Everything You Need To Know About Buying Ice
Refrigerators with a built-in ice maker are fairly common. But in the event that you don’t have one, or if you’re hosting a large gathering, you might find yourself buying ice to fill coolers or make cold drinks. Those bags of frozen water can seem expensive, and it’s difficult to figure out exactly how much you need. In the interest of helping Cleverdude readers be informed consumers and get maximum value, I decided to do some research on buying ice.
Common Bag Sizes
The most common sizes for bags of ice are 5 and 20 pounds. While other sizes can be found at some retailers, this post will focus on these two sizes.
How Much Water Is In a Bag Of Ice?
I purchased a 5-pound bag of ice and let it melt. From my bag of ice, I got approximately 10 cups of water. Therefore, a cup of water (8 fluid ounces) weighs half a pound. You can use this to determine how much water you would get from any size bag of ice. For example, a 20-pound bag of ice would yield 40 cups of liquid.
How Much Use Can I Get From My Ice?
I took an average-sized low ball drink glass and filled it with ice as many times as I could using five pounds of ice as if I making a drink. With five pounds of ice, I was able to fill the glass 15 times. That works out to 3 drinks per pound. Using this information, you can determine the number of drinks you can make with any amount of ice. For example, a 20-pound bag of ice could be used to make 20 x 3 = 60 drinks (assuming fresh ice for each drink).
Buying Ice: How Much Does It Cost?
I checked prices at few common places where ice is available for purchase. Obviously, price and availability will vary based on your location, but this information gives a good indication as to how much you might expect to pay for ice as well as the variance you might find.
- 5 Pound Bag: $1.47
- 20 Pound Bag: $3.98
- 5 Pound Bag: $1.79
- 20 Pound Bag: $4.99
- 5 Pound Bag: $1.50
- 20 Pound Bag: $4.50
- 5 Pound Bag: Not Available
- 20 Pound Bag: $2.79
Buying Ice: The Cost Adds Up
Buying a single bag of ice at one location vs another likely won’t break your budget. But if you’re buying many bags of ice for a large gathering, or one that involves keeping a keg cold, those savings can add up quickly.
For a large party in which I’m chilling a keg, filling 2 coolers with ice, and making ice available for drinks, I may need the following quantities of 20 pounds bags of ice:
- 3 for cooling the keg for most of a day
- 2 for coolers (1 for each)
- 2 for making drinks
Total: 7 twenty-pound bags of ice.
At a convenience store, I will pay 7 x $4.99 = $34.93. However, if I buy them at Costco, I’ll pay 7 x $2.79 = $19.53 for a savings of $15.40!
The next time you’re in the market to buy ice for any reason, this information will help you accurately predict how much you need as well as save some money.
How about you Clever Friends, how often do you buy ice? Do you ever find yourself with too much, or too little?
Read More From The Clever Dude
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- How To Be A Rock Star Party Planner
- Tips To Host An Inexpensive New Year’s Eve Party
- 5 Ways To Save Money on a Graduation Party
More From Around The Web
Frugal Reality has an article on 43 places to buy crushed ice, which is handy if you’re looking for places to buy ice. Also, Pure Wow has an article on buying ice from McDonalds. Yes, this ice appears to be for sale at McDonalds.
Brock is a software engineer by day and personal finance blogger at night. He is a fitness junkie and enjoys grilling and smoking meat. Married with two children, Brock strives to improve his skills as a husband and father, and is always on the lookout to stretch his family’s budget as far as he can.