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Deal or No Deal? The Stripes Refillable Cup

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Do you ever buy gas station refillable soda cups? I've never really done the math to figure out if it was a good deal or not. This is a review of the Stripes refillable cup to figure out if it makes sense to buy or not. Are there any savings on soda?

So we live right next to a Stripes gas station.  Like 7 minutes if you walk slow.  That said, we do visit it occasionally for treats.  We enjoy their breakfast tacos, hubby likes their shakes, and I love their large selection of fountain sodas.  Even though I now drink soda maybe once every 2 weeks, it is nice to be able to have a great Coke Zero with a vanilla shot in less than 15 minutes.

The Available Deal

This all leads me up to explaining my question for you.  Our Stripes sells a 32 oz refillable cup for $4.99 that gives you one free fill, and each refill will then cost you 99 cents from there on out.  Here’s the problem as I saw it this week:

$4.99 Stripes Refillable Cup
Here is their $4.99 refillable cup.
Regular 32 Oz Stripes Fountain Drink
This is the price for a normal 32 oz Stripes fountain drink currently.
32 Oz Stripes Refills
This is the price to refill their 32 oz cup.

So, the 32 oz drink is 99 cents.  And the refills for a container up to 44 ounces is 99 cents.  So you save nothing, right?

Other Data Points

Well, apparently not.  According to the manager I approached, the current deal for 99 cent 32 oz regular cups is just a summer special.  Normally, a 32 oz drink is $1.29.  So long-term, you can technically save 30 cents per refill.  He also made sure to point out that he bought a refillable cup himself simply since it keeps drinks colder longer than the Styrofoam cups.  Okay, so 30 cents of savings means that if you fill up 14 times or more, it was worth it.

Normal Stripes 32 Oz Price
They normally charge $1.29 for a regular 32 oz drink.

Honestly, I don’t drink enough soda for that to be worth it to me.  Yet, I had already bought the stupid cup in a silly moment of Vanilla Coke Zero happiness about a week ago.  So if I just wait for the summer special to be over, I should be able to make back my purchase and then some by simply buying as I regularly would in about 8 months…just in time for the next summer special to start…yeah, yeah, I know…

Anyway, do you drink enough soda to make this worth it?  Deal or no deal?

FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!).  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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10 thoughts on “Deal or No Deal? The Stripes Refillable Cup

  1. You know, you are helping the environment by not using throw-away cups. That alone makes it worth your money. While you may not be able to put this as a line item in your budget, if it benefits the planet it will have some economic impact at least indirectly.

  2. My husband like Bucee’s and he likes coffee. Years ago he bought a refillable cup and kept it in his car for his morning coffee. At the time, he could refill it for twenty-five cents. Then it went up to 49 cents. I do not know how much it is now. I know I found the yucky cup in his car and washed it out. I asked him when the last time he washed it. He explained how he would rinse it out in the bathroom, pour boiling water in it and dump it, and then get his coffee, which was boiling hot. He had done this for years. The logo was rubbed off when I threw it away. I bought him a new one four $3.99. I went out every day and washed the cup, put it back. No doubt it was cheaper for him. If he was waiting for a breakfast taco, he would go get a free refill. But the thing is, I made the mistake taking a sip out of that cup about 3 months later. It tasted like plastic. I do not think those cups are actually good for hot drinks. I do not think drinking that much coffee is good for you. He was diagnosed with osteopenia, which he may have been born with, who knows? He has always been very light, weighing less than me when I married him, despite being 6 foot 4 inches.
    He also gets high cholesterol and triglyceride readings. I talked him out of using those plastic cups because they are hard to keep clean, taste like plastic is leaching from them, and no one needs that much caffeine or soda.
    Even when he switched to coke zero his triglycerides remained very high. Since he has been switching to water, teas, and only 16 ozs or less of coffee per day; he has been getting lower triglycerides readings, lower cholesterol readings and a much lower blood pressure.
    I think the carbonation in carbonated drinks messes with not only your teeth, but your electrolyte levels. The artificial sweetner and the plastic leaching can harm your kidneys , liver, and possibly trigger cancer. Enjoy your treats, but in moderation. I do not feel all drinks or coffee are bad for anyone; just we all need to moderate our intake, even if we are thin. So no, I do not think refillable cups are a deal. Not in any way. Most metal refillables are aluminum, which I also object to when it comes to putting carbonated or acid drinks in them. As environmental as I am, disposable cups that are not reused are probably healthier than any refillable. I drink out of glass at home, and prefer the Mexican Cokes in glass to any Coke made in the USA. I know, glass is heavier and costs more to transport, but it just seems not to mess with the taste and feels cleaner to me. Maybe they should make heavy glass refillables, lol.
    Just on your math, the refillable wasn’t worth it, but feel free to walk up there, fill it with water, and walk back for a free walking treat. Tell the employees you are just filling it with water and ice, that should make it really interesting, lmao.

  3. “…do you drink enough soda to make this worth it?” No. I drink a single soda perhaps once every two to three months. I just don’t enjoy it; it tastes too sweet, even the “diet” versions.

    “Deal or no deal?” No. You may feel like you need to drink even more soda to truly enjoy the value.

  4. ha ha ha! That is hilarious: worthy of the back inside cover of Consumer Reports! You should send it in.

    Agreed that a permanent, refillable cup is an ecofriendly strategy. But…you’ve already lost a lot of weight, and the problem is, one of those things sitting in the car or around the house might tempt you to consume more soda than you’re doing now — and it’s been shown that even diet soda is bad for one’s health and weight stabilization strategies. Since you’re not drinking very much soda, forking over $4.99 for the privilege of paying the going rate seems kinda pointless. Why not just buy the stuff in a recyclable can instead?

  5. Not a deal given your article for me, but I am sure that there are many out there who just won’t care about any calculations and will fork whatever money just to get a “deal”!

  6. Thanks for all of the feedback! I’ve come to the conclusion that I did not get a great deal, but I’ll make back my money over the next year or two, lol. I promise not to get soda any more often than normal. And “retired”, I promise not to get anything hot (I don’t drink coffee), so hopefully that plastic won’t take over my drink. It also helps that I may be getting all of one refill every two weeks at max…

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