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Metal Water Bottles and Saving A Buck


I continually look for ways to cut costs from anywhere and everywhere including…gasp…bottled water.

I bought one of those ‘earth friendly’ metal water bottles – though I question the ‘friendliness’ of metal. Sure I’ll be using less plastic but how biodegradable is metal anyway?!?

Regardless, I was concerned about the financial impact of purchasing and carting plastic water bottles to work on a daily basis so I thought I’d give the world of reusable’s a try.

I carefully filled the bottle, took a sip……

And I have one thing to say.

I have standards and this… is way below them.

And… my standards aren’t that high to begin with. My city uses reclaimed sewer water that tastes like a cross between Dial soap and dirty socks and I can somehow drink that – but this? My bottle makes water taste like a welders refuse pile.

And trust me… I KNOW what metal tastes like. Twenty-four months of my life were spent with railroad tracks of braces glued to my teeth.

Needless to say, I won’t be re-using the metal bottle again. Maybe I’ll throw it in with the aluminum cans for recycling?

But, I wasn’t going to be deterred! My new job stocks bright red mugs with ‘Company X’ blazed across the front and stores them in the kitchen for community use. Sure there was a risk that I’d come down with communicable diseases from improperly washed dishware but at least my water would be drinkable.

…Unfortunately, as I was washing the mug, I noticed the tiny print on the bottom that read, ‘The colors used to tint this mug contain lead. Do not use if pregnant or nursing.’

Great. Like I need that to worry about. I’m not pregnant but now I’ll always worry about having a child with a mild deformation because ‘mommy wanted to save a buck’.

Thankfully, a co-worker noticed me struggling to bleach a mug and gave me a brand new Nalgene bottle.

Good thing he wasn’t there to witness my interesting way of drinking to avoid touching any colored areas on the mug.

Always looking to save. ; )


  • Reply ray |

    I am still confused, how did this transition from tricia to rebeca happened. Are you two related?

    I read the first post by Beks (better update the About Me section for newcomers) but still i m lost in the transition.

  • Reply Annie |

    funny, I actually think that my tap water tastes better out of my aluminum water bottle – particularly when refrigerated.

  • Reply DCS |

    You must be from a sunshine state. My car is biodegrading quite nicely as we speak.

  • Reply Drew |

    It sounds like you may have tried a discount or off-brand metal bottle. My wife made me switch from Nalgene to Klean Kanteen some time ago and I’ll never look back. Klean Kanteen is very different from other metal bottles (like Sig), in that it is a single solid piece of steel. It leaves NO aftertaste and comes in all sorts of colors, sizes, and tops. It’s extremely tough and easily cleanable. I implore you to give a good metal bottle another try: http://amazon.twi.bz/J

  • Reply Corporate Barbarian |

    I bring 2 liters to work in Nalgene bottles. They’re the polycarbonate type, and I can’t detect any aftertaste. Our tap water tastes fine, though.

  • Reply emmi |

    Oh, donate that bottle to your salvation army, so I can come and pick it up. I love those things. I must be missing the tastebuds for metal, and I worry WAY more about the estrogen mimickers in the plastics, especially with the bottle I keep in the car, which HAS to one of the metal ones. I’m the opposite, I can’t drink bottled water because all I taste is the plastic. That’s also my story when I’m insisting my date get the San Pelligrino for the table 😉

  • Reply Jen |

    What brand of bottle did you use? You shouldn’t get that metallic taste if you use a high-quality bottle like a Kleen Kanteen or Sigg bottle. There are lots of $3 knock-offs that I wouldn’t go near, either.
    Maybe try filtering the tap water and getting a better bottle?

  • Reply Krystin |

    I too am definitely trying to find a way to drink “clean” water. I like the Nalgene bottles, but I don’t like my town’s tap water. Too many times at my old apartment did we have silt and rust coloured water come out. Yuck!
    But, then again, if I just take the bottled water and put it in the Nalgene, then where am I saving money?
    Might be interesting to see how much a Brita water filter would cost in the long run.
    BTW, look foward to continue reading your blog 🙂 I have just started my own, and hope to be able to be as successful as Tricia was/is, and that you will be as well 🙂

  • Reply Joy Smith |

    When I’m on the road and buy a bottle of water, I save the bottle and reuse it with filtered water from my sink instead of buying more bottles of water.

  • Reply Lisa |

    My husband has a metal water bottle that he uses that tastes gross as well. I think he got his from work. I have a couple of the newer Nalgene bottles that I prefer.

    One major gripe I have about the metal water bottles is the lid is super squeaky and it really irritates me when my husband is constantly unscrewing it to take a drink. Small, but enough so I wouldn’t get one!

  • Reply jaye |

    Perhaps you should get a Brita or other water filter. It sounds like your water isn’t that appealing!

    Bottled water is a bad idea on so many levels. The water itself is often less pure than the water that comes out of our faucets. Add to that the cost to the environment of making and disposing of plastic bottles and all of the gas consumed trucking it around from place to place! All for something that should be free! Plastics are scary, too. They leach into the water. And plastic water bottles shouldn’t be reused! They aren’t made for that and will break down into the water. Yuck. As for the bottle itself, I think you should use whatever water carrier you like (and, possibly, already have).

    Interestingly, my kids hate bottled water. They think it tastes like plastic. I think it’s all about what you’re used too.

  • Reply Brittany |

    I think getting a Brita or Pur water filter is a great investment. I live out west where the water is pretty terrible (we’re close to the border so everyone has had it before we get it). The water filter makes ALL the difference, as does drinking the water slightly cooler than room temp. I got a stainless steel bottle from REI for Christmas and it is fantastic. I had a Nalgene before it but I’ll never go back because now I don’t have to worry about stuff leaching from the plastic into my body.

  • Reply Ali |


    I have to admit that the first metal bottle I tried did taste pretty gross. I stayed away from them for years after. Then the Nalgene leaching scare hit & I didn’t want plastic in my body so I bought a Sigg bottle. Its coated in ceramic so you don’t taste ANY metal, just the water you put in it. Which for me is the tap filtered through my Pur filter.

    Good luck finding something that works & taste great.

  • Reply jeffrey |

    I am still confused, how did this transition from tricia to rebeca happened. Are you two related?

    I read the first post by Beks (better update the About Me section for newcomers) but still i m lost in the transition.

    Ray, I’m sure you’re not the only one. We are currently putting together a page that explains exactly what happened and the transition that is taking place (due to your comment). This month both tricia and beks are blogging as tricia finishes up paying off her debts and as beks introduces herself to the readers. At the end of the month you will begin to see changes to the about me page and such as beks takes over with her journey in blogging away debt while tricia’s information will be preserved for those that happen upon the blog from her old posts.

  • Reply Stephanie PTY |

    Most people have commented on the taste, so I’ll comment on the environmental issue – the reason an aluminum water bottle is better is that it should be 100% recyclable, if you bought the right one. And aluminum is extremely easy and efficient to recycle, which is why many states offer deposits as incentive to recycle aluminum cans, or flat out pay people to! A Nalgene bottle is good too, but make sure it’s a new-ish one. Up until last year, Nalgene bottles were made using BPA, another “worry about if you’re pregnant, nursing, or planning to become pregnant someday” chemical. They don’t use BPA in Nalgene bottles anymore, but make sure the bottle was made within the last year, to be safe. (I love Nalgene because the company is based in my city, but safety first!)

    – Stephanie, a one-time college campus recycling administrator and general recycling/eco geek!

  • Reply Stephanie PTY |

    @Jeffrey – it might make things easier for the readers if both Tricia and Beks had avatars or profile pictures that showed up at the top of all of their posts. This is pretty easy to set up in WordPress – there are a few plugins you could use to accomplish this.

  • Reply Gina |

    I don’t know if it’s true (I’ve never had a problem with the metallic taste,) but I’ve heard that if you wash the metal bottles out with some baking soda and water, it helps take away some of the metallic taste. It’s worth a shot, since you’ve already spent the money on the bottle.

  • Reply Beth |

    I’m glad to see so many comments disputing the author’s opinion on metal water bottles. I have a Kleen Kanteen and Brita filter, and enjoy them both. We’ve got bad water where I live, so the filter is essential. If you’re used to bottled water, then you’re going to notice a big difference going right to tap water.

    I’m sorry, but I have to ask “Sure I’ll be using less plastic but how biodegradable is metal anyway?!?” Are you serious?

  • Reply Caitlin |

    Get yourself a Brita filter and a quality metal bottle, like Klean Kanteen or Sigg. Those dollar store bottles, combined with cruddy tap water are not going to save you any money in the long run.

    Metal bottles are not supposed to be biodegradable (Were you being facetious? I couldn’t tell). They are intended to be a reusable replacement to disposable plastic bottles. The point is that if you get a quality metal bottle, you’ll never need to buy a disposable plastic bottle ever again. This saves you money and helps the planet.
    Buying a $3 bottle you never use doesn’t save you money. Buying a $20 bottle you use for years does.

    I second Stephanie’s idea of an avatar or some other marker to distinguish Tricia from Rebekah. Putting the “posted by…” bit at the top of the post instead of the bottom would work too, but an avatar is a nice visual touch.

  • Reply Anonymous |

    So you are worried about the lead in the paint on your mug, but you aren’t worried about the Bisphenol-A (BPA) in your nalgene bottle? I think you should reconsider and try using a Sigg or Klean Kanteen.

  • Reply Anne |

    I gave up feeling like I was camping at the office and ditched my metal-tasting bottle. You should check out the king-daddy of all the reusables, BPA-Free KOR ONE “hydration vessel”. It’s oh so sleek and no threads on the spout. http://www.korwater.com

  • Reply Margot |

    I hope Tricia isn’t going away entirely after her credit card debt is gone. It would be interesting to see her actually become debt free (student debt, mortgage) and for readers to benefit from all she’s learned as she eventually goes from paying off debt to building wealth. Also, Beks has an annoying writing style and immensely overuses “…”, so I’m hoping it doesn’t become 100% her.

  • Reply Luv a Bargain |

    My husband bought all four of us a Kleen Kanteen to “convert” us from bottled water using. It is a hard transition, I have to say. But we have done it pretty well. Congrats on your debt accomplishments!

  • Reply Beth |

    Margot, I’m with you. I managed to read “Financially I’m Like An Obese Person Giving Diet Advice” (it looks like the post was taken down — though it shows up in my RSS feed) and felt like I’d stumbled into another Shopaholic novel (They’re not my taste — but they have been highly successful).

    I was used to Tricia – she was smart, factual and mature. I figure I’ll either get used to Rebekah’s style, she’ll find her voice (I get the impression she’s new at this), or I’ll decide this blog isn’t for my anymore and move on. I’m willing to give it a chance though.

  • Reply jeffrey |

    I hope Tricia isn’t going away entirely after her credit card debt is gone. It would be interesting to see her actually become debt free (student debt, mortgage) and for readers to benefit from all she’s learned as she eventually goes from paying off debt to building wealth.

    yes, Tricia will still be around: https://www.bloggingawaydebt.com/2009/04/a-decision-has-been-made/

    One of the visions that both Tricia and I had was this would be a blog where people would talk about blogging away debt and as each person succeeded, it would be passed onto another person. Obviously this means that there will be differences in writing style and viewpoint. Just that fact that Rebekah is beginning her journey while Tricia is coming to an end will mean that focus and experience will be quite different between the two. And when Rebekah pays off her debt, the next new blogger will undoubtedly be different from both of them.

    It was never our thought to replace Tricia with another Tricia because that would be impossible to do and someone trying to mimic Tricia’s style I believe would fall flat. My suggestion would be much as Beth has commented — follow Rebekah for awhile and if you enjoy, you can keep doing so. If not, then you can follow Tricia when she makes her updates.

  • Reply fern |

    why don’t you just keep your own mug at your desk so you don’t have to worry about others’ germs?

  • Reply Caitlin |

    I’m with Margot and Beth at this point. I’m still reading for now, and willing to give Rebekah a chance.
    It does sound sound like she’s either very new at this, or her previous blog targeted a totally different demographic.
    I read the now-deleted (?) “Financially I’m Like An Obese Person Giving Diet Advice” post in my RSS too.
    I don’t like the new writing style, but it’ll either change or I’ll be another person to drift away from this blog.

    @jeffrey – I don’t think it was our impression that you guys were going to try and replace Tricia with “another Tricia” who would try to copy her writing style; I think we just thought the new writer would have a tone that wasn’t so different from the one already present on this blog. It’s still early, yet, and I’m sure we’re all willing to give it a chance.

  • Reply Beks |

    No, I’m not new at blogging – or writing for that matter. I’ve been published in several high circulation magazines over the last few years, I just have a VERY different style – and that is what makes me… me (three period pauses and all). I am new, however, at writing a finance blog, I typically write humor/life pieces so it is different. I’m sorry if some readers don’t enjoy it. I learned at a very young age that I can’t please everyone. ; )

    Thank you for the great suggestions on water carriers! I never knew there was so much to choose from. I feel so stupid! I’m working on it though.

  • Reply Margot |

    @ Jeffrey – my point wasn’t that someone needed to mimic Trish’s style. As you pointed out, that would be impossible as they are different people. However, basic grammar, punctuation, etc are very important to blogs getting and keeping a good following and maintaining advertisers. Many bloggers, like JD at Get Rich Slowly, even take writing classes and constantly try to improve their craft. Also, blogs get to have their own personalities and styles. We don’t expect identical bloggers, but radically changing style or personality might backfire.

  • Reply Amanda |

    Try Camelbak plastic bottles. They have a nifty bite-squeeze top that won’t leak no matter what, and they have NO TASTE AT ALL. I am very sensitive to scents/tastes, and I adore these bottles.

  • Reply Canadian |

    I use a Klean Kanteen and I love it. It is made of stainless steel only. I decided against the aluminum Sigg because it has a lining they don’t tell you exactly what’s in it.

    I do not taste metal from my Klean Kanteen. I just taste cold water. I find tap water tastes better when it’s very cold, so I keep a glass jug in the fridge.

    I would not use a plastic bottle because I have major issues with plastic. I am trying to move away from plastic. After learning about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, I am disgusted with plastic. Plastic does not biodegrade at the end of its life. I get my inspiration on this from the blog Fake Plastic Fish.

  • Reply Michael Malone |

    Well, I like the idea that you’re always up to try something new. I am sorry to hear that the water bottle made your water taste worse than it already did, which sounds pretty hard to do. I did want to mention that Nalgene bottles contain BPA, and can leech that into your water, which can be extremely harmful to you. That, among other reasons, is why people are trying to get away from plastics. I have heard about this company, Naturally Iowa, that sells pure spring water in bottles made 100% from plants, so the bottles are completely biodegrade-able along with all the packaging. I have yet to try it, although the water has supposedly won a bunch of taste accolades. I think they will start selling to the general public in a month or so.

  • Reply Emily |

    Good for you for trying to be more eco-friendly! But sorry about your initial luck :(. Just like many other people have commented, I highly recommend Klean Kanteen bottles. They’re super trustworthy and durable. You can even warm stuff over a campfire with them! I love the versatility. They also use food-grade stainless steel, which is awesome. And no leaching too! Definitely try one :). Good luck on your journey to being green!

So, what do you think ?