Monday, December 12, 2011

Money Monday: The Sodastream

For those of you who don't know me personally, I've always had a passion for educating people about money.  My degree and business experience is in accounting.  When I would see all the errors on troop leader's deposit slips or spend twenty minutes on the phone explaining to a camp counelor why her paycheck didn't match the salary in her hire letter (taxes coming out), I always felt like our schools were really dropping the ball when it came to personal finance.  So I'm going to try and start a new series covering various money topics from earning to saving to keeping track of it all.

Today's idea came from a very real conversation I had with the Toolman last week.  Our weekly paper had a $10 rebate  for the Sodastream, a device that allows you to make carbonated beverages in your own home.   The Toolman is a devout cola drinker and I am a kitchen gadget junkie so this seemed like a good fit.  We are however,  both recent graduates of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University so we needed to look at this from a financial side.  

Kohl's has the Sodastream on sale for $89.99 and as luck would have it, they had just sent us a 30% off coupon.  Combined with the rebate the price of the Sodastream was down to  $52.99 (I'm not considering sales tax in any of my equations to keep things simpler).  The kit includes the machine, one carbonation canister, and one plastic liter bottle to hold to finished product.   The flavor syrups are on sale for $4.99, if I use my same 30 % coupon the cost comes down to $3.49.  Each bottle claims to make fifty 8 oz servings.  Now lets get to some math.  For any parents teaching math to their kids, this example with help them see the importance of including the units in their math equations: $/oz, oz/liter, etc.

50 X 8 oz =  400 oz

$3.49 / 400 oz =  $0.00873/oz

 That's not the end of the cost for Sodastream soda though--the carbonation canister is a consumable product.  Kohl's doesn't sell the canisters separately so I needed to do some online research.  According to, the canister to fit the Kohl's model holds enough gas for 60 liters ( 1 liter = 33.814 ounces).   There are no retailers in my area participating in the canister exchange program so I would need to get my canisters directly from the company.   Just to get the price of the gas, I'm not going to worry about shipping costs right now.  Two exchanged canisters cost $29.99 (of course I only have one to exchange from the starter kit)  $29.99 .   120 liters X  33.814 ounces/liter = 4057.68 oz.

$29.99/4057.68 oz =  $.00739/oz

$.00739/oz + $0.00873/oz = $.01612/oz

A can of soda is 12 oz so the equivalent amount of Sodastream soda is 12 oz X $0.01612/oz = $.19339 or 19.4 cents per can

For comparison, we can buy a 24 case of Coca Cola for $6.98 or  (6.98/24=) 29.08 cents per can.  Yes,  the Sodastream is cheaper but you would need to drink 544 cans before you broke even after purchasing the machine in the first place.  If I weren't able to get the syrup on sale that would raise the cost of a can's worth of soda to 26.8 cents--practically the same as the can of Coke.

Bottom line for us, there are a lot easier ways to save money so the Sodastream won't be under our Christmas tree this year.

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