The price of milk and dairy products has gone up again in my area! Here are some tips on how to save money on milk and dairy products.
After meat and produce, another expense most people have in their grocery budget is dairy. One of the biggest issues with dairy is the substitutes (other than soy or rice based ones which are usually more expensive) that are cheaper are full of chemicals and oils and are not as good for your body, so skimping on price means you skip on quality as well.
How to Save Money on Milk and Dairy
If you love dairy like my family and prefer the “real thing” over the oil based dairy products, but want to save money, then this post is for you! Let's look at ways you can save on all your favorites – milk, cheese, yogurt, and more!
1. Just like in the previous two posts on saving money on meat and saving money on produce, search for coupons. I have noticed that sour cream, yogurt, butter and cottage cheese coupons are pretty easy to find. However, if you are looking for milk coupons, you will most likely find those on products such as cookies or crackers. They often come with deals such as “Save $1.00 on a package of Oreos and 1 gallon of milk”.
2. Stock up when you do find dairy products on sale. Milk and butter both freeze very well. They will thaw out to the same consistency and can last in the freezer for a couple months. I like to stock up on butter during the holiday baking season. You can often find butter up to half off during the holidays, so buy it now and freeze it to use it later. Use the Favado app to find the best deals on milk in your local stores.
3. For cooking and baking, use powdered milk. It is much cheaper and can be made on the spot when you need it and is very shelf stable. For drinking, it kind of tastes a bit weird, but you will not notice a difference when you use it in your cooking or baking.
4. Don't automatically buy store brands. Many times, the store brand is not cheaper than name brands. With name brand dairy products, you may be able to combine a sale item with a coupon and get it for less than the generic item.
5. Buy eggs, cheese, and dairy from the source. If you are lucky enough to have a dairy farm near you, ask if they sell to the public. Make sure you ask if the products they sell are pasteurized though. You may be able to even raise your own chickens. Many cities now allow for a couple hens in home owner's backyards with restrictions.
6. Buy organic. I used to snub my nose at organic milk because of the price, but I now have an older child who doesn't drink as much milk anymore and therefore we often had to throw milk out because it went bad. Any food that goes in the garbage is wasted money. Many brands of organic milk are ultra-pasteurized and will last longer. I hardly ever throw out milk anymore because we are able to use it up before it goes bad now and we get hormone-free milk as well!
7. Buy yogurt in bulk. A large tub of yogurt is at least half the cost per ounce of the little tubs. This is especially true for Greek style yogurt. If you love smoothies, the larger tubs are the way to go. You can freeze yogurt to use in smoothies. this will produce creamier smoothies and will prevent your yogurt from going bad before it can be used up.
8. Watch how much milk you are using. If you have a young child that loves milk the way most adults love coffee like I did, the price of milk can really take over your weekly budget. While milk is wonderful for growing bodies, encourage your child to have water when you can. Save milk for bedtime, meals, and snacks. For quenching thirst, drink water instead.
9. Look for manager markdowns. Look at the expiration dates on dairy products. If you find one that is about to expire, make sure you find a manager to ask for a discount if it isn't already marked down.
10. Avoid convenience foods. Just like other products out there, the dairy aisle contains a lot of convenience foods. One big one is shredded cheese. If you find blocks of cheese on sale, buy it in bulk. Shred it and store it in your freezer.
More Frugal Dairy Tips: