Why Pay for Bottled Water?

It seems like a lot of things we really need in life cost money.  Okay – most things do.  Shelter – where you live – costs money.  As does transportation, clothing, insurance, and many other things that are needed in day-to-day life.  One of those “other” things includes food and water.  Can’t go too long without either, particularly water!

Speaking of water, this is one area where some people spend a good deal of money.  Now, of course water isn’t totally free for us, since we usually have to pay a water bill each month.  However, a glass of tap water is not that expensive at all.  Even if it cost you a couple of pennies, that’s next to nothing for a glass of water.

That’s right – something we absolutely need is that cheap!

Despite this, there are people that will spend money on buying bottled water outside.  That might make sense for some people living where tap water is of poor quality, but probably not for most people living in technologically advanced nations.  Certainly, here in the U.S., we can say that mid-size or larger cities should likely have good enough water that we can drink.  Januarybe we could filter it, but that’s not overly expensive.

All this being said, why buy bottled water?  I think it might have limited use, such as if you kept a bottle or two in the car for emergencies, or even at home for that purpose.  Buying in bulk, perhaps one could pay $0.10 to $0.15 per bottle.

But for day-to-day life? Why spend that kind of money on water? I’ve seen people buy bottled water daily at work (in a prior workplace), at quick-serve restaurants, out of vending machines, and many other places.  I’ve even seen people buy water at coffee shops – when they could just ask for a cup of water for free with their other purchases.

The savings one could earn by cutting out such purchases could be significant, depending on their habits.  It’s sort of like that commonly known (in personal finance circles, anyway!) concept of cutting out that expensive coffee drink each day, and watching the savings add up.  The difference with water is that you can get an alternative – tap water – that probably has very little difference to what you would pay for.

So, why buy water? One could always bring a refillable container, or simply use a water fountain, right?

Readers, what do you think of the concept of buying bottled water instead of just having tap water? How often do you buy bottled water?


21 thoughts on “Why Pay for Bottled Water?

  1. Jon @ MoneySmartGuides

    I use tap water 99% of the time. Only in certain instances will I buy bottled water. I agree that it is crazy to pay for bottled water when you can get it for free. The funny part though is the argument that bottled water is better for you since it’s been purified, but the water in the bottle is just regular water that was put through a filter. It’s the exact same thing that comes out of your faucet, and run through a filter. That’s it!

  2. Eric

    I do buy bottled water from time to time, but don’t make a habit of it. Sometimes it is worth it for the convenience of a cold water on a hot day.

    1. Post author

      Eric – yes, I know what you mean. There are those times, and actually if the alternative is soda or something like that, water is healthier even if bottled.

  3. Nick @ ayoungpro.com

    I must admit that I have fallen victim to bottled water. For me it is a laziness thing. I don’t much care how it tastes, but it is convenient. I’m working on trying to stop this habit because it is way too expensive!

    1. Post author

      Nick – those costs can add up! Think of 250 working days a year, and buying a $1 bottle of water every day. That’s $250 right there.

  4. Michael @ The Student Loan Sherpa

    I almost never buy bottled water, I am in agreement that it is a waste of money. The one thing that I will say is that the water at home and at work taste very different. One reason people January buy bottled water is to have consistent flavor regardless of where they go.

    1. Post author

      That’s an interesting point about consistent flavor, hadn’t thought about that aspect!

  5. Wayne @ VisualFin

    I would rather drink bottled water than top water, but my number one choice is filtered water. I hate throwing away so many plastic bottles. I recycle but you never know if the company is just trashing them or actually recycling.

  6. Eva

    We have a filter at home because the tap water where we live is really bad. Having a filter is still less expensive that buying bottled water. Of course, if you buy a case at the store it’s a lot less expensive than buying water from a vending machine individually.

    1. Post author

      Good points. I can see how bad-tasting local water could provide an incentive for someone to filter. I suppose since tap water is fine here, it hasn’t been something I’ve paid much attention to. Also, buying in bulk can save on many things and you’re right about bottled water being another example of that.

  7. Peter

    I used to buy Fiji water all the time because it was good tasting water. I don’t know about tap water, but I don’t find myself buying water anymore other than occasional fiji water.

    I usually ask for venti water at Starbucks along with my coffee and I have a water container that I refill at work and at home. I use filtered water at home too. But seriously, you can drink tap water and not get sick?

    1. Post author

      I don’t get sick drinking tap water. At least, around here anyway!

      I’ve had Fiji water too, and thought it was good – and know someone who used to be very into that water. Ultimately, I would rather just save money and go with good old fashioned tap water for very little cost!

  8. Pauline

    We buy a 5 gallon tank per week for $2 because we otherwise pump water from the lake to shower and

    do dishes and couldn’t safely drink it. But I don’t like to buy small bottles when we are out. I

    have been to a few restaurants in Europe who wouldn’t bring you a glass of tap water and have even

    been charged $4 in Denmark for a glass of ice water (not even a bottle!) that seemed outrageous

    since it was probably tap water with ice.

  9. Betsy / CollegeMom

    We do buy bottled water every once in a while. For the most part we refill our Camelbak water bottles, but we do some heavy duty work on our little farmlette and it only takes breaking a few of those to realize we could have bought 4 or more cases of water for the cost of those refillable bottles.

    We don’t use them often, but they serve a purpose when we’re out in the fields.

    1. Post author

      They can serve a purpose, no doubt. I bought one of those Camelbak bottles, just haven’t used it!

  10. KC @ genxfinance

    I buy bottled water when I’m outside and I don’t feel comfortable drinking just about anywhere, especially when I’m working out or jogging and I forgot to bring my own water.

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