Money-Saving Homemade Energy Drink Recipes

by Reader Contributors

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Energy drinks can be an expensive habit. Try some of these recipes for making your own affordable energy drinks and see how much you can save.

On occasion, we get an email from someone looking for ways to cut the cost of energy drinks.

Dear Dollar Stretcher,
I’m hooked on energy drinks. I have one pretty much every afternoon. It’s getting to be more than I can afford. Energy drinks such as Red Bull® and 5-hour Energy® are expensive. I’ve read that they’re mostly sugar, caffeine, and vitamins. Does anyone have a recipe for a homemade energy drink that can be made at home with average, not exotic, ingredients that accomplish the same boost? I’m sure I could save some money.

We asked our frugal readers for their advice, tips and recipes for saving money on energy drinks. Read on for their many helpful responses.

Your Body Will Thank You

Make green smoothies instead. The all-natural fruit and veggie blend gives you total nutrition, and the vitamins perk you up. Of course, going off of the caffeine will be an adjustment at first, but your body will thank you.
Gwen (via Facebook)

Buy Aldi’s Energy Drink

While I’m not creative enough to make my own energy drinks, I do buy them at Aldi. They have a low-carb version that is very affordable. They also have a version of Red Bull. They aren’t quite like the originals in taste but have the caffeine that I’m looking for.

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Start With Green or Black Tea

Try green or black tea you brew yourself. Add honey to taste and take a vitamin pill. Tea is healthy and is a great pick-me-up. The honey adds sweetness and some trace minerals. Drink it hot or cold. It’s delicious! If you wish, eat a small piece of seasonal fruit with the vitamin pill, making it more effective.

Keep It Natural and Healthy

I found some recipes for those times when a boost really is needed. Except for the first being sugar-packed, these don’t have the chemicals and body-wrecking ingredients. They are natural and healthy.


B-12 for Energy

Don’t spend your money on energy drinks. Take B-12. B-12 comes in both drops and tablets. You either put a dropper full under your tongue, wait 30 seconds, and then swallow or put a tablet under your tongue until it’s dissolved. B-12 is dissolved under your tongue so that it gets into your bloodstream fast. I prefer the tablets, although I have used both. If you read the ingredients on the back of energy drinks, they have a major dose of vitamin B-12 in them. The reason for the major dose is that you can’t overdose on B-12. When you need more energy, take a tablet or drops. The dosage of B-12 tablets varies, so purchase the mcg that you feel you need.

As with everything, the quality and price of B-12 available varies by manufacturer, so purchase from a manufacturer you trust. You should be able to get 100 tablets for about $12 to $30 (depending on the brand), so even if you take five a day, you’re looking at spending $.60 to $1.50 a day for a full day’s energy instead of several dollars per can several times a day. You also will not be putting excessive amounts of sugar and other unnecessary stuff into your body. You probably won’t need five a day. Two a day work great for me (500 mcg tablet). I take one in the morning to get me started and one around 2 p.m. to fight the afternoon slump.
P.A. Hopkins

Get Rid of the Additives

My husband gets leg cramps after a day of hard work, so he started drinking Powerade® and Gatorade. I came across this recipe for a homemade version without all the “additives”.

For half of a gallon, mix:

1/2 gallon water
1/2 C cane sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 pkg. unsweetened powdered drink mix

Mix well and serve

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Natural Ways To Revive

Energy drinks are loaded with caffeine. They’re not good for you and can be addictive. Instead, you might try some natural ways to revive yourself.

  • Eat an apple. It’s supposed to have a better effect than drinking a cup of coffee.
  • Get outside for a few minutes. Sunlight boosts energy and so does exercise, so take a short walk while you’re out.
  • If you can’t go out, find a window and just bask for a few minutes. Then do some stretches; movement revives you.
  • Try aromatherapy. Peppermint and Citrus scents are supposed to perk you up.
  • Put on headphones and listen to some upbeat music.
  • Take a break. If you can find a private spot to lay your head down, set your phone alarm for a quick 15-minute nap. And make sure you get eight hours of sleep at night.

Most important of all, stay away from energy drinks and keep looking for alternative ways to boost your energy.

Benefit From Pure Cherry Juice

Mix water, pure cherry juice (with no added sugar), and sea salt. It doesn’t take nearly as much salt as you might think before it tastes like sea water, so you’ll need to experiment with the right proportions! Cherry juice is said to help keep muscles from being sore. Again, you can use as much or as little as your taste prefers.

Keep Your Homemade Energy Drink Natural

I make my own smoothies. Sometimes, I use protein powder, but usually, I make smoothies without it. I am concerned about the additives. Greek yogurt gives a healthy dose of protein in a smoothie and you can add any fruit. I use bananas and/or apples as a sweetener, so no sugar is needed. I also make green smoothies with water as the base. To make, I include a banana, a quarter to a half of an apple, spinach, kale or collard greens, and sometimes flaxseed. Then, I blend it all together.

Good Strong Coffee for Caffeine Boost

Strong coffee can give a good caffeine boost, but I suggest that a good night’s sleep is even better. Drinking energy drinks should be unnecessary if a person eats a good diet and/or takes a multivitamin and gets adequate rest.
Barbara in CT

Homemade Energy Drink from SodaStream

I purchased a SodaStream. They have an energy drink mix that tastes like Red Bull®, and it works!

Reviewed October 2023

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