The Financial Benefits of Giving Up Soda

Financial Benefits of Giving Up Soda Pop

Is it called soda, pop, or coke?

I’ve been off coke (soda) for a couple of days now.

Have you ever tried to do this?

A headache (from the lack of caffeine) is reminding me of how sadly dependent I’d become of the stuff. Not only has it been costing me financially, but it’s negatively affecting my health, which in turn, could cost me money on medical issues in the future.

I usually drink at least 40 ounces of coke a day. I know that’s a lot, but I don’t drink coffee, so this was my way of getting the caffeine fix. To make matters worse, lately, instead of buying a case of drinks from the store, I’ve been swinging by 7-11 to get a fountain coke.

I’ve effectively created my own version of the latte factor. Let’s call it the “Big Gulp Factor”. Not a good habit.

You know what I’m talking about, right? Let me explain…the excess money that I’m spending on these drinks is money that could be used for greater needs, like retirement savings.

The almost $100 I’m spending on soda every month is just plain dumb. That’s almost $1200 a year on cokes. Ridiculous, right? Time to at least invest in some cases of soda from the grocery store or Sams Club.

Too much soda could also cost me financially in the future because of any health-related issues. If the soda pop keeps me overweight, I will have to spend money on a gym membership, weight-watchers program, or increased premiums on health and life insurance.

If I start to develop diabetes or some other disease brought on by poor diet, it could cost me a pretty penny in medical costs.

So what am I going to do about it? My goal right now is to go without coke for a month to see how it affects my budget and my waistline. At that point I may reinstate diet coke only in the mornings, just for that one pick-me-up.

Or I may just decide to go without it completely. My plan is to replace my soda habit with mostly water and Crystal Light peach tea (so good). I’ve found that this Crystal Light can really satisfy my cravings for something flavored. Wish me luck.

If you’ve been successful in giving up soda, I’d love to hear how you did it. Let us know in the comments below.

Photo by woody1778a

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About Philip Taylor, CPA

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of the personal finance industry conference and trade show, FinCon. He created this website back in 2007 to share his advice on money, hold himself accountable (while paying off over $75k in debt), and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence. He uses Personal Capital to track his wealth. All the content on this blog is original and created or edited by PT.


  1. “My goal is to go without coke for a month to see how it affects my budget and my waistline. At that point I may reinstate diet coke only in the mornings. Or I may just decide to go without it completely.”

    Giving up soda is a great goal, but this sounds like the good ‘ol Safety Net at work, which John Cheese talks about in detail in his article about addiction. (#9 on the list)

    As a reformed junk food person…who had trouble….giving it up-er, I know all about the jusitfication dance. I know it sounds judgy and harsh, but sometimes we need someone to say “Hey, buddy, I know what you’re doing. So don’t do that thing.”

    Good luck, though, it’s entirely possible to give it up. I gave it up for health reasons, and can honestly say it wasn’t the struggle I thought it would be.

    But I think not wanting to be sick all the time was motivation for me.

  2. @Crazy – Keep it up. After a week you won’t have anymore headaches. Drink plenty of water and treat yourself to dessert a few more times this week.

  3. I have been drinking Coke for years and always seemed that I would find the money to have it despite my financial slumps. I absolutely love fountain drinks and with the deals at McDonald’s I spend over $100 a month as well driving thru 3+ times a day. I just put 2 and 2 together and want to stop for health and finances. Today is day two and I am so weak and with the lack of calories am so hungry. I am going to keep trying. Glad to hear after a month it doesn’t smell or taste the same. Thanks!

  4. Thanks for the link!

    Ever gave sparkling water a try as an alternative to soda? I’ve tried Poland Spring Raspberry Lime Sparkling Water and was hooked. I found that I just needed the fizz, not the sugar. Although it may not be cheaper per unit cost, it is healthier. And it does help with the transition to good old H2O, which may actually end up being cheaper in the long run.

  5. Financial Samurai says

    Good work getting off soda! Sugar I think is one of the biggest KILLERS in our diet. Kick out sugar, and I think our life expectancies go up in years!

  6. Thanks so much for the link love! You should try drinking more plain decaf tea. I like it both iced and hot! No sugar, and you’re good to go!

  7. @Greg – It’s peach tea. It’s just made by crystal light. The stuff is awesome. Not like that old school crystal light stuff.

    I didn’t mean to imply that caffeine was my only reason. I like the taste. I do not, however, like the taste of coffee. To bitter for me.

  8. Greg McFarlane says

    First off, congratulations on being the only male in the history of the world to drink Crystal Light.

    But if you’re only drinking Coke for the caffeine, then why the reluctance to drink coffee? You can brew your own for like 19¢ a cup, and it takes longer to drink than Coke, thus presumably saving you even more money.

  9. Good luck!!
    The first month was the hardest time in my year challenge with no soda’s. You can do it

  10. @DIY – That’s a great idea. Thanks for sharing that with us. I think I’ll use that one when my kids are old enough.

  11. DIY Investor says

    Interesting. This is actually similar to what we recommend to parents in teaching their children financial literacy. We suggest giving the children a choice when the family eats out between $1 to spend anyway they want if they choose water versus choosing a soft drink. Given the price of soft drinks and the number of times families eat out at fast food establishments it amounts to a lot over the years if the family puts $1 in a savings account every time a child chooses water.
    The children are supposed to learn the value of waiting, saving, and making the right choices.

  12. Money Beagle says

    Good luck! The first few days are tough but they’re also the easiest because that’s when motivation is high. The tough part will be when not having it becomes mundane and that’s when the temptation will often win. Hopefully you can stick with it or at least end up in a place where you aren’t dependent on the stuff any more.

  13. Tiffany Willis says

    Good luck, Phil! It’s tough to give up a habit, but you can do it! I have about 3 cokes a month. I’m ok with that. I also have, however, about a POT of coffee a day. Would like to do better but I do seem to need it to keep going.

  14. It’s astounding how much you can spend on drinks like pop (that’s what we call soda in Minnesota) and coffee, isn’t it? Giving it up surely helps when income drops.

    BTW, This is a super blog! May I use some of your material in Examiner and credit you? I will notify you of each time, with your permission.

  15. Good luck! I’ve gone without soda since May 8 of this year, and it’s done wonderful things for my budget. I formerly suffered from migraine headaches, and since giving up soda, I’ve seen a substantial decrease in the number of migraines I experience. Once you get through the first month, you won’t miss it!

    Also, look up the adverse side effects of aspartame. It’s in all diet sodas, and it’s pretty crazy what it can do to you. I only drank diet sodas before giving them up, so I didn’t see any weight loss, but I’m happy to be rid of aspartame in my diet.