Clark Howard: Machine helps cut costs for soda

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Listen to Clark's live radio show 8-10 p.m. weekdays on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Listen to Clark's live radio show 8-10 p.m. weekdays on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

There are big changes going on if you drink soda that could represent a real money-saving opportunity for you.

Technological breakthroughs are making it easier and cheaper for you to drink soft drinks that you make at home. The first mover in this market has been Soda Stream and the company is booming. The New York Post reports it sells 10,000 machines a day.

Having a Soda Stream is like having your own soft drink bottling plant at home for a street price of $80 to $120. Instead of lugging soda home from the store, you put water into your home unit and add the syrup to make the flavor you want. The carbonation comes courtesy of these canisters made of lightweight aluminum.

I’ve tasted a variety of the Soda Stream flavors. Some are not ready for prime time. But others are really good. So it is all about personal taste.

Meanwhile, have you ever seen Coke’s FreeStyle machines? They are the greatest. It’s this red box that is basically a computer. It takes highly concentrated syrup units and you can blend any flavors you want to make your own soft drink.

My current FreeStyle favorite is Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper.

Soda Stream uses a similar idea with the tiny highly concentrated syrup things, carbonation, water and bam! You make the drink at home. Your kids will think it’s fun too.

Meanwhile, coffee prices are dropping at wholesale, down by 52 percent. That’s a big change from last year when we had a coffee shortage. Now, we have an oversupply of Arabica beans. So if you make your own coffee at home, it will be a whole lot cheaper.

Find more answers to your consumer questions at Clark’s website. And get more savings tips from Clark’s previous blog posts.

– Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

4 comments Add your comment

John Stephens

December 20th, 2012
4:55 am

I own a Soda Stream that I purchased via HSN. It’s the best thing since sliced bread. I love it,,,,,, The wife loves it……and most importantly…. The kids love it….. My only suggestion is to use filtered water to make your drinks…. it tastes much better…….

Atlanta Mom

December 20th, 2012
7:49 am

As long as wholesale coffee prices are dropping, I wonder if we’ll see a decrease in prices at coffee shops. In my dreams, I imagine.

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December 20th, 2012
11:09 am

In the next installment Clark will tell us how to buy a Soda Stream on credit and then game the system so we don’t have to pay the bill!