A Krazy Coupon Lady is always doing a little calculus in her head, performing a convenience versus cost-saving analysis.  As if her brain contained a miniature balance scale where she could measure "what is easy" against "what will save me money." Her internal scale has helped her eliminate venti soy lattes, thrice-weekly takeout from the corner Thai restaurant, and going into Target without a list.

Although, if you examined her gym bag, the huge purse she takes to the office, and the cup holder in her car, you may find one of her budget-breaking dirty little secrets…bottled water! Bottled water can cost more per ounce than gas.  So why is it one of the hardest convenience items for cost-conscious consumers to give up? Read on for some straight-shooting information that may help you wean yourself, and your family, off the bottled water today!

It's Taste Test Time!

Do you think bottled water tastes better than tap water? If so, perform a blind taste test. There have been many well-publicized taste tests that show people prefer tap water over bottled water. If you think that tap water has a chlorine taste, then try storing a jug of tap water overnight in the fridge to help dissipate the unpleasant taste.

Let's get real about your preference for bottled water over tap water. Are you such a bottled water purist that you fill your ice trays and boil your bow-tie pasta in bottled water? Probably not. Did you know that Dasani and Aquafina brand start out as your plain old municipal tap water?

Why not buy yourself a reusable aluminum water bottle and fill it with tap water?  In a pinch, I like to buy a Vitamin Water or FUZE and then refill it with tap water.

Do The Math!

Just in case you were wondering, tap water costs a mere half-cent per gallon, whereas bottled water costs $0.89 per gallon. Here’s another way to break down the cost of budget-busting bottled water: Costco charges $8.49 for a 24-pack of half-liter sized Nestle brand bottled spring water. If, on average, you drank three to four bottles of this water a day, you’d be spending about $442 a year on bottled water. Last year, the average American only made about $26,000 a year. If you’re like most Americans, you’d be under water if you spent $442 a year on bottled water.

Stickler for Safety?

If you're concerned about the safety of tap water, then think about this: The government mandates more frequent testing of municipal tap water than it does bottled water. The Environmental Protection Agency requires municipal tap water to be tested several times a day, whereas the Food and Drug Administration only requires commercialized bottled water to be tested once a month.

Stuck on Status?

Like a designer bag, bottled water can be seen as a status item. Flip through any US Weekly or Life & Style, and you'll see pictures of celebrities leaving the gym or running errands with bottled water in hand. If you're concerned about the status associated with bottled water, then you may have bigger problems. Hey, if it means that much to you, buy one bottle of water and keep refilling it with tap or filtered water. Those who care won't know the difference.  If you want to achieve a different kind of status, then post on the KCL brag boards about how much money you are saving by quitting bottled water.

Find a Filter

Tap water is perfectly safe, but buy a filter if it helps give you peace of mind or you prefer the way it tastes. Here are some of the main categories of home water filters and some great deals on them that KCL has found:

  • Pitcher/Carafe Filter: This filter is a pour-through water pitcher. You’ll have to replace the filter about every two months.
  • Faucet Water Filter: This gets attached to your sink faucet and filters as the water flows out. While this type of filter is relatively easy to install, it will significantly slow down the water flow and will take up a substantial amount of your under-the-sink storage space. Also, the filter needs to be replaced every four months.
  • Portable Water Filter: Campers and other outdoorsy types often use these portable water filters which consists of a reusable water bottle with a built-in activated carbon filter. You’ll have to replace the filter every 100 uses.

Do It for Your Mother (Earth)

Each day, 67 million empty water bottles are thrown away. To make all these bottles, manufacturers use 17 million barrels of crude oil.  To put it into perspective, that's enough oil to run a million cars for a year. Only 10% of water bottles are recycled, and the recycling process can be labor-intensive, pricey and drain natural resources.

This has been a guest post by Lisa from Miami, FL
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