I’m Addicted to Soda (and Spending Lots of Money On It)

Hello, my name is Adam and I am addicted to soda. Believe it or not, that was hard for me to type. Although, as I write this, I have gone 3 days without a drop of soda (or caffeine for that matter) and the headaches have begun. Wish me luck on this tough task!

Soda

Where It All Began

I have been drinking soda for as long as I can remember. Both of my grandfathers drank it and I think that is where my addiction began. When I was younger, my one grandfather used to take me to the local distributor once a week to return his empty Pepsi bottles (they refilled them back then). While there, he allowed me to get a whole bottle of Pepsi and some Munchos (does anyone still eat those?) for the ride home. I used to drink Pepsi at both of my grandparents on a daily basis. 

This trend continued throughout my life until Monday May 18, 2009. Since that date, I have pledged to stop drinking soda for my health and my wallet.

How Much Did This Addiction Cost Me?

I have never really thought about how much this addiction has cost me over the years, so I figured now was a good time to find out. 

Past 5 Years

I would say that I have been paying for my own soda for that past 5 years. Now, let’s assume that the average price over those 5 years was $1.10 per 20 ounce bottle (that is usually what I drink) and I had 1 bottle per day for the entire year. That means I spent $2099 on soda over that time period! Sounds a bit ridiculous right?

Over a Lifetime

How much would I spend if I keep drinking soda over my lifetime? This requires a little time value of money but I will skip all of that and just give you the number. For this example I assumed that the average price of a 20 ounce soda is $1.25 now and it will increase by 3% (inflation) each year. I also assumed that I would continue to drink soda until age 75 (50 more years). Want to know what the final number is? I would spend just over $51,000 on soda alone!

Technically, I didn’t quit drinking soda because of money. I did it because I am starting to focus more on my health. As many of you know, soda is loaded with sugar and all of the caffeine cannot be good for you.  All I know is that this is going to be VERY HARD as I have not gone more than 3 days without soda in over 15 years. 

Anyone else have a costly “addiction”?

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My name is Adam and I am in debt. Yep, I came out and said it in the first sentence. I hope that shows you how passionate I am about getting out of debt and enjoying life in the process. Join my wife and me on our journey and be sure to contribute to the great discussions. You can get FREE email updates about the site as soon as they are posted. If you would like to hear our whole story, visit my about page. Thanks for visiting!

19 Responses to I’m Addicted to Soda (and Spending Lots of Money On It)
  1. Money Beagle
    May 21, 2009 | 12:40 PM

    Have you really been spending $1.10 per bottle or are you just using the number for the dramatic affect of the article? I cant’ believe that you wouldn’t buy them in packs of 6 or 8 where the average price is somewhat cheaper. Granted, it would still be a lot of money either way, but were you really going to the vending machine or store and purchasing a single bottle every day?

    Money Beagle’s last blog post..Note To Credit Card Companies: We’re ALL In A Recession

  2. Adam
    May 21, 2009 | 1:00 PM

    @MoneyBeagle – I actually convinced myself that buying it in the store would make me drink it more. If I purchased 12-packs, 2 liters, etc. at the store, I would weight about 300 pounds right now because that would be the only thing I would drink all day. Actually, it’s a rounded number because some days I drank maybe three sodas from the machine (or convenience store). I know it sounds strange but I think buying them that way helped me drink less.

  3. Mrs. Adam
    May 21, 2009 | 4:28 PM

    I will let you all know how long he manages to stay off Pepsi. I am his fiance, and let me tell you, he is honestly addicted. If Adam had it his way, we would have a full stock of Pepsi in the house 24/7 and he would drink it with every meal and in between. Anyone with sense would tell you that that is not the best thing in the world for one to do. It is a lot of sugar and caffeine. I do not drink soda often, only on occasion, but even then it is not my favorite thing to drink. I hope he can manage to slowly kill his addiction so that he no longer feels headaches from not drinking it. Perhaps he can become more like me and have a soda on occasion…but its like alcohol, once you have a sip you RELAPSE!

  4. Jeff@StretchyDollar
    May 21, 2009 | 4:41 PM

    Wow – good luck! That’s a big goal to make – but you’ve got it! You’ll have some cash to play around with now!

    Jeff@StretchyDollar’s last blog post..Or Do Without – The Frugal Family

  5. Happy Money Medium
    May 21, 2009 | 4:47 PM

    Money matters aside, couldn’t you try Diet Pepsi? Or Coke Zero? I drink a lot of Coke Zero, but the only health affect is the caffeine. I’m trying to cut down to 2 cans a day (my wife and I buy the 12-packs and usually get them on sale) to try to save my brain a little bit. No calories though!

    Happy Money Medium’s last blog post..Food Diary: May 17 – 19

  6. Matt @ StupidCents
    May 21, 2009 | 4:58 PM

    Don’t forget, if you add the $2-3 you spend on a soda when you go out to eat, then it really starts to get out of hand. I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to soda, but I bring my own 12 packs into work periodically to avoid spending $1.25 at the company vending machine.

    Stupidly Yours,

    Matt

    Matt @ StupidCents’s last blog post..Your Kids Want to Spend More of Your Money, BillMyParents Makes it Easy

  7. Adam
    May 21, 2009 | 5:32 PM

    @HMM – I don’t really want to get addicted to something else. Most of those still have caffeine in them and they also have the “fake” sugar that is just as bad for you. I was drinking Coke Zero a few months ago and I surprisingly liked the taste. If I were to try a diet soda, that would definitely be the one.

    @Matt – You are right there. Although we have been trying to eat in lately, when we did go out, I always got a soda. Those add up too! Hey, but at least they have free refills!

  8. Proud Soda Drinker
    May 21, 2009 | 7:03 PM

    Do what you want and what makes you happy. There is nothing wrong with drinking soda, certainly not one a day. Who cares how much you spend? You could say that about any single thing in your diet or in your lifestyle. Plus, think about the satisfaction and refreshment that each and every soda brings to you. Isn’t it worth just a few bucks a week? I know it sure is for me!

    Personally, I am addicted to Diet Coke. I, too, drink only one bottle a day, never more. It must be Diet Coke, nothing else. Since I travel a lot, I will call hotels to make sure that they have Coke (not Pepsi) vending machines. Diet soda is much less worse for you than regular soda (here some the doubters, but ironically, I met with my doctor *today* about this very subject) so, if you can, you might want to drink Diet Pepsi.

    Seriously, do what is right for YOU and what brings YOU happiness in life! If drinking a soda makes you happy, do it! Don’t let anyone or anything deny you the simple, innocent pleasures in life. Life is way too short to take a feel-good, no-fun approach to anything, certainly not one simple soda.

  9. SailboatFamily
    May 22, 2009 | 6:54 AM

    What part of drinking a soda do you enjoy? Is it the coolness of the liquid rolling down your throat? Is it the effervescent bubbles in your mouth? Is it the caffeine surging through your veins? Is it the act of acquiring the soda?

    For me, it was all of the above so when I broke the habit 2 years ago, I sought ways of substituting each of the above. For coolness, I drink cold ice water. This also helps with the liquid in the throat. For the bubbling sensation, I started to drink water with an Airborne tablet in it (I do 2 a day). For the caffeine angle, I toughed it out by taking aspirin for a week. For the acquisition side, I made myself a ritual out of obtaining the perfect glass of ice water.

    My dumping of soda had nothing to do with money or health. It had everything to do with feeling like I was a slave to a company. My goal is to be completely independent. Money and health were happy by products.

    SailboatFmaily’s last blog post..Free DVDs, Internet, and More!

  10. J. Money
    May 23, 2009 | 3:12 PM

    I hear ya brotha, it’s def. a hard thing to quite! I gave it up for Lent one year and after surviving almost 2 months w/out a drop of it (i still drank coffee) it was so easy to stray away from it going forward. So if you can stop for a good amount of time straight, then I think you’ll work it 0ut :) I still enjoy drinking it every now and then, but now limit it to weekends only to stay on track. good luck!

    J. Money’s last blog post..Carnival of Top Personal Finance Posts #3 (Vote for your fav!)

  11. Mrs. Micah
    May 26, 2009 | 9:43 AM

    Proud Soda Drinker, I can say that during my freshman year of college I used to drink two cokes with each meal, plus at least one in the evening. I’m all for spending on things you can afford that make you happy…but addiction is another matter.

    One of the reasons my roommate sophomore year convinced me to quit was she pointed out that I couldn’t go a day without terrible headaches. I didn’t want anything controlling my life like that. My mom quit drinking caffeinated tea for the same reason when she realized that if she didn’t get her tea she would yell at us kids for no reason. I think she was a smart woman for doing that.

    I still enjoy a casual soda, though I didn’t drink any for 6 months after quitting to avoid getting into a habit. Now I just get them at restaurants, which is rare.

    Good luck, Adam! It’s doable, take Advil for the headaches and stick to your guns. I now don’t get those headaches, my stomach is much more settled than it used to be, plus I save the money I was giving those vending machines (like you, I didn’t buy packs, though I got “free” soda included in my meal in the cafeteria).

    Mrs. Micah’s last blog post..Keeping More Than Basic Records

  12. Adam
    May 26, 2009 | 10:17 AM

    @Proud Soda Drinker – I’m not really sure that drinking soda “made me happy”. I drank soda because I was addicted to it and my body told me that I needed it.

    @SailboatFamily – Mostly, I enjoyed that taste (abundance of sugar). Thanks for the tips! I can’t believe you drink the Airborne. I can’t stand it and it even looks disgusting if you ask me.

    @J – Luckily I have never been a coffee drinker and I am not going to become one either!

    @Mrs Micah – I am on day 8 without a single soda! I really didn’t think I could make it this far but I have. I have to agree with your assessments on the things that feel better. The head and stomach feels great!

  13. Mrs. Owl
    May 27, 2009 | 6:11 PM

    Congrats on 8 Days! I just made the decision to quit soda and I’m on Day 7. : ) Mt. Dew has been my vice for the past ten years so I finally decided to go cold turkey and give it up. I hate the expense, I hate the calories, I hate how unhealthy it is! I’ve had some awful migraines so far but the feeling of relief is great enough to deal with any discomfort for now.

    I would also only buy a 20 oz. cold one because if I had a 12-pack or larger I would drink them faster than anything. Good luck!

    Mrs. Owl’s last blog post..Goal

  14. Adam
    May 27, 2009 | 9:45 PM

    @Mrs Owl – I would drink a two-liter a day if I had it in the house. It was absolutely horrible. Good luck on your quest as well! I could never drink too much Mt Dew. Something about the taste I guess.

  15. Credit Card Chaser
    November 21, 2009 | 2:51 AM

    When I was younger my dad paid me $50 to go a year without drinking soda and I did it more just to prove to him that I could rather than the $50. Now I have to say that if there is anything at all that I could ever be accused of being addicted to then it would have to be Dr. Pepper although I definitely drink more water, skim milk, and juice than DP :)
    .-= Credit Card Chaser´s lastest post ..Credit Cards & Bankruptcy: A Visual Tragedy =-.

  16. Zak
    April 18, 2012 | 7:01 AM

    So, it is 3 years in the future. Are you still soda free?

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