke and allow yourself 1 glass per day. Then water. That's what I do now. Also in past have made a pitcher of kool-aide with just water and then after pouring a glass, use Splenda. Your little girl is adorable with her bow in her hair and the mess all around. Kathy C. in ILLinois

Blue Castle said...

Oh wow! Hope you get some more tea soon. :)
We drink lots of water, but some pop does creep in our grocery cart from time to time. I've been enjoying lots of hot green tea lately.

Ewokgirl said...

Elise is certainly giving you plenty of fodder for family lore! That sweet-looking little girl of yours sure knows how to make a mess, doesn't she? :-)

We're tea drinkers here. Admittedly, I'm a tea snob, and I've become addicted to Whittard of Chelsea's teas. English Rose is my favorite. Thankfully, I haven't had to order it and have it shipped... YET. With my sister's family in London, my parents visit often enough that I can give them my tea order for them to bring back. I drink hot tea every morning with my breakfast.

I also keep a huge pitcher of iced tea in the fridge at all times. I lightly sweeten it with Splenda, which is the thing that bumps up the cost. But I can get 2 big boxes of Luzianne decaf iced tea bags at Sam's Club for about $10. That makes A LOT of tea.

We do keep soft drinks on hand. I like a Dr. Pepper when a migraine hits. Also, they're nice to have for guests.

Anonymous said...

Meredith-
Type in "aspertame addiction" into your search engine and read up on some of the very addictive, bad (really bad!) side effects from using aspertame (found in drinks like Diet Coke). It might be a good idea to wean yourself from this product given the issues you had with blood sugar during your pregnancy (some research shows that it actually makes blood sugar issues much worse). You probably don't want this stuff in your breast milk, either. One of the OB/GYN's that I know personally feels like aspertame is "legal poison", and strongly encourages his pregnant and post-partum moms not to drink it. Just a thought.
Susan

Erika said...

We have the best well in the world, so we drink our ice cold spring water all the time. Of course, there's a pot of coffee in the morning, but in my opinion that's just a necessity. We've really cut down on soda in recent years--winds up being a max of 1 per day for my husband and I, but plenty of days we don't have any. My children will not drink soda! In the summer we drink Crystal Light lemonade a lot--a pitcher every night with dinner--but we've found we actually like the Aldi brand better and that saves quite a bit. One reason I'd like to cut down further on soda is the can return thing in this state--I simply hate returning cans and they pile up... By way of encouragement, I would like to point out that Elise must be a highly intelligent child. Only the really bright ones get into *that* much! You have to admit a certain amount of creativity there. Perhaps as she gets older she'll channel it into less messy activities :)

Anonymous said...

I used to drink diet coke almost everyday. I would walk to the coke machine downtown, put my dollar in, and enjoy a cold one. But I recently found out that I have bad reactions to artificial sweetener and had to give it up. I now drink tea sweetened with stevia and coffee for my pick me ups. So much cheaper than coke and I buy the "good" stuff!

Rachel

Sarah said...

You know, I just chug down the water. From time to time I'll buy chocolate milk for a treat, and I got one gallon of apple cider (outside of our food budget) as a very special fall treat.

I avoid pop, but will occasionally have one when we go out if it's in the budget. I WILL NOT drink diet anymore, since aspartame was first used as rat poison before it was "found out" to be a low cal sweetener!

Amy said...

Soda is of the few name brand items that I always buy at the grocery store. Store brands are great for most things, but DH and I both "have" to have our sodas. ::sigh::

I do find that I drink more water since I got myself a water jog. I fill it up in the morning and try to drink two or three full ones by the end of the day. Now if only I could get in the habit of doing that EVERY day, I'd be all set.

For the kids, there's always a pitcher of sugar-free pink lemonade or punch in the fridge. Store brand or Wyler's.

Jennifer F. said...

On warm days I just love to fill a glass with ice and then do a mixture of three parts water to one part lemonade -- makes for a very crisp, refreshing lemonade that is low on sugar too!

Amy said...

For a long time I have allowed myself one bottle of Diet Mt. Dew per day. But lately I've been having 2 or 3. It's getting out of control, but sometimes you need that little caffiene pick me up. I know they're bad for me, but I'm reducing my calorie intake and a diet dew helps me not eat something really bad. I know all the talk about how bad it is and all that, but it works for me. And that's something to keep in mind when we read all these blogs---it all works differently for everybody.

I also agree with the quiet time in the room for non-nappers. Put up gates if need be.

Rachel said...

This kid keeps you busy, doesn't she?
:c)

Debora said...

I used to be a die hard coffee drinker, but about 3 years ago, a bad case of acid reflux forced me to change my ways. Now I drink herb teas, green teas, water, and the occasional hot chocolate. Absolutely no soda. Now that we don't keep soda in the house, my husband has also converted to mostly water. (He drinks some coffee.) We figure that we are saving about $40 per month from eliminating soda at home and in the restaurants. Add what I don't spend on coffee and it could total about $60 per month. This doesn't even take into account health benefits which are priceless.

Rachel said...

Here's an old-fashioned health drink which reminds me of lemonade. It's supposed to be good for weight loss, thirst-quenching, restore your body's pH levels, yadda yadda yadda--I just like the taste.
In a glass of very cold water, add 1 T of good-quality apple cider vinegar and 1T of maple syrup or honey. Stir well.

Anonymous said...

We love water. Our children have all basically had water since being weaned and prefer it above all else. We do drink a large variety of hot teas, both herbal and "real". I try to faithfully drink green tea, as it has health benefits (matcha green is especially good). I'd also highly recommend your doing some research on the artificial sweeteners (aspartame, splenda) for your long-term health and that of your family. Super Mom vitamins are good, and actually not as pricey as others of good quality. They may be more than the grocery store variety, but they have quality ingredients that truly make a difference. More pricey but still very good are the Perfect Food by Garden of Life. Please take care of yourself, thinking of what's best for your health, and not just the quick fix (although quick fixes sure do taste and feel good sometimes :-) ).

Another Susan

Tubo Family said...

I'm up to 2 or 3 cups of coffee a day lately with the stress of husband being out of work and my toddler returning to nursing to sleep and through the night as a wicked molar takes three weeks & counting to work just one side through his jaw so far...other than that it's water for me. I'm proud that I always skip the coffee house but the coffee & non-dairy creamer do add up. I spend about $2 a week for coffee beans buying at Costco and dividing the 3 lbs into 6 ziplocs and into the freezer for storage. Kids get soy milk (Kirkland brand from Costco or close-to-dates from Grocery Outlet) and water every day, once or twice a month I buy chocolate soy milk or apple or orange juice if available at the Grocery Outlet. Hubs "vice" is Coke, but if I buy the $0.89/liter berry flavored (no sugar or artificial sweetener) mineral water available at Trader Joe's he will accept as substitute.

Tubo Family said...

P.S. I instituted "quiet time" for my non-napping 3 yo when 2nd born was about six months old and need even more know he is a toddler. It works best when I'm honest about why--mama needs some time to think my own thoughts and not answer questions or referee toy tug-o-wars or else I will be cranky long before bedtime--instead of trying to convince him to sleep. I echo "use gates" or Little Bear if necessary.

Anonymous said...

water mostly, milk, espresso, hot green tea, hot cocoa.

My daughter was a creative mess-er like Elise, it doesn't get any better, the messes just get more sophisticated : )

You can, however, train her to quiet time alone in her room or bed while you and baby nap. Enlist a philosophically supportive 3rd party during the training phase if you have too. Don't have the 3rd party train her (they care for baby), you train her so things don't degenerate when no one else is around.

Sweet family!

deb meyers

Anonymous said...

We have a seltzer machine, which is what we mostly drink. It works out to about 15 cents per liter.

Betsy

Anonymous said...

Meredith, I went thru almost the exact same thing after I had my twins...

I had been "caffeine free" while I was pregnant, and then...they were born 6 wks early, spent two wks in the hospital, were home a week--and then my husband left for 15 mos in Iraq...leaving me with 3 wk old preemie twins, and 3,5 and 7 yo daughters...and we homeschool. And we had no family nearby.

I pumped for two months, and remained caffeine free in that time, but eventually things just no longer "worked" despite everyone's best efforts, and we stopped...and so began my caffeine addiction all over again...and I gained back all of the weight I had lost...I *HAD* to stay awake. There was no one else, at all. And so I had a legit "excuse". Now of course I do not (the twins are 18mos old, husband is home, etc), but the addiction lingers.

I think I am just going to have to cut it back out completely. A budget and a waistline "saver".

Thanks for the reminder...Water it is...

Rachel

Anonymous said...

I LOVE that picture - she looks so cute in a pretty outfit and adorable hair bow, happily snipping away at what looks to be the tea bags!! :) Aww, sorry that it is next to impossible to get a nap these days. I feel for ya, and even though I only have two (a three-yr.old and a 10-month baby), there are days that I cannot for the life of me get the two down at the same time so that I can take a nap - and those are the days that the exhaustion is dehabilitating. :) So, I say you shouldn't feel guilty about spending extra for Diet Coke - whatever helps you get through the day. YOU EARNED THAT DIET COKE!!! Hehe. I wish I was a coffee or tea drinker, because that is probably healthier than soda, but I'm nearly 30 and I haven't been able to make the switch yet, so I probably won't now (although I just recently tried this pomegranite green tea and it was awesome, so who knows. I have no idea if green tea gives one lots of energy, though?) Anyway, I hope that maybe today you will get some extra rest!
Laurie in FL

Anonymous said...

Meredith, my kids are grown but I have a new job with long hours and I'm taking classes at night. I found that if I stay away from simple carbs and sugars I have a lot more energy. As soon as I eat bread or a cookie...I'm so tired and no amount of caffeine keeps me up.
Of course, maybe that's just me. I just recently figured that out. When I was younger I was all about the caffiene, and ended up getting kind of snappy, so I had to figure out something else.
Don't be hard on yourself though! Do what you have to do to get through this time, even if it is buying Diet Coke, and keep enjoying those beautiful spunky children. :)
Lisa

VanderbiltWife said...

Will confess that I bought two 12-packs of coke and diet coke at Wal-Mart yesterday!! Not sleeping will do that to a girl. We usually refrain at home and drink (Kroger or Wal-mart brand) Crystal Light and water. It's amazing how much cheaper the store brand is than the real CL brand.

Anonymous said...

So many comments that I didn't take time to read so this has probably already been said, but I can't imagine that if you are breast feeding you should have very much caffeine or any aspartame in your breast milk. I would eliminate or greatly reduce the caffeine to see if the baby behaves differently. I know the ingredients in diet sodas are really bad for anyone but I still have not stopped completely. I have one diet Coke a day and hopefully will soon stop altogether. Not only is it very bad for us, studies show those who drink it are actually more likely to gain weight. Not much to recommend it, is there? Good luck with being more healthy and enjoy Elise. She is just adorable - messes and all!

Anonymous said...

I too had a friend who converted me to drink warm tea between 3:00 and 4:00 each afternoon, tea time. Her father was a medical missionary to Africa and she went to an English school while living there. She learned the art of tea time. She now homeschools 4 children and enjoys tea time everyday. She says that it calms and reinvigorates her. I have tea time when I remember it. I have not yet established it as a habit or ritual. She steeps the tea in individual cups with individual tea bags. She then adds cream and raw sugar. It is wonderful.

Your picture speaks volumes. I love it. The creativity of a child. Priceless.

Suzanne - Easy at Home said...

Diet Coke. Lots and lots and lots of it. And I have the waistline to prove it.

mama k said...

oh my. I have one of those kids too. Two words. Baby Gates. I have bought a new one and have put them up again to keep him out of the kitchen and basically contain him to whatever room I am currently in. It has helped my blood pressure tremendously... though he figured out the new outlet covers I bought in less than a week. grrr

Drinks, well we do a lot of water... water with lemon, water with a splash of juice for flavored water, tea (both iced and hot)... seltzer water and juice is a good soda sub, but no caffiene. For that I stick to a cup of half de-caf coffee a day.

Jordana said...

Heh. There goes the tea! Peter has done the same thing to a box of tea before and I'm afraid I haven't found much humor in it. That mid-afternoon caffeine does a lot to keep me happy, and if Diet Coke does it for you then I would save my budgeting for something else until there is more restful sleep going on over there.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joy of Frugal Living said...

Oh boy, how sad about the tea AND the mess. It's a good thing she's so darn cute. ;)

I drink mostly water and water with lemon. Sometimes tea, occasionally decaf coffee. Sometimes dehydration can add to your fatigue, so it's good to stay hydrated. I mostly only turn to caffeine if I have a headache - and since I avoid it most of the time, it's very effective then.

Just remember, this tired time will pass, as your baby gets bigger. :)

Jennifer

whitestone said...

It's coffee or tea for me. Add a bit of soy milk to the cup. And now and then I treat the family to a large bottle of carrot juice. I know, I'm weird. LOL

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nancy said...

I am not a coffee drinker so in lieu of that morning cup, I have a morning diet coke. One a day. It was fine when our children were small and they only drank juice and water. Now that they are teens, they have one a day too (I set a limit for them). Now a 24 pack will last our family 6 days (if everyone plays by the rules). Yes, it's expensive but worth it to me.

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

I will be deleting any anonymous comments which are rude or mean-spirited, so don't waste your time sending them.

--I do know about scissor safety. Elise can cut as well as any kindergartener, and so I keep a pair of safety scissors in the art kit.

--Yes, we can well afford Diet Cokes, but that doesn't mean I want to spend a big portion of my grocery budget buying them. I was simply surprised how much a coke or 2 a day had added to our bottom line.

--Elise is strongly disciplined and I do not need advice from strangers on the internet.

Lisa said...

I like an occasional cup of coffee or tea, but not enough to make a signicifcant dent in the budget. My dh loves Earl Grey Vanilla tea and has at least two cups a day (he reuses the bag once), and I was so surprised and pleased to get his favorite kind at less than half the price recently in a bargain cart. Needless to say, I bought every one I could dig out!

My kids don't drink anything besides water, milk and a little juice once in a while.

Lisa Beth W. said...

Oops, that was supposed to be me, Lisa Beth W., above. :)

Jenny's Vegcafe said...

We're big soda drinkers here too.
I mostly buy the generic kind and lately we've been drinking more sugar free kool-aid and tea but still.

For something that's not even good for you or necessary- a too large portion of our grocery spending goes for fizzy sugar water.

Molly said...

I drink water most of the time. I do make iced tea (unsweetened) and it that is in the house I will drink that. There is milk and juice in the house, but the milk is for cereal and the juice for the baby. Hubby drink seltzer like it is going out of style. I would love to break him of that habit, but alas, it is not working.

I am completely off caffeine, have been since I got pregnant and now that I am nursing. Don't know that I will go back. I was COMPLETELY and addict so I know all about needing that pick me up. I can;t really think of a less expensive substitute for diet coke except to say try a store brand/ off brand of diet cola and see if that does it for you. It won't solve the problem completely but it might help.

Shannon@Idylwild said...

Meredith - I'm so glad you're removing nasty comments. SOme people are just absolutley thoughtless and some are down right mean. I hope you don't let it get to you!

the pleasures of homemaking said...

Coffee, Diet Caffeine Free Coke. But really we stopped drinking alot of soda because it's just not good for you. So mostly we drink water. My daughter does love Vitamin Water and Life Water and at $1 a bottle it's often a budget blower for me. But even she is drinking more plain water.

Manuela

Anonymous said...

wine.
bad for the budget.
surprisingly good for my wife/mamma abilities.

Taleyna said...

I'm a soda drinker and it amazes me too when life gets stressful and I see the effects on the budget. My husband sometimes takes on extra work doing polling which means very, very long hours for both of us for a couple of weeks. I definitely found myself going okay-how much are we making here compared to the amount of soda we drank or eating out we did.

Oh, and Meredith? You are a wonderful mom! Your blog demonstrates that day in and day out. And I love that you are willing to share some of those moments when children don't behave perfectly with us (mine always went for the hair-tea bags can be replaced more quickly).

Anonymous said...

Meredith
I don't know you personally, only from your blog. I enjoy it immensly. I have raised my children, and I can tell you that anyone with "advice" or criticism, hasn't finished raising them yet. Children are full of surprises! Yet, they remain our greatest blessing. Keep up the good work.
LC

walkmom said...

Don't berate yourself for drinking Diet Coke. I don't know a mom who doesn't brace herself up with caffeine sometimes. We mostly drink water, but in the early afternoons, when I can get away (I have big kids home,too), I buy 44 oz refill of sweet or unsweet tea or Dr Pepper (I'm from Texas!) for 50 cents. I have to cut myself off of caffeine by about 3:30 or I won't sleep. In the mornings, when it's cooler (it happens occasionally!) I drink green tea. One or two cups. Doesn't hurt the budget too much. Sometimes the groceries here put sodas on 3-12 packs for $10, get one pack free. My husband usually buys them then, but I prefer not to have the in the house because my kids sneak them. (confession time!)

Sheila said...

I am trying so hard to quit my Diet Pepsi habit!

I'm not a coffee or tea drinker, either, but I do need the caffeine.

So I'll try to quit if you will!

Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

elizabeth said...

That picture is one of the cutest things I've seen in a long time! Course, easy for me to say since I didn't have to clean the mess. ;) I love that you grabbed your camera first.

Now that we are empty nest it's surprising how little soda we drink now. Teenagers drink a LOT of soda when you let them - found that out the hard way.

We usually drink water, but our splurge in the evening would be Koolaid for him and sweet tea for me, though not every day. And I drink a lot of coffee in the morning, which I'm working on cutting down.

Anonymous said...

I recently discovered the same budget leak, only I was much worse! I somehow excused my mounting grocery bill as part of the rising grocery cost, but in reality it is the drinks! Coffee, coffee-mate creamer (lots!), crystal lite, diet soda for me and coke for hubby, orange juice, etc... Plus mine have milk issues--one child on soy or goat milk, one on lactose free milk, and one on regular milk. Yikes! :( We're back to coffee in the morning for me and OJ for the kids and then water or milk throughout the day. You're not alone! The good thing is it's an easy fix!

For the rest of you moms who fight fatigue, you might try eating more protein throughout the day. Peanut butter, nuts, legumes, yogurt, lean meats, etc...You would not believe what a difference this makes on your energy level!

Elise said...

I love Dr. Pepper and sweet tea!! Lately I have been into hot chocolate. My husband can down a 24 pack of Mtn. Dew in a week or less. Talk about a budget sucker!!
Elise

DeeAnn said...

Meredith, your lil' ones are cute as can be. I hope Andrew is feeling better.

I drink more liquids, non-alcoholic, than I eat. I have a Pepsi a few times a week. I love my iced tea with no sugar & I'm always drinking water. I have an occasional glass of juice.

I buy my Pepsi on sale when I can. Tea is pretty cheap for me because I drink the standard. I will have a cup of "fancy" tea when I'm out. I just don't buy it for the home because it would go to waste.

lizzie said...

I drink unsweetened iced tea, three black teabags to a big jug - nothing else in it.

lizzie said...

I drink unsweetened iced tea, three black teabags to a big jug - nothing else in it.

MJ said...

A dear friend introduced me to green tea several months ago. It has caffeine and lots of healthy anti-oxidants. I find that it gives me such good energy on tired days. It has a tart taste that wakes up your taste buds...and it is very inexpensive (I use store brands or what is on sale).

I drink it iced -- just place two tea bags in 2 quarts of water in the fridge overnight (I like it strong). My husband likes to substitute one herbal tea bag for variety. If you like something a bit sweet, you can add just a bit of honey to give yourself some complex carbs for additional energy. It's good hot with some milk, too.

I remember feeling *so* tired with a new baby -- I day-dreamed about sleep the way some people think about diamonds.

Best,
MJ

ru4real said...

This is my first time visiting ... What a great blog you have! I'm going to subscribe. I LOVE the pic of your little princess with the scissors ... but I'm grrrrring that rude people have to make such mean spirited remarks. I'm sure their children (if they have any) managed a few of these antics too. I'm a water drinker during the day ... but I HAVE to have a morning and evening cup of coffee. And since I'm a deep south girl, my coffee is always flavored with chicory. You can read about my love for it here ... Chicory: The Root of My Delight.

Ginny said...

Coke is what is killing hubby & I's grocery budget! He is the worst, he drinks tons! He also drinks coffee & then Gatorade/Powerade at work (carpenter). I'm pretty sure we spend more on drinks then on food.

I drink Coke & Sweet Tea. I've been trying to drink Sweet Tea more because it is so much cheaper.

When I hit to comment, I noticed your last comment. Very sorry about any rude comments. My youngest is 7 & used to do stuff like that all the time. I think that picture is priceless!

I know with my 2, my youngest was the one that got into everything. For one, she had an older sister. I wasn't about to hide every crayon, marker & pair of SAFETY scissors in the house. It was easier for her to get into things. Don't even let the nasty comments bother you :)

Charity Grace said...

I've always been a water drinker. I'm not a big fan of masking my body's cry for rest with a stimulant like caffeine, so instead I take a nap if I can. That's not a criticism though--there are so many times when we mommies don't have that luxury. It's a balance.

I very occasionally make fruity herbal iced teas. And I like hot tea on chilly days. Mostly water though.

Lana said...

Coffee..... w/ lots of cram and sugar, or I make lattes with my espresso machine....

Ohhh and GRAPE JUICE!!!!!!!! Mmmmm

Darla~SassyHomemaker said...

The only thing we drink is water & milk outside of one can of diet coke, no caffeine (for me - mama needs her DC) a day.

Lemme say tho it has gone UP by $3 a case. $3 since this last summer!!!

Chief Family Officer said...

Great picture :) And I understand about soda, I used to drink Diet Coke only occasionally, but now I have at least one almost every day. With coupons and sales, I manage to pay $2 per 12 pack or less.

I just picked up 5 12-packs at Pavilions (part of Safeway), where they are having a Buy 2, Get 3 Free deal this week. I used 2 $1 off 12-pack coupons that I got via MyCokeRewards.com. It's $5.99 per 12-pack so with coupons, it worked out to $2 per pack.

I did even better at CVS last week, where I paid $6 after coupons for 4 12-packs. But I needed even more soda for a birthday party and the CVS deal was limit 1, hence my trip to Pavilions today.

At least I know we'll drink whatever's leftover from the party! I am expecting the day to come when I say to myself, I don't think I need this Diet Coke after all, but for now, I'm not fighting this battle :)

Anonymous said...

Darling photo! Reminds me of my little mischief-maker at that age. He's now a strapping 21 yo - they do survive their experiments! Creative children (and your first two seem to take after you there - too early to tell about brother John) always find more things to try and to experiment with than other children. I remember well waking up to the smell of brownies at 5am when my ds was 3 - it was cocoa powder, sugar and eggs stirred (and spilling over!) in a dish in the middle of his bedroom rug - nothing like scraping up raw eggs of of shag to lighten your morning ;) Oh - and there was a baby gate blocking the kitchen - he dragged his bookcase thru the hallway, climbed up and jumped into the kitchen - he used a kitchen chair for the trip back - ergo egg, cocoa and sugar trail from kitchen to bedroom! When they are determined, there is no stopping them ;)

I think Elise is just lovely the way she is - so pay no mind to any negative comments! However you choose to handle it is between you and Elise and no one else ;)

Kathy from NJ

NeedANap2 said...

I like caffeine free (Kroger brand) Big K diet cola. Of course I prefer Diet Pepsi (usually caffeine free) but buying the Big K helps our budget a lot! I think the taste of the Big K is between Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi.

But something I learned from Missy at It's Almost Naptime! (http://itsalmostnaptime.blogspot.com/) was about CoQ10. I've been taking a 75 mg capsule most days, if I know that day will be bad I'll take 2. It really seems to help keep me awake. I've found the vitamins on a 100% free, buy 1 get 1 free sale (100 capsule bottles at 50 capsule price then buy 1 get 1 free) at Meijer (I know you don't have those). It's supposed to help with heart health. I'm pretty skeptical otherwise I'd probably try Super Mom vitamins, most people rave about them.

Here's the direct link for Missy's post
http://itsalmostnaptime.blogspot.com/2007/09/mothers-little-helper.html

Betty Beguiles said...

I'm addicted to coffee but trying to cut back. Pray for me! ;)

Anonymous said...

I did that too, got addicted to Diet Coke, and it is a catch 22. I would set a deadline to quite, and very soon before you are addicted and it ends up causing more problems and cravings and headaches. But I know what you mean.

Carrien said...

Er. it seems blogger ate my comment. At least I hope that was it and it wasn't one of the ones you felt you needed to delete.

So I'll try again. Here's what it said.

Bravo for thinking to take a picture of it instead of freaking out.

I can't help with the drinks because I only drink water and tea (Which is cheap at big lots and good hot or cold.)

But I can help with nap time. At our house, long after children have out grown sleeping in the afternoon we have something known as quiet time, also known as preserve mommy's sanity time. Every one goes to their bed and does something quiet for an hour. Quiet toys, quiet books. The little's usually fall asleep anyway, even though they say they're not tired.

And mommy gets her hour of rest as well.

It usually takes a week of enforcing it after a break before it becomes normal for them and they go to their rooms without question after lunch. You can always nap on the couch the first little while to make sure they stay put until they have settled into it.

It's one of my favorite tricks, and I learned it from my MIL.

Steph said...

I drink coffee - I try to get my brand (which is not cheap) when it's B.O.G.O. free. But then there's the Splenda . . .

And my husband loves Diet Coke. He drinks it all the time - so it adds up. And my other fave is Arizona Diet Green Tea. I drink it all the time. And the kids love Roaring Waters from Capri Sun. I've cut those out somewhat, but drinks are a big budget buster around here.

Anonymous said...

Meredith,

It's the third child that really kicks up the caffeine addiction, at least in my experience. Of course, the fact that we were living in Washington state, home of Starbucks, at the time of the third child's birth may have been a contributing factor.

I admire your ability to remain conscientious about your grocery budget despite sleep deprivation, but I hope you'll cut yourself some slack on this issue. Sometimes we moms "do what we have to do" to remain functional. Probably the issue will naturally resolve itself once you and baby are on a better schedule.

Good for you for shutting down the rude and mean-spirited anonymous commenters! I like your spirit!

Susan in San Antonio

hsgbdmama said...

Coffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffee ...

I stick to the Master Chef ($4.98 at WM) or Folgers when I can get it on good deal, but for the 'better roasts' I do like Cameron's (best price $3.99) or Archer Farms (good price ~$5-6) or the Sam's Choice organic coffees ($5.88). My reasoning is that then it keeps me away from McD's and Starbucks.

Other than water ...

* Tea -- Celestial Seasonings, Archer Farms, or HT from B&N (obtained with good coupon)
* Hot chocolate -- good for cold days!
* Lemonade, using Jenn @ Frugal Upstate's recipe of lemon juice and sugar
* Very occasional Kool Aid
* Very occasional soda when we go on a short soda kick, but we get the Sam's Choice 2 litre bottle at WM for 67 cents.

Anonymous said...

My friends in the office spend upwards of 25.00 weekly on 'coffee' alone from starbucks - Me? I used to be that person -
Now, I just brew my own in the office OR bring mine from home and a backup starbucks thermos - very handy -
I know I've save a cajillion bucks this year alone and I love putting that money elsewhere on things that really matter -
Another fave of mine is lipton diet green tea - Walgreens last week "4.99" for a 12 pack - GREAT DEAL!!! I usually stack up on 24 packs of diet coke --- last week at safeway for 5.99 box - pretty good savings compared -
My pantry is pretty stocked with juices, pop, and teas - and 'good' coffees for when company wants to pop over - Pinching can be fun!

Latrice - working mama in the nw!

Tammy said...

Love the picture. I remember those days. My girls are now 21 and 16, so those days are passed. That's bittersweet, isn't it? We stick to milk and herbal teas around here, with an occasional juice or juice smoothie thrown in. I love camomile tea hot or cold, and sometimes I just add a little lemon to my water and call that good. Blessings!

Ann Kroeker said...

I
love
this
photo

(while grieving the loss of your precious specialty tea)

I'm a tea girl. Two thoughts on tea:

1. Lipton really does taste smooth and fine. I like fancier stuff, but Lipton is inexpensive and tasty--makes great iced or hot tea. I don't use much sugar or honey, keeping costs low.

2. Let people know you like a particular tea, and it just might appear at Christmas wrapped up with a bow! I'm going to drop a hint with my mom and see if I get a box of PG Tips, my favorite (a British tea I can't always find).

eafollman said...

I really enjoy a Chai Latte once in a while (more like everyday) It doesn't have as much caffeine as coffe and it tastes SO good. I buy the General Foods International brand. It's about $2.85 a can and lasts a couple weeks.

Kalee said...

I have been reading your blog for nearly 2 years now, and I always thoroughly enjoy it. I was reading older posts (since I had some catching up to do, things have been a bit crazy lately) and came across this one. My husband and I drink a lot of tea (hot right now, but iced during the summer), coffee, water, and homemade hot cocoa. By making it homemade we don't buy the boxed kind that has ingredients we don't like, and instead we use ingredients we generally have around the house. And I love sparkling water, which I add lemon to, or even occassionally a bit of fresh squeezed OJ.

Becky said...

This is my favorite picture of the day! Big smile.

Becky said...

We drink bottled water from the refill-by-the-gallon area in my grocery store. I make homemade lemonade with real lemon juice bought in bulk at Sams. I also drink coffee - I get the Target brand, Market Pantry and it's wonderful.

bethj said...

I love Coke (regular), and drink a lot of it. Trying to cut back and just drink water. Recently I bought a water bottle to help motivate me, filling it first thing in the morning and then re-filling through the day. Cokes definitely affect our budget and so I need to just cut it out or at least cut way back. It bothers me when our daughter drinks it. Recently a friend told me, "They're poison!" I don't want our daughter getting hooked on them like me. I also love coffee and lattes with lots of creamer, but don't drink it a lot. My daughter and I drink a little bit of juice each day when we take our Mannatech vitamins. My husband and daughter drink a lot of sweet tea (he's from the south, so his tea is a little tea and lots of sugar). I've been buying raw sugar for his tea from the Mennonite market here in town, because I heard it's better for you than white sugar. We also enjoy hot teas - green, white, raspberry, chamomile. I do encourage our daughter to drink lots of water each day (and preaching to myself here). I think cutting out cokes would be a big help to our budget, though. :)