Living Below Your Means
How to Save Money on Distilled Water

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By FreethinkerKW
November 27, 2006

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As a newly unemployed (my choice, I quit a job I've held for 10 years a week ago) . . . I've started pruning costs and expenses which I never thought about when I was making the big fungolas.

In future, I will post some of my LBYM "discoveries" which really should have been "discovered" back when I was making the big bucks.

Today's topic is water.

I start with water because it is an absolute necessity of life.

Today's tip is centered on drinking water.

I live in the Florida Keys. The water we use for showers, drinking and cooking is highly chlorinated and is shipped down to us through 120 miles of pipes from the Florida mainlands.

I drink a lot of water. But I cannot stand the taste of the water we get from the mainland. Toss in the water pipes under Key West street being over 100 year old and you must understand that much of the water which sits before you turn on a tap must collect an abnormal amount of iron and copper sediment which comes out of our faucets as brown water. If I go away for two days and turn on our faucets, the water is always brown and brackish.

This is not a problem just for the new place I live. It is also endemic in any place I've ever lived in Key West.

Hence, a long, long time ago, I bought bottled water which is delivered to me in 5 gallon bottles. The bottles flip upside down and rest on a stand which chills the water and has two spigots, one for cold water or one for warm water.

Now . . . to have this distilled water delivered to my home, the company used to charge us $8.00 per 5 gallon bottle. So, we'd usually go through 5 of these 5 gallon bottles every two weeks. Also, a monthly rental for the stand added $5.00 every month.

Recently, we discovered we can buy these same bottles of water in Albertson's for $6.00 per bottle as long as you return one empty 5 gallon plastic bottle for every new bottle you bought.

Better yet, we saw one of these stands on sale, almost new, at a backyard sale for $20.00. So now, we no longer pay a monthly $5.00 fee for the stand. Meaning, that's $60.00 saved per year.

The water, let's say 10 bottles a month, is costing $1.62 a bottle less (I'm adding in the State Tax for store purchase( So that's $16.20 saved monthly OR $194.40 per year water purchases saved + $60.00 saved for owning our own water bottle stand. Total savings this way is $254.40 yearly).

So now, we are saving $254.40 per year on water purchases and water stand rental by doing it ourselves, right?

Wait, it gets better.

Albertson's recently allowed a company to install this giant sized distillation/purification H2O machine in front of its store. The company with these machines is called "Crystal Clear Water". This is the first machine of its type in Key West, and I can say, it's a smash hit.

There is a large certificate under a Plexiglas sheet which shows how often the water filters inside the machine are changed and when the machine was last visited by a tech person. This machine is being examined and updated about every 3 days.

The company lists a 7 or 8 step process of how the water comes out on our end so fresh, clean of heavy minerals, and, no aftertaste or smell like the water that enters it.

This machine is about the size of two regular sized Coke vending machines.

And it allows you to fill up one gallon jugs or five gallon plastic bottles.

Check this out: we fill up one five gallon bottle for $1.50. That's all. And this machine takes currency, so I slide in a big 5 gallon bottle, feed the machine two $1.00 bills, I get back $.50 cents.

To avoid any lines, I wait until our five 5 gallon bottles are empty.
Then, I head up to Albertson's before I go for my morning exercise, usually 4 to 5 am. There is never anyone using the machines at this time.

It takes about 20 minutes to fill these five bottles.

My cost is $7.50 total. There is no state tax added.

If I were to have walked into Albertson's and bought five bottles of the same water already filled, I would have spent $30.00 + about $2.25 on STATE TAX.

Doing the math now, I save $24.75 every time I do it myself from the machines versus buying them at the store.

Or, I save $32.50 filling up these five 5 gallon bottles from this machine versus buying them from the home delivery guy.

Since I do this about every two weeks now,

26 x $24.75 = $643.50 saved yearly if I fill the bottles up myself versus walking into Albertson's and buying them off the shelves.


26 x 32.50 = $845.00 saved yearly if I fill the bottles up myself versus waiting for the home delivery guy to truck them to my pad.

(Add the old $60.00 a year rental for a stand and you see I am actually saving $900 a year on DIY water runs)

So, if you are a fussbudget about your drinking and cooking water and you want to save some big bucks, search out area stores where you live for one of these water machines. Find one that is serviced every few days.

I don't know about you, but $900.00 a year savings will be used to help fund my ROTH IRA.

Keep the tips coming on this board. I've got some more water savings to share concerning nozzles I just fitted onto shower and sink heads.

It's amazing how much "FREE" money is laying about your house and you didn't notice it when you were as busy as a beaver at work and money was no question.

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