Introduction: Drink Prices Per Gallon

This instructable outlines the cost of many common drinks as priced per gallon to help you decide the best way to spend your money at the store. Often when comparing drinks at the store, the little comparison tags will give comparisons in ounces, liters, quarts, pints, or weights for powdered mixes; all different from each product to the next, making comparisons tedious. I went to the store and recorded the current cost of many drinks and they are all displayed here from cheapest to most expensive. Please don't take the prices completely literally, but simply see how some drinks roughly compare to others. This is made to help look at your options. If you have any information on cost of products, or new drink ideas, please comment it and I will add it to the instructable.

All prices will be rough estimates based on the largest quantity of "cheap" products i could find (mixed at manufacturer recommendations if need be)

Step 1: Tap Water: $0.003 / Gal

Tap water costs between 0.1 and 0.6 cents per gallon and is the cheapest thing you can drink aside from rain water, water from a moving stream or distilled urine.

When thinking cheap, bottled water is ridiculous. Some people may buy bottled water to use the bottles; I tried to re-use the pop-top arrow head bottles but found they all failed quite fast under normal use. A good, cheap water bottle with a one handed operation is your best bet.

You should drink a good amount of water each day, whether it's in other drinks or foods. Don't worry about numbers, rather learn the signs of dehydration and obey your thirst. Keeping water around you constantly helps hydrate your body because there's less chance of going thirsty because you're too lazy to go get a drink.

Water is great and all but few people want to live on water and food alone, so here are some common drinks available at the supermarket:

Step 2: Cheap Coffee: $0.58 / Gal

Step 3: "Light" Lemonade From Generic Powder: $1.00 / Gal

Step 4: Plain Tea: $1.15 / Gal

Step 5: Lemonade From Powder Concentrate: $1.20 / Gal

Step 6: Lemonade From Generic Lemon Juice Concentrate: $1.60 / Gal

Price includes $0.25 for sugar. Noticeably better tasting then powdered lemonade. Add some blended cherries, strawberries or raspberries and you get my favorite drink.

Step 7: Nesquik With Water: $1.60 / Gal

Step 8: "Crystal Light" Drink: $1.60 / Gal

Step 9: "Arizona" Drinks From Powder: $1.70 / Gal

Step 10: Lemonade From Generic Concentrate $2.20 / Gal

Step 11: Kool-Aid: $2.20 / Gal

Step 12: Any 2L for $1.25 Drink: $2.37 / Gal

Step 13: Gatorade From Powder: $2.50 / Gal

Step 14: Flavored Tea: $2.50 / Gal

Step 15: Any 2L for $1.50 Drink: $2.84 / Gal

Step 16: Milk $3.00 / Gal

The average cost of milk is around $3.75 but i'll assume you can get it for $3 by buying the cheapest of the selection. In Washington it's easy to find milk below $2. Milk is a very healthy and filling drink considering it's low cost.

An easy way to compare drinks at the store is to keep in mind if they are cheaper or more expensive than milk.

Step 17: Lemonade From ReaLemon Concentrate: $3.40 / Gal

Price includes $0.25 for sugar.

Step 18: Hot Chocolate With Water: $3.60 / Gal

Step 19: Any 2L for $2 Drink: $3.79 / Gal

Step 20: "Arizona" Brand Juice: $3.80 / Gal

Step 21: Gatorade 8-pack: $4.00 / Gal

Step 22: Apple Cider (good Price): $4.00 / Gal

Step 23: Punch From Generic Concentrate: $4.25 / Gal

Step 24: Nesquik With Milk: $4.60 / Gal

assuming $3 for milk

Step 25: Generic Apple Juice: $4.75 / Gal

Step 26: Orange Juice (good Price): $5.00 /gal

Step 27: Orange Juice From Generic Concentrate $5.20 / Gal

Step 28: Most "pouch" Drinks: $5.30 / Gal

Step 29: "Pure" Cran/Grape/Rasp Drinks: $6.30 / Gal

Step 30: "Hawaii's Own" Juice From Concentrate: $5.30 / Gal

Step 31: Hot Chocolate With Milk: $6.60 / Gal

assuming $3 for milk

Step 32: Odwalla: $10.00 / Gal

Step 33: Homebrew Beer From Kit: $10.50 / Gal

I did the math on some homebrew beer based on a $30 kit.... Re-usable hardware aside, the theoretical minimum is roughly $8/gallon ($0.75 per 12 oz serving) - realistically (estimating propane, soap/sanitizer and etc.) it's more like $10 or $11 per gallon ($0.94-$1.03 per 12 oz serving)
-trebuchet 03

Step 34: V-Fusion: $13.90 / Gal

Step 35: "Naked" Juice: $16.00 / Gal

Step 36: Quick Conversions

When you are at the store following the comparison prices keep in mind these conversions:

1 gallon = 4 quarts = 8 pints = 16 cups = 128 ounces

1 gallon = 1.89 2-liters = 1.26 3-liters

Step 37: Overview

Price per Gallon:

$0.003 - Tap Water
$0.58 - Coffee
$1.00 - "Light" Lemonade from generic powder
$1.15 - Plain Tea
$1.20 - Lemonade from powder concentrate
$1.50 - Lemonade from Generic lemon juice concentrate
$1.60 - Nesquik
$1.60 - "Crystal Light" drink
$1.70 - "Arizona" drinks from powder
$2.20 - Lemonade from generic concentrate
$2.20 - Kool-Aid
$2.37 - any 2L for $1.25 drink
$2.50 - Gatorade from powder
$2.50 - Flavored Tea
$2.84 - any 2L for $1.50 drink
$3.00 - Milk
$3.30 - Lemonade from ReaLemon Concentrate
$3.60 - Hot Chocolate with water
$3.79 - any 2L for $2 drink
$3.80 - "Arizona" brand juice
$4.00 - Gatorade 8-pack
$4.00 - Apple Cider (good price)
$4.25 - Punch from generic concentrate
$4.60 - Nesquik with milk
$4.75 - Generic Apple Juice
$5.00 - Orange Juice (good price)
$5.20 - Orange juice from generic concentrate
$5.30 - most "pouch" drinks
$6.30 - "Pure" Cran/Grape/Rasp drinks
$6.60 - Hot Chocolate with milk
$5.30 - "Hawaii's Own" juice from concentrate
$10.00 - Odwalla
$10.50 - Homebrew Beer from Kit
$13.90 - V-Fusion (bad price)
$16.00 - "Naked" juice

That's basically it. Use this information next time you go shopping to help look at your options. The ability to vaguely compare all drink options at once is VERY helpful.

Be sure to comment any requests or changes. If you have any prices per gallon of your favorite juice mixture or smoothie recipe, I would love to add that, just give me a picture and a price. If you have a lot to add, ask if you want to collaborate.

Comments

author
fujikochan made it!(author)2016-07-03

Kool-Aid isn't $2.20 a gallon. You can buy 4lbs of sugar for $2.00. A packet of Kool-Aid mix is a quarter. Combine two packets of Kool-Aid with two cups of sugar--just under a pound--and you have a gallon of Kool-Aid for $1. And, if you want to go sugar free, generic Splenda is $4.50 for a bag with the volume equivalent to 5lbs of sugar. You'd need $0.80 worth to make a batch of Kool-Aid. You're still at $1.30 for a gallon. And, no, I'm not a Kool-Aid rep... I just like my colored sugar-free water a lot.

author
mguer133 made it!(author)2012-02-08

This list really make my head spin : do you drink all those chemically based products?! Try buying at the market, local products and you will save a lot of money! (plus you need less transformation, transportation etc.

author
syntek67 made it!(author)2009-06-08

Just as a cultural note, in Quebec Province of Canada, groceries and some other strores are required by law to put the "price per unit" of every products they sell, so liquids would be per milliliter, dry goods per kilo, toilette paper per sheet, etc. So any product can have their own price and weight/content/count/etc and you still have a uniform price per unit for product comparison.

author
John+Smith made it!(author)2009-06-08

That's a good idea, America need to do that...

author
NobodyInParticular made it!(author)2009-06-08

We already do that. Notice the yellow boxes in the pictures above. Most stores seem to hide the unit price by putting it in very small print. As long as the container price is under $10, I focus only on the unit price and totally ignore the container price. Unfortunately, prices on similar products can be given in in different units, like ounces or pounds -- a conversion that is not as easy to do in your head as between grams and kilograms. Use your cell phone's calculator, eh?

author
syntek67 made it!(author)2009-06-08

The law (in Quebec) requires use of the metric system so there is only milliliters and grams (which are subdivisions of liter and kilos but fit more what you find in a grocery store) :) -- Note that the burden of conversion is not on the manufacturer, but on the store, so even if a product is only noted in onces, the stores convers it to grams (or milliliters if liquid). The law also requires that said information be of reasonable size to be read :D

author
NobodyInParticular made it!(author)2009-06-09

I would expect no less of a good law. I am not entirely familiar with metric (outside of science studies), but unit prices would be a painless (for the consumer) and wonderful place to use it. But if a similarly detailed law were passed in the US, manufacturers would finding loopholes left and right. (Like, perhaps, changing the packing liquid of canned goods to make the product soak up more of it and the net weight increase.)

author
baggot made it!(author)2009-06-09

Also Every piece of meat that is sold to restaurants and delis have a salt water solution injected into the meat to add weight and flavor. So you are already paying extra for food that has been padded. BTW: why do you care if canned goods are made to soak up more fluid? Its a business not a charity. Buy from the produce section theres no canning fluid at all... "but its more expensive"... exactly.

author
NobodyInParticular made it!(author)2009-06-09

True, but I seldom eat meat or eat at restaurants unless someone else is paying. There comes a point when doing these calculations is neither profitable nor entertaining. But I have yet to reach it. : ) Canned goods are relevant because many low-income people (who frequently have weighter problems on their mind than the most efficient long-term use of grocery money) rely on canned goods for their vitamins. When tricked into wasting a small percentage of their money, people buying yachts are more likely to notice, but people buying canned beans are more likely to suffer financial harm. I mention the water content because it would be nice if one could compare products based on something as simple as dollars per liter, rather than dollars per kilogram of protein or the like.

author
syntek67 made it!(author)2012-01-26

as a matter of fact, here (in Quebec, again), for cooked meat products (like ham, bacon and what not), the protein content must be listed on the package (in %) so you have ham ranging from 9% to over 20% protein... Consumers can thus more informed decisions...

author
thematthatter made it!(author)2009-06-09

They inject "broth" solutions into the meat so that it its more moist when you cook it. Its more of a quality issue not because they are trying to get more money, especially with something like pork when people tend to over cook because of the fear of Trichinosis. Also you cant really compare a few milliliters of extra water in canned food to perishable produce. Especially when you consider that shelf stable canned food is a commercially sterile item. As long as you don't abuse the can's integrity it can last a loooong time, so it will always be cheaper than fresh produce. Unless you grow the produce yourself.

author
Jake_C made it!(author)2009-06-08

i wouldn't doubt that the shops converted the units just to confuse the consumer.... wouldn't be the first time someone has done unneeded work just to try and make some money...

author
Jake_C made it!(author)2009-06-08

and i'm talking about america, btw

author
baggot made it!(author)2009-06-09

I went to a target in Chicago and every single price tag in the grocery side had these kind of labels. The deodorant I bought had a by the pound price! That seemed excessive but that stuff is cool to look at in the food aisle.

author
Jake_C made it!(author)2009-06-10

ya lol, just curious, how many pounds was it?

author
baggot made it!(author)2009-06-10

It was $10.63 a pound but i don't remember the unit price it was Axe... I literally lol-ed when i saw it.

author
John+Smith made it!(author)2009-06-12

Wow, I never noticed that.

author
hgilman made it!(author)2011-05-23

no beer is way cheaper if you buy a 17 dollar malt syrup can and then you just need water and yeast. and thats for a 5 gallon carboy. if you have the bottles it is really cheap. like 4.40 a gallon.

author
democleis made it!(author)2010-08-01

I wonder how this would compare to buying oranges and squeezing at home but then there's the different varieties or orange and squeezing techniques.... awe forget it!

author
lemonie made it!(author)2009-06-08

We could do with a format that accepts things like this formally. It's not an Instructable, it's far too big for a Forum topic, doesn't fit a slideshow or video, yet it's of interest to a lot of people. No alcohol? And a contrast with gasoline would be good. L

author
Jake_C made it!(author)2009-06-08

well that would be kinda hard to maintain, as the price varies, but if we could get it in real time that would be pretty cool.

author
lemonie made it!(author)2009-06-08

Prices vary on all of these things, but gasoline is cheaper than a lot of these eh? L

author
Tobita made it!(author)2009-08-27

In saudi it is, 15 canadian cents to a liter of premium 95 premium!

author
lemonie made it!(author)2009-08-27

Yes often a lot cheaper. How much is orange juice? L

author
Tobita made it!(author)2009-08-27

Uhh, it's pretty hard to find good prepackaged orange JUICE, so fresh is around 5-15 SR per liter while a box of orange DRINK (Sugar, water, natural flavours (natural means found in this solar system,) and artificial flavours (aliens aren't ALL bad)) isa bout 1 SR per 350 ML so that brings the fresh OJ to a price range of 1.5-5 CDN while the drink equals to 33 cents a pop.

author
lemonie made it!(author)2009-08-28

So even orange-drink is 6x the price of gas'? L

author
Tobita made it!(author)2009-08-28

Yes, HOWEVER, the living expenses are very low, power, land and building materials are very cheap, and all of these are provided by most companies to external workers, no tax to talk about, and the in general people are paid very well. There's also the fact that buying oranges costs muuuuuch less ;)

author
Jake_C made it!(author)2009-06-10

o ya, what i meant to say was it seems like gas' price is more volatile, but i don't do my research on that type of stuff... sry if i'm still wrong

author
lemonie made it!(author)2009-06-10

Yes it is more volatile, but as a commodity coffee moves with the markets too. L

author
Jake_C made it!(author)2009-06-23

Ya, i kinda mean it would probably be a bit more accurate without having to change it every week or something, unless if there's a gigantic coffee bean shortage... which would be bad....

author
lemonie made it!(author)2009-06-23

Gigantic coffee shortage would shift the price. But all of these are subject to change. It's out of date not long after you post it, but useful as a record of what prices used to be. L

author
chuckr44 made it!(author)2009-06-09

Some of your calculations seem a bit off. You say lemonade from RealLemon brand costs $3.40 per gallon. A container of RealLemon costs $3.15, but I use only about 1/4 container for a gallon of lemonade. $3.15/4 = $.79 per gallon. Why do you get $3.40 per gallon?

Could you help me out?

author
theRIAA made it!(author)2009-06-09

pretty sure the back of the ReaLemon said 1 cup or realemon per 6 cups water + 1 cup sugar. and theres 2 cups there, so 1 gallon... i had a high res pic of the instructions, but i deleted it. |:,

author
DarkStarPDX made it!(author)2009-06-08

Wow, the average of Milk is $3.75?! At the local Albertsons here in Oregon, my milk just recently went up to $1.75 per gallon from $1.50...

author
theRIAA made it!(author)2009-06-08

well i know in Hawaii it's about $5.00

author
karossii made it!(author)2009-06-09

As I said in my other comment, as well intentioned as it is, this is useless outside your local area. More than half your 'average' prices are so far off from my local market... not just in cost but in relation to other items.

author
theRIAA made it!(author)2009-06-09

well it made you think didn't it? Did this instructable make you worse off at comparing drink prices???

author
karossii made it!(author)2009-06-09

No, it made me no worse... but it made me no better.

And you really didn't instruct, you just provide a comparison you yourself gathered. If the first few steps were an actual instructable on how to go about gathering and comparing data, then you presented your findings as an illustration towards the end, then this would belong here.

As it is... well, obviously a lot of people have thought the information worthwhile (though I wonder if any of them have bothered to check your data against their local prices), but this is not an instructable and doesn't belong here.

author
theRIAA made it!(author)2009-06-09

good point. I might add a step telling how to calculate gallon prices before everything.

author
jongscx made it!(author)2009-06-09

I know it's not a drink... but inkjet printer ink is approximately $3000.00 / gallon

author
trebuchet03 made it!(author)2009-06-09

I find it hilarious that apple juice and apple cider have such a price difference... Considering that legally (in the US at least), there is no difference between the two :p Some make the point that cider is unfiltered apple juice - the the pictured cider is quite clear :p I did the math on some homebrew beer based on a $30 kit.... Re-usable hardware aside, the theoretical minimum is roughly $8/gallon ($0.75 per 12 oz serving) - realistically (estimating propane, soap/sanitizer and etc.) it's more like $10 or $11 per gallon ($0.94-$1.03 per 12 oz serving) Interesting use of instructables :D

author
theRIAA made it!(author)2009-06-09

added

author
MrMakeveli made it!(author)2009-06-08

Really useful comparison to put the different drinks in perspective. Thanks for the time putting this together.

author
Father+Christmas made it!(author)2009-06-08

I thought this was just common sense. But then again, there is nothing common about common sense. Everytime I go walking, I stop at the store and buy a gallon water for 60cents vs 16oz for 1.50$

author
gregr made it!(author)2009-06-08

I really love this Instructable. I would love to see more data for other common drinks; it would be neat to see where coca-cola and mountain dew fit in. It would also be neat to have different categories. Price per gallon of real fruit juices, or price per gallon of beer. We need some pretty graphs also.

author
theRIAA made it!(author)2009-06-08

i considered the costs of cola and mountain dew variable so I used the "2L" substitutes. I might look at the cans next time. categories and graphs... you just want to give me more work.

author
gregr made it!(author)2009-06-08

If you post them I'll make some fancy graphs.

author
karossii made it!(author)2009-06-08

A well intentioned guide I am sure, but the costs are way off for my local markets...not just the specific amounts of the items, but the ratios as to which is more expensive. And that all fluctuates weekly (if not daily).

And what exactly are you trying to instruct others how to do in this instructable?

Sorry, but while you had good intentions, I think this fails as an instructable in several ways.

author
ChrysN made it!(author)2009-06-08

What a great guide, thanks for doing this. I'll keep this in mind the next time I go grocery shopping!

author
westfw made it!(author)2009-06-07

So do your "lemonaid from lemon concentrate" prices include the sugar? Missing: Apple juice from frozen concentrates. Mango Nectar. "Adult beverages." "Flavorings" (chocolate syrup, etc) for milk. "gourmet" coffees. Fountain drinks from popular "standardized" sources (7/11, McDs, etc.)

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