Monday, May 5, 2014

Start Simple: Our Beverages

beverages photo: beverages beverages11-27-09.jpg
photo credit
      When I meet with prospective volunteers, teachers, and parent (even some students) there is one thing that catches my attention right off the bat; what's in their hands. Name brand coffees, bubbly beverages, crazy colored sport drinks in hand, the car cup holder, the lunch box, etc. Beverages are a huge marketing industry, and they are good at getting us to tweak our budgets to buy them. Most of us don't realize the money we spend on basic beverages every day. We even buy water! (Okay, I would rather see people holding a bottle of water!) The point is, we can cut this cost and cut a large amount of sugar/calories right here- and it's not hard to do.  Let's address it.

        1. Coffee. I love my coffee (you almost never see me without it), but I love my coffee. One pound of coffee makes 32 cups of coffee. That pound of coffee will run about $6.00 (more or less dependent upon the brand you are purchasing). That is about the cost of 1 coffee house drink. Want it flavored? My daughters loved flavored coffees. They made their own using caramel syrup, fresh cream, and hot cocoa powder (easily made cold in a blender with ice). One basic $20 investment in a coffee maker can really help the coffee craving expense.
        2. Bubbly drinks. Let me be the first not to shun you for loving them; they are yummy. The problem is, they were never meant to be a 24/7 intake. Expensive and seriously sugar laden, bubblies are hard on the budget and the body. I have not totally banned the bubblies from my home, however, I do purchase them at the store, on sale- and attempt to limit myself. Once simple step: stop driving through or vending them, buy a case (often 3/18ct for $12) and ration them a bit.
         3. Sport drinks. Crazy colors, athletic promoters, sports drink marketers have us convinced there beverage is vital to our health and fitness; they aren't. These drinks are chemical cocktails filled with sugar and dye- nothing our body truly needs, especially when we are sweating or exerting ourselves. We are an active and athletic family, but we do not drink these. Water or water with frozen fruits added (in place of ice cubes) are both great alternatives to the sport beverage craze; and quite a bit cheaper as well.
          4. Bottled water. Ok, I sigh. This is actually the best convenience beverage purchase you can make, but it doesn't have to be a purchase. Water from tap, filtered tap, or the water cooler are already part of your budget. Carry along refillable cups/bottles are available everywhere- and are a one-time purchase. Just something to consider.

           This week I give you a challenge: take a conscious look at what is in you hand and where you could make a change. One step is still a step! Consider making and taking your coffee, buying in bulk and limiting the bubblies, and putting more water in you system. Yes, it will be challenging at first, but after a few days it will become routine.

**A personal note:
     I have always kept a coffee pot & supplies in my office/classroom for a quick pick me up- and I have a file cabinet full of bottled water for those days I need one on the go. These two habits help me stay out of the drive through and low on the calories.

           Have a tip to share? Please do! A little encouragement goes a long way.


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