The Great Homemade Seltzer Discovery of 2015

Our hacked Sodastream system

Our hacked Sodastream system

Sometimes frugality is about giving stuff up. Other times, it’s about being clever.

Mr. Frugalwoods and I are known seltzer addicts. Indeed, we can scarcely make it through a day without our bubbly water fix. And we have zero intention of ever giving it up. Pure, unadulterated seltzer (just water and gas, no sugars or flavors) is a luxury we’ve decided to incorporate into our extremely frugal lives.

Would it be cheaper for us to just drink tap water? Quite obviously yes. But we choose to treat ourselves with this fizzy little drink. Why? Because seltzer is a key component of our luxuriously frugal lifestyle. Oh yes, you read that right, we consider our lives to be frugally luxurious.

The Great Frugalwoods Sodastream Hack of 2014

As long-time readers will recall, Mr. FW devised a system to hack our Sodastream machine last August to replace the pricey little Sodastream brand C02 canisters with a gigantico 20lb C02 tank. No, this isn’t a standard thing and yes, it’s a system he cobbled together himself. But guess what? It totally works. Thanks to his DIY hacking prowess, we saved $433.44 in the last year alone on our seltzer costs. And our franken-seltz of a machine is still going strong.

P.S. If you’re hankering for a step-by-step description (with photos!) of how Mr. FW hacked our Sodastream, check out our post: How To: Cheap Homemade Seltzer with a Modified Sodastream.

…And The Great Sodastream Discovery of 2015

Oh somehow we missed this for an entire year...

Somehow we missed this for an entire year…

Our most recent 20lb C02 tank ran dry last week and we contacted the homebrew store where we’ve been swapping out our tanks. They didn’t have any 20-pounders in stock, so we sat tight for an agonizing week and a half sans seltzer. The shop finally got one in stock the other night and we gamely set off to execute our swap.

As we were walking out the door, tank in hand, my crafty frugal weirdo husband stopped short and uttered his trademark “huh.” Anytime I hear this “huh,” I know there’s an idea brewing–usually a frugal/bizarre one.

My ears perked up and I requested he elaborate. He pointed out that the tank has a sticker on its side, along with a phone number for a welding supply shop. We’d never noticed this before, but quickly deduced that our little hipster homebrew shop sources their C02 tanks from one Igo’s Welding Supply.

Ever the frugal schemers, we scuttled back into the house and called Igo’s to see if they’d do a tank swap for lowly individuals who aren’t businesses. Sure enough, they’ll swap out anyone’s tank and… wait for it… they charge half of what the homebrew store does! Let me tell you what, there was some frugal rejoicing going on after this miraculous discovery.

Mr. FW seltzerizes our inaugural bottle

Mr. FW seltzerizes our inaugural bottle

Here we thought we’d frugalized our seltzer consumption to the bare bones when in reality, we were paying the middleman a handsome and hefty mark-up–for the exact same product. We felt kinda dumb for not realizing this initially, but hey, it’s all part of the evolving frugal life we lead. If we got everything right the first time, life would be pretty boring and, I’d have nothing to write about here on Frugalwoods ;).

Plus, incidents like this one keep us on our frugal toes. It’s easy to get comfortable in our rote, repeated spending habits and I’m a big fan of frequent re-evaluation of our presumed savings. Never hurts to continually challenge everything we’re buying (hat tip to Budgets Are Sexy’s “Challenge Everything” endeavor). Frugal complacency is no one’s friend!

Our Sweet Seltzer Stats

Our 20lb CO2 tank vs. the standard Sodastream canister

Our 20lb CO2 tank vs. the standard Sodastream canister

Since I know you’re all dying to see the price breakdown, feast your eyes on these sweet seltzer stats:

Raw CO2 costs:

  • Traditional Sodastream canister: $1.07/oz ($15 for a 14oz canister)
  • 20lb tank from homebrew store: $0.22/oz ($69 for 320oz, or 20lbs)
  • 20lb tank from welding supply store: $0.11/oz ($35 for 320oz, or 20lbs)

Whoa, baby! Can you say retail markup? Here we thought we were killing it with our homebrew-sourced C02 but now, with our welding store-sourced C02 (which, by the way, is the exact same product), we’re seriously rocking out!

Based on our consumption rate of 42oz of CO2 a month (3 traditional Sodastream canisters worth), our monthly CO2 cost is now dramatically lower:

  • Old system with traditional Sodastream canister: $44.94/month
  • 2014 frugal newbie system with homebrew store-sourced tank: $9.24/month
  • 2015 frugal boss system with welding store-sourced tank: $4.62/month

With our original tank hack, we were saving $35.70 a month. But with our new tank hack, we’re saving a whopping $40.32 per month… also known as $483.84 per year!!! 

Even Frugal Hound knows that's a lot of savings!

Humans, dat is a lot of savingz!

Why Do We Do This Stuff?

That’s no chump change right there. And when we couple that dollar amount with the savings we realize across the board by insourcing (things like haircuts, cooking, home improvement, and dog grooming), eliminating (for example eating out), buying used or not at all (as we do with clothes, furniture, and baby things), creating efficiencies (eating $0.10 oats for breakfast), or finding cheaper alternatives (as we recently did with our coffee), it all adds up to a staggering amount of money.

Frugalwoods-mobile parked at Igo's Welding Supply, C02 tank in tow

Frugalwoods-mobile parked at Igo’s Welding Supply, C02 tank in tow

These seemingly inconsequential tweaks in every aspect of our lives are what facilitate our 71%+ annual savings rate. I know it’s popular to only focus on saving money in the largest budget categories–typically housing, transportation, and food–but I firmly believe joyful extreme frugality is all about relishing the process of unearthing savings in all areas of one’s spending.

Plus, Mr. FW and I had an awesome time driving out to Igo’s Welding for this little C02 tank adventure. We consider our frugal hacking mode of life to be a form of entertainment as well as a fun challenge. It’s far too boring and conventional to just walk into a store and pay for a typical Sodastream canister–it’s vastly more colorful (not to mention hilarious) to sniff out a random welding supply store with your own personal 20lb C02 tank in tow.

Have you made any frugal discoveries lately? Are you a fellow seltzer fanatic?

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106 Responses

  1. I love finding new ways to save, especially when it involved creativity and a challenge. Congrats on your new hack! Retail really is a boring way to procure what you need. Our friends all joke that my husband’s favorite things are free and broken. It’s almost better if you have to fix it up or figure something out. As you said, that’s entertainment in itself.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Free and broken is our favorite too :). It’s so true that it ends up being entertainment all on its own. I agree–a much more creative and interesting way to go through life!

  2. I’m also a seltzer addict – especially now that I’m pregnant!

  3. D says:

    Not to rain on your parade, but I think (you would need to check…) that Airgas sells to Joe Consumer too. This would probably require more of a hack job to hook up (and probably an actual tank support for safety) but…

  4. Tarynkay says:

    Wow, definitely worth reading the sticker, huh?

    We call it sparkly water and prefer the fancy flavored (but unsweetened variety.) We haven’t hacked it yet. The main hesitation is not knowing where we would put that fascinating canister- I am positive that our 3 1/2 year old would not rest until he found a way to infiltrate it.

    • Leah says:

      Build a case around the canister? I can imagine some sort of fence/shield option that you’d only have to open to change out the tank.

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        Yeah, our tank is secured behind our heavy trash can and recycling bin, but, I think you could definitely build some sort of home around it. Or, chain it to the wall perhaps? We considered drilling a hole in our counter and nesting it inside the lower cabinet–that might be another option, depending on your kitchen layout. You’re very right that you don’t want your kiddo (or anyone else!) to knock one of these bad boys over. The results would not be good ;).

        • Jon says:

          You definitely want to secure it with a chain. If you knock the valve off somehow, the tank will will become a rocket driven by the gas coming out where the valve was. Or at least that is the safety practice for 5-6 feet tall industrial tanks, I guess it depends on the pressure of your tank.

          • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

            Yeah, it’s pretty well wedged into a corner between the cabinet, trash can and recycling bin… but it could certainly be more secure. I too have been told terrifying stories about a stem being knocked off. Truth be told though, I’m much more paranoid about moving it from the car to the house than when it’s sitting stationary in the corner. It’s that fear of tripping and dropping it, that makes me extra careful!

  5. That’s awesome. I love reading about your frugal hacks. I will admit you invoked my curiosity about this amazing seltzer. I have always imagined that maybe it’s a cross between sprite and tonic water. Well we had a couple of bottles of leftover tonic water at home so I was excited to try it. I took a big swig expecting to taste its deliciousness and um, don’t ever do that. EVER! I no longer believe tonic is in the seltzer family! In an effort to use all things, I looked up uses for tonic water. A couple of dead plants later, all tonic water has been removed from our house! Mr. Crackin’ was not amused by my efforts.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hahah, your poor plants :)! Yeah, seltzer is neither tonic water nor Sprite. The way we drink it, it’s just plain tap water with carbonation. And while we love it, it’s not for everyone :).

  6. Sarah says:

    I recently discovered seltzer water a few months ago with our neighbors, and ever since I have been HOOKED! I drink the flavored stuff though, haha (though I did replace it with diet coke, which I consider a win!). One day I hope to switch to straight up seltzer, but I’m not quite there yet 🙂

    Great job on the hack!!!

    • Leah says:

      You could do seltzer with a little lemon or lime juice — still some flavor but much less and maybe cheaper.

      • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

        Adding fresh lemon or lime is great idea–we do that sometimes when we’re feeling fancy. But, seltzer was how we kicked our soda-drinking habit too. Much healthier for sure!

  7. Nice! Cheap C02 and you know a good welding supply shop! Isn’t welding part of Mr. FW post-FIRE plans?

    Major frugal discovery for me yesterday! My internet bill went up $1. After investigation, I learned that the company raised the price on my LEASED modem. The new charge was $9/month. I had totally forgotten that I was leasing a stupid modem and had been for the last 4 years. Thankfully, I found our exact same modem on Amazon for $55 and paid for it with an gift card. It’ll take 6 months to recoup the costs, and about that long to get over the fact that I leased a modem for 4 years. It’s a constant optimization.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Nicely done on the modem discovery! I love sniffing out things like that! And yes, Mr. FW does in fact weld, so it’s an added bonus that we found this supply shop so close to our house :).

  8. That is awesome that you were able to find the same exact product so much more cheaply! I’m embarking on a project now to make sure I’m getting the best prices on the items I buy regularly – conducting a price comparison and recording my findings in a spreadsheet. Hoping I find some good ways to save!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Woohoo–sounds like a great project! I find it almost always pays to analyze our assumed savings from time to time. Good luck to you in this very frugal endeavor 🙂

  9. Amanda says:

    I never considered welding supply stores for sourcing CO2! I’ve forwarded this and a local place on to my boyfriend to investigate for our homebrew setup 🙂

  10. Kristen says:

    Wow! That is a score! I admit to liking tap water (which we do filter from our well) the best. Fizzy water is not my thing.

    Our savings was not so huge but we tried an ice cream more than half the price of our regular brand and thought it was fine. (Ice cream in the 2 months of summer we get is not something we will give up!)

    • Bonnie says:

      Kristen, I thought I was the only person in America who doesn’t like the carbonation! So glad to know there are two of us.

      • Brittany says:

        There must be three of us! I ready this whole post trying to figure out the lure of seltzer water. I don’t always drink soda, but when I do I prefer it a little flat. 🙂

        • Kristen says:

          I am Canadian so does it still count lol!

          • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

            Haha, you ladies are cracking me up. I’m addicted to the carbonation. What can I say, I’m a bubbles gal. But, I know it’s not for everyone ;).

  11. Hannah says:

    I’ve tried to convince my husband that a seltzer hack is a need. He seems to think that installing a sub floor in our bathroom is a greater need. I just don’t understand where his priorities lie 🙂

    Way to frugal down!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Sheesh, priorities indeed ;)! The seltzer hack, fortunately, didn’t take too much time to execute, so hopefully you can convince him before too long. Birthday/anniversary/holiday gift perhaps :)?

  12. Norm says:

    Ha ha, I’ve thought switching to the big CO2 tanks in the past, but we don’t drink nearly enough seltzer to make it worth the trouble. When I looked into it, I didn’t even look at homebrew shops, since, being a hobby store, I assume they’re marking up stuff you can get elsewhere. So I only looked at wholesale gas distributors, and there’s one or two around here, to price out options. Industrial CO2 is the same as consumer CO2. I’m sure the homebrew people might tell you different, but the same stuff in their tanks is the same stuff in the industrial tanks and the same stuff in the Sodastream tanks.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      It totally is the same gas! We were so excited to discover this cheaper source. When we initially set-up the hack, we looked for wholesale gas distributers and couldn’t find one in our area. Somehow we weren’t smart enough to think of welding supply stores even though one of us welds ;)…

  13. Cheryl says:

    swapping out the CO2 tank at the welding supply store is better than a beverage center, but my guy who makes his own beer, goes right to the source. There is a shop in town where they do the hydrostatic testing of the tanks. They can test the tank when needed and they fill the CO2 there directly. It happens to be the source the local fire department uses to test their tanks as well as where a number of restaurants and beverage centers get their CO2 tanks filled. It is a small business, they are very friendly and the turnaround is usually a day or two AND it is cheaper 🙂 my guy bought a #20 shiny aluminum tank used and didn’t want an ugly, rusty steel one sitting next to the fridge is what motivated him to look into it. He is a certified scuba diver and knew tanks had to be hydro tested every five years in order for them to be filled.
    Thought you would like that tip. Look for the place near you where they test tanks.

  14. Cheryl says:

    Btw, CO2 tanks also come in smaller sizes if a #20 is too big for your location. They sell #10 and #5 tanks as well. The #5 models are what they use in the paint gun applications and are all shiny aluminum that won’t look ugly sitting on your counter or will fit easier inside a cabinet. Even at the #5 size they are cheaper than the cartridges and you can get a spare if one runs out, like when you have guests.

  15. Liz says:

    I just made my way through your complete archives! It is so cool that you keep optimizing things that you could easily accept as “done” just because they are already cheaper than store-bought.

    P.S. This probably is not an urgent matter, but it is something to consider especially when Babywoods is toddling about. I work in a lab, and all of our gas canisters are required by OSHA and EH&S to be secured to a wall with a chain so they can’t tip (like this ). You could probably rig something up with eye bolts and a bungie cord or chain to extra secure it. In all likelihood, your trash can probably does this enough…BUT it would be a travesty to have a sneaky Frugalhound or Babywoods reenact the killing of Jaws in your kitchen.

  16. beth says:

    This is off topic but I am a Reddit reader and the link to your Forbes article on the Reddit subs of Financial Independence and Frugal has been receiving a lot of negative comments. People seem to think that what you are doing is impossible.

    Do you read the negative comments and do you just laugh or do you feel sorry for the haters because they don’t understand how much their lives could be improved if they were frugal weirdos too?

  17. I’m still super impressed you managed to hack this device! Soda water has been my go-to drink at bars. It’s great for dieting and when I’m feeling too cheap to buy an alcoholic beverage.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I think seltzer is the perfect drink :)! Feels fancy but has no calories and is cheap–what more could you want!

  18. Cheryl says:

    here is a link where you can buy them new. Beverage elements seems to have the best prices. They ship empty and can be filled locally, even at paint ball supply shops.

  19. It’s great that you’ve found yet another way to saving money on something you love. We are not big seltzer fans. we usually opt fpr water with lemon or infused with some other type of fresh fruit.

  20. Frugalcrush Soda! ( Sorry my kids love Candy Crush – couldn’t resist!)

    We have resisted the urge to Sodastream because we heard that the CO2 was expensive.

    How hard is it to Hack a soda stream?-is it a 10 minute project or a big project that would take up my whole day? Perhaps you could post an article (with pictures and steps) for your Frugalfans to teach us how to do this.. Or you can go in to business selling modified Sodastreams to folks that are too busy to modify themselves!


  21. I love your “challenge everything” mentality and hearing about your new ways of savings money. I really love finding new ways to save… I guess I’m a weirdo too because spending less is fun and exciting and find it odd that more people don’t do it. The concept of spending less and then saving that extra money doesn’t resonate with the majority… they spend less and then spend more (on something else). Impressive frugal hack!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks so much! We definitely get a huge kick out of finding new ways to save money. What can I say–it’s so much more fun than spending it :).

  22. Cheryl says:

    A link where to get the CO2 tanks filled locally in the U.S.
    Many places will do hydrostatic tests on the tanks as well. When you exchange tanks they have included that testing as well as transportation, storage, etc. in their markup.

  23. That’s awesome! I am the only seltzer drinker in the family, and I like only flavored seltzer (with a little juice). So at about thirty cents a can a few times a week, I have not found it worthwhile to invest in a new device. That may change when the boys get old enough to want some fizz. I love your Igo’s Welding Supply story! Way to read the label!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Felt kind of dumb for not noticing the label in the first place, but hey, it’s all part of the journey :)! Yeah, if you’re drinking seltzer in that small of a quantity, then the hack is probably not worth it at this point. But it is fun to do!

  24. Haha I loved this! I also love that you live a luxuriously frugal lifestyle, I consider myself to be in that department too (for the most part anyway!). It truly is the little things in life. Glad you found an even cheaper way to get your seltzer fix, that was very innovative on your part.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks! I must say, I’m quite glad we found cheaper seltzer too :). And, amen to the luxuriously frugal life–it’s the way to be!

  25. That’s awesome! Many people wouldn’t even take the time to make the quick phone call, but you can save so much just by asking things like that! You’ll never know unless you ask and in your case it literally pays off!

  26. Kristin says:

    I really like how you make frugality an adventure! I have to say, you challenged me to challenge every dollar. I haven’t gotten my eyebrows waxed in over 2 years. Recently, I’ve been wanting to change my eyebrow shape from a more flat shape to a full arch, so I figured I’d have to schedule an appointment to get them shaped and waxed at some point in the next few weeks. After I read this post, I “challenged” this plan and did some research – found out that my local pharmacy (within walking distance!) sells eyebrow stencils with my desired shape for $1.50 ! I’m going to buy that tomorrow, use an eyebrow pencil I already have to determine the shape, and tweeze away to get the Va-Voom arch I’m looking for. If it doesn’t work out, hair grows back so no sweat! The bonus is – I don’t have to research a salon, I don’t have to schedule an appointment, I don’t have to make the time, I don’t have to drive anywhere, and I save about $19! Thanks for being such an inspiration. Love all your posts, but especially posts where you are “sleuthing” your spending!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks so much, Kristin! We do enjoy sleuthing our spending ;). Congrats on the DIY eyebrow plan–sounds like a great idea! I too tweeze my own brows–takes only a minute and the results are just fine with me :). Plus, like you mentioned, think of all the time we’re saving!

  27. I never would have thought about frugalizing your bubbly water in the first place by sourcing it in a larger container from the home brew store, let alone this new finding of the welding store. Who would’ve thought! 🙂 Nice job Frugalwoods!

  28. ARBM says:

    I am a huge bubbly water fan (that’s what we call it in our house). We have a soda stream, but haven’t done any hacking with it yet… that might be a task I put on the fiance once he becomes a husband next week. lol! 🙂

  29. bev says:

    And hats off to you for another find to save some bucks. Mostly plain old water drinkers here…just at home, not work, as our well water is fantastic. Very fortunate that way.

  30. Marcia says:

    Pretty awesome. I live my soda stream. We haven’t hacked it, but I don’t drink as much as you guys.

    Plus I don’t have a convenient place for a 20 lb tank. I may have to consider this though.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Thanks! We really love our hack–makes it so we can drink as much seltzer as we want :). It took us awhile to figure out where to put the tank and then we realized we could just set it on the floor next to the cabinets. This after we discussed drilling holes in the counter and floor to store the tank in the basement ;)—haha, sometimes the easiest solution is the best ;).

  31. mike says:

    I have the small bottle that comes with the system. I’m a contractor, and I’d like to do the hack you did, but I just can’t figure it out.

  32. Seltzer water was my favorite also and I considered getting a machine like you, but then my dentist told me it was acidic to my teeth! UGH! I couldn’t believe it. So then I did an internet search and sure enough, it is almost as damaging as soda. Something about what the carbonation does. Anyway, just do a search for ‘carbonated water acidic teeth’. I’ve since given it up and back to plain old filtered tap water. I’m terrified of dental problems from a physical pain standpoint as well as a financial pain. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. 🙁

  33. Shannon says:

    Dang! What a surprise and thankfully you found it sooner than later!

    We don’t have seltzer but I have had it at other peoples’ houses. A friends’ 3 year old started calling it bubble aide so that is what we all call it now. I have a feeling we’d use it daily if we had our own frankenseltzer.

    The only major frugal find I can think of is when we combined our auto insurances to one account soon after engagement. The total bill turns out to be 54% CHEAPER than the price of what we were paying for individual auto insurance with different companies. Like a savings of $940 a year. Is this a marriage (or appeared to be married) discount? Sure we can go to one car, but it’s really really cheap to own the 17 year old Saturn. As soon as it isn’t, buh bye!

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hey that’s a great frugal find! Nicely done! And yes, the frankenseltzer does lead to daily use ;)–but on the plus side, we drink a lot more water because of it.

  34. Maggie says:

    I love everything about this. Except the actual seltzer. I do not like seltzer. But the rest of this hack /story /adventure is awesome!

  35. If you’re not just gasifying your water but making soda, you could also forgo the compressed infusion entirely and go old school. Ordinary baking yeast emits CO2 when digesting sugar and if you do it under pressure (e.g. use a Grolsch bottle), you will make bubbly soda. It will be [very] weakly alcoholic(*), however, no equipment needed. The brewer store will have concentrates for cola, etc. but you could just go to Aldis and get some ginger. That’s how people used to make soda.

    (*) If you want more alcohol, do it with the cap open and let it sit for a few days. It’ll be like a ghetto version of standard wine brewing.

    PS: I’m surprised you didn’t know about welding stores as a CO2 source. I guess you figured out the sodastream hack by yourself then. Kudos! In that case, may I [highly] recommend for all things DIY.
    PPS: You can also use other welding gases (e.g. N2), but CO2 is the “best”. But hey … creative, right?

    • mike says:

      I have a 40lb bottle of nitrogen, filled to 2500 lbs/psi. So I can use that instead?

      • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

        People on the internet seem to say that nitrogen is much less soluble in water than co2, and thus takes more effort to get the fizz going. Looks like the people who have done it, have done forced carbonation over the course of many hours in a keg. Not really a point-of-use system like a co2 sodastream.

        But hey, you could try it!

        • mike says:

          Thanks Mr Frugalwoods for your time. I got the Soda Stream and the first time I used it, all the CO2 leaked out. They ended up refunding me my money and told me to keep the product.

          Now I’d like to exchange one of my 50 lb bottles of Nitrogen for a 20 lb bottle of CO2. I have the gauge that I can use from my nitrogen bottle, it’s the hook up to my soda stream that’s got me scratching my head.

          I can easily buy the fittings at Home Depot, I’m just not sure how to connect to the Soda Stream. Coming off of the tank is no problem, it’s that final hook up.

          • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

            No worries Mike! The adapter you need to connect your gas supply to the sodastream is actually a specially made part. I got mine from c02 doctor (see in the post) but there are several folks out there who make them. You’ll need that (or access to a machine shop) to complete the setup.

          • mike says:

            Perhaps I’m a novice when it comes to computers. I need to speak to them (CO2 doctor) and they have no phone and when I click on their “email” link, nothing happens.

            I do get a little fed up with companies like this. How does one contact them when they make it impossible to contact them?

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      Huh, hadn’t thought about fermenting soda. I think I’d need a longer attention span for that. I like being able to go from flat to fizzy in 2 seconds 🙂

      Since I use welding equipment at a co-op, and not my own setup, I’ve never needed to buy gasses before and I didn’t know the going rate. I assumed (wahwah) that the brewing store would be roughly the same price. Lesson learned there! To be fair to the homebrew shop, their tanks are a lot nicer looking than the rusty tank from the welding shop… but this isn’t a beauty competition so I don’t really care.

  36. Well played 🙂
    I have been tempted to opt for a soda stream and hack it, but my spouse’s stomach doesn’t do well with seltzer and the temptation of a virtually endless supply would definitely be too much!
    How long of a drive was it to the welding shop? I only ask because we made wild raspberry pie today and the gas costs more than negate the free raspberries. We went for the fun of being in the woods for the morning, and the deliciousness of the wild raspberries, but if it was a frugality based decision we definitely wouldn’t have gone. I assume the co2 tank lasts for ages so the drive is negligible.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Great question on the drive and, you bring up a good point! Fortunately, it was just a 10 minute drive (same distance as the homebrew shop), so the gas cost was negligible. But, it’s so true that driving a long distance just to save a few bucks often isn’t worth it!

  37. This is so awesome!!

    I enjoy seltzer, but don’t drink a whole lot of it. I’m mainly drinking tap water these days, but I do indulge in a single can of Diet Coke most days.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Ahhh Diet Coke… I used to be addicted to a can a day until I switched to…. seltzer :)! I’ve realized I’m just a gal who needs bubbles on a daily basis 😉

  38. Nice find! My wife is the seltzer addict in the house, but sadly we don’t have a spare bit of room for a full-size tank to attach to the good old Sodastream.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Interestingly, the tank is actually smaller than we expected and we’ve been able to just slip it behind our trash and recycling bins next to the cabinets. But, short of having that type of space, it would definitely be hard to squeeze it in somewhere!

  39. Kirsten says:

    I, too, and a fizzy water fiend. My girls love it, too, but it’s generally the very non frugal store bought flavored kind. They just weirdly like it more than juice (and it’s better for them). I wish my husband would let us hack a Sodastream – we would definitely save a ton of money!.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      You should totally hack a Sodastream :)! And, you make a great point that it’s healthier than juice. Seltzer is what got us to kick the soda habit for good. As long as I have some carbonation in my day, I’m a happy camper :).

  40. TomTrottier says:

    You can make your own carbonated drinks. Make champagne or beer. It’s not very hard, and more economical than purchasing. Bottle using screw-on pop/soda bottles.

  41. Hannah says:

    Oh, bravo! Yall are the Michael Jordan’s of frugality!

  42. Jordan says:

    So I get 40-50 bottles out of a 14oz canister. No doubt you have found a way to save on CO2 – thanks for sharing that. But, are you suggesting you use over 100 bottles of seltzer a month?

    • Mr. Frugalwoods says:

      100 bottles of seltzer a month is on the low side :-). We used to be more careful about how much we drank it, but now it’s nearly free so we drink it all the time.

      A side effect is that we drink waaaay more water than we used to. Which is great. Plus bubble are delicious.

  43. MC says:

    Has anyone figured out a hack for the SodaStream bottles yet? They seem to be $20/2 in most stores. Anyone find something cheaper?

  44. LH says:

    Totally stoked about the soda stream hack!!! My local gas supply place offers food grade CO2 and welding grade… He said it is the gas that is different, not the tank, but was not specific……. The price difference isn’t huge ($7 difference for 20lbs), but wondering if you know what the difference might be.

  45. Fiby says:

    Wow, nice find!

    I try to question all of my expenses. Sometimes it takes a fresh look, or an outsider, to point stuff out though!

  46. Ingrid says:

    Too funny! Major European Seltzer addict here. My wonderful husband engineer and frugality champion found 3 Sodastreams on CL, hacked them all a couple of years ago the same way and installed them in our 3 homes in the US and Europe – don’t ask! Frugal as he is we used the welding shop route right away except for the place in Europe which was a bankrupt food establishment where he found several old tanks which have been supplying endless amounts of Seltzer for 2 full summers now without an end in sight. Bubbly water is so much more popular over there and we would have to haul tanker loads home in glass bottles for the endless stream of visiting friends and family. Love your writing and ideas! Somewhat new to the blog so ready older posts now for inspiration and entertainment….

  47. nina says:

    awesomeness! i’ve been looking for a hack since i have a kegerator too, and i drink insane amounts of beer and seltzer. my hubby likes rootbeer and ginger ale, and my oldest kid loves fancy sodas. i needed to find a decent hack. i already have most of these components (co2 tank with $18 buck refill; sodastream and bottles). SO STOKED!!!!! i try to save where ever i can too, especially since baby #2 and a grad school/adjunct budget! YAAY!!!!

  48. Mike says:

    I’m on the verge of doing this hack for my own SodaStream. I’ve done the paintball tank method, but lately it’s become next to impossible to find a reliable fill station for paintball tanks that has their filling equipment in working order, but there’s an Airgas location very close to home.

    The one burning question I have about the external tank modification that isn’t discussed one way or the other:
    Do you leave the tank valve open all the time, or is it necessary to close/turn off the tank when you’re not actively using the SodaStream to carbonate a bottle of water?

    • Estefani says:

      We did this and we leave the tank “on.” I asked the person who sold me the adapter, and they said the shut off is in the sodastream itself, so it only turns on and off when you use it. We bought our tank at airgas and were able to find a CO2Doctor hose on ebay. It is sweet! This is such a great idea.

      • Mike says:

        Thanks for confirming! I had a hunch this was the case, provided that the adapter hose is properly constructed and has no leaks. Right after posting my question, I happened to find someone that was throwing out an entire case of brand new, still sealed boxes of CO2 canisters for a Primo Flavorstation (now defunct competitor to SodaStream that just used standard size paintball tanks), and I’m just about done using up those tanks, so I’ll likely be picking up a big tank very soon.

  49. Scoopster888 says:

    Thanks for the great blog! I too am supremely interested in Mike’s question: Do you leave the tank valve open all the time, or is it necessary to close/turn off the tank when you’re not actively using the SodaStream to carbonate a bottle of water?

  50. Bob Moore says:

    Hi Frugally Frugals

    The website to which you link in the original post (co2doctor dot com) has seemingly gone out of business.
    I have seen someone here in the comments writing about finding the adapter on eBay, but though I found similar stuff, I didn’t see the original tried and proven one.
    Does anybody here of info about where one could still get hold of one?

  51. Isabel says:

    Co2Doctor is not out of business. Their website is just down temporarily.

  52. Alisa says:

    This is my favorite money saving blog. I love your writing style. Yall are inspiring.

  53. Joseph Tewksbury says:

    I am looking at doing this but the adapter hose with meter you have is no longer sold (Website doesn’t exist). Does anyone know of one that connects a soda stream to a 20 LB Tank like this? The ones I keep finding are quick release and require you shut the tank so If it is left on you will loose all your CO2. I want a solid connection over the easy way. I am looking to get one asap. SO any info will be greatly appreciated!!!

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