10 smarter ways to spend your tax refund

  • 10 smarter ways to spend your tax refund


    Soda machine


    Buy this: SodaStream Crystal ($179.95)
    Ax this: 36 cans of soda a week (around $14)
    Start saving in: 5 to 9 months
    Bonus: No more lugging cans or bottles from the grocery store

    Using a water filter instead of bottled water is one of the most obviously sound economic and environmental decisions a consumer can make. But while it may seem like an easy switch to give up bottled water, we still love our carbonated drinks: Americans consume the equivalent of two cans per person per day of soda and sparkling water.

    Home soda machines are simple to use, and a good one can cost as little as $80, though nicer ones offer greater control over the level of carbonation and long-lasting glass carafes. Once you have the machine, you can churn out a liter of soda water for about $0.25 (the cost of the CO2 gas). And you control what you put in the water, so there's a potential health benefit over commercial sodas for using less flavoring or fruit juice to sweeten your drink.