This New Year's, I'm pledging to significantly cut back on my soda consumption.
For years, I've been telling myself that my near-daily diet soda habit is fine. It's calorie-free, right? But I've recently come to the conclusion that cutting back on soda will definitely improve my bank balance, and might also improve my health.
Here are a few reasons why cutting back on soda can help you save money.
1. Save on grocery costs
A two-liter bottle of soda at the grocery store costs roughly $1 to $1.50, depending on the brand and your area of the country. At the Kroger grocery store in Atlanta, I pay $1.35 for Diet Coke ($1.25, plus 8 percent sales tax).
Let's assume I drink one liter a week. That adds up to $70.20 per year. If I invested that at 7 percent, compounded annually, I'd have $1,138.75 after a decade, according to Bankrate's simple savings calculator. That's a significant chunk of money for cutting out just one small thing.
2. Save on dental costs
Both diet and regular sodas appear to rot tooth enamel, according to a WebMD report based on a study from University of Maryland researcher Anthony von Fraunhofer. He exposed healthy, extracted teeth to a variety of beverages for 14 days and found that sodas -- especially light-colored types -- rotted away the enamel, while beverages such as brewed black tea, coffee and water had minimal consequences.
Rotting tooth enamel correlates to more frequent trips to the dentist, which will cause your health bills to rise. This is especially concerning for people who don't have dental insurance.
3. Save on health costs
Women who drank at least one can of soda per day for four years nearly doubled their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, as compared to a control group, according to research presented at an American Diabetes Association gathering, as reported by WebMD.
That study focused on regular sodas as opposed to diet sodas. But the website reported that a different study published in the International Journal of Obesity suggested artificial sweeteners may trigger people to overconsume other sweets.
For all of these reasons, I'm scaling back my soda consumption in the new year. While I'll still drink the occasional diet cola, it'll be an occasional restaurant treat rather than a grocery-store staple.
Paula Pant blogs at AffordAnything.com about creating wealth and living life on your own terms. She's traveled to nearly 30 countries, owns five rental properties and works for herself. Follow Paula on Twitter @AffordAnything.