The frugal website Wisebread asked readers for suggestions on staying cool in the summer without air-conditioning. Since drinking is an important part of staying cool, I’ve collected tips on saving and quenching your thirst at the same time. While purchased drinks are a dispensable part of the grocery budget for many families, there are ways to save even if you already drink only tap water.
- Make changes gradually. It’s great to be frugal, but your family needs to come on board too. Start by buying fewer bottles of sweet drinks during each shopping trip, saving them for weekends, or diluting with tap water, gradually increasing the amount (sneaky but it works). Be prepared for some grumbling, but if you stick to your guns your family will come around. You’ll get used to drinking water too.
- Avoid bottled water. These are expensive and may not be regulated as carefully as tap water. And they generate a lot of garbage.
- Filter out the filters. Some people prefer the taste of filtered water. But filters keep out valuable minerals, and must be replaced on a regular basis. Beware of home reverse osmosis systems, which waste more water than they filter.*
- Keep tap water “on ice.” Freeze a glass or plastic bottle half-full. Take one out and add more water, refilling it for as long as the ice holds out. This gives you a supply of cold water for several hours, while the refrigerator stays closed. When it’s empty, put it back in the freezer half-full. This one requires advance planning; try to keep several bottles in your freezer.
- Take it with you. For short trips, fill a small half-bottle of ice with water. For longer trips, freeze two bottles: one half-full, and one nearly full. Add water to the first before your trip. Use the bottles to keep your food cold, and save the second for drinking water later in the day. Keep bottles in old, clean, sports socks to soak up condensation.
- Save on dishwashing. Water glasses don’t need to be washed as often as those used for other drinks. Buy colored cups or mark glasses with the names of family members, to avoid taking a fresh one each time. Or paint names on a shelf or turntable. Wash the glasses twice a day.
- Don’t overdo it. Even though tapwater is cheap and dehydration a serious matter, it’s still best to avoid drinking excess amounts. Advice to drink a certain amount each day doesn’t take into account body weight, activity level, or the temperature and humidity. If you drink to thirst, your urine is clear, and you urinate every 2-4 hours, you’re drinking enough.
- Make it elegant. Pour tap water into a pretty pitcher, with a slice of lemon or a sprig of mint.
How do you enjoy your water in the summer? Share in the comments below, and at Wisebread.
The weekly recipe will appear tomorrow.
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