Making soda at home and other impractical money-savers

Hopefully you find a lot of useful money-saving tips here at WalletPop. Sometimes, however, I read suggestions elsewhere on ways to save money that I feel are impractical.

Three that come to mind are making soda at home, making beer at home, and making your own bread.

The Sodastream soda maker injects CO2 into tap water. To this, the user adds flavoring bought from the company, refrigerates, and, ta-da, homemade cola! Sounds good, eh? Not so much. The maker is around $90, a six-pack of cola flavoring another $25+, and two 60-liter cans of CO2 another 50 bucks. The CO2 canisters must be refilled, meaning either taken to a store that offers this service or shipped off. I predict that most people will find themselves constantly short on one supply or the other, and the hassle of refilling the CO2 will be enough to discourage its use. And the per-liter cost, assuming the maker is used 1,000 times, is around $.85 a liter, not much less than what store brand soda costs. The flavor may not match the brand names you're used to, either.

Brewing beer at home is another measure that is often recommended. Having done this, I quickly realized that the time spent cleaning bottles, bottling and capping is considerable. The price isn't inconsequential, either. sells a starter kit that will make two cases for $94.95. Add to this cost the possibility (in my case, probability) that the brewing process will go awry, ending up with undrinkable brew, and home brewing is a lot less practical as a money-saving practice.

Breadmakers were a hot kitchen item a few years ago. Just add the ingredients, turn on, and hot, fresh bread would be ready to eat a few hours later. So why did most of them end up gathering more dust than flour? Again, too often I found myself short of an ingredient. Call me lazy, but I just didn't get around to using the machine very often. The results weren't all that great, either.

Look at your own storage room. You probably have a lot of good intentions stored there. A treadmill. A flowbee. Stationary. Garden seed. Size 4 dresses. Don't feel bad -- we all share your pain, because it's human nature. Money-saving tips that run contrary to human nature, as defined by our actions, aren't very good tips, are they?

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