How To Save Money On Milk – The Great Milk Crisis!
I rushed to my computer to write this when I heard the news. I knew there would be a great panic over it and thought I could hopefully calm some fears. What was the news? Was it something earth shattering like flood, epidemic, or war? No! But it made the headlines – “The price of milk is going up!”
I could hear the panic in the newscaster’s voice and the trembling in “Mrs. Woman-on-the-street’s” voice as she answered his question, “What will you do now?”
“I guess I will have to just start watering down my children’s milk because they just love it so much.” Then she took a deep heart wrenching sigh…
Of course, I’m telling you this with tongue in cheek. We live in a world of panic and fear. I try to put these things in perspective. I mean compared to the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl (for those of you who aren’t up on your history, that’s not a new football game ), the flu epidemic of 1917, and World Wars I and II, the fact that the price of milk is going up 50 cents ranks pretty low on my list of things to panic about.
No, I don’t have lots of money to throw away. At this time in my life I am pretty much living off the same amount or less than most people on welfare or some elderly people on social security so any price increase is hard on me too and I appreciate the value of learning how to save money on milk.
What I found most interesting was the next item of news after the earth shattering milk scare. It was about a new “apple” that is coming out on Friday and everyone can hardly wait to buy one for $500. I mean to me, paying $2.50 for three pounds of apples is outrageous, let alone spending $500 for one apple! OK, I’ve got my tongue in my cheek once again! Even though my children think I am completely computer illiterate, I do realize that the new “Apple” they were talking about was some sort of fancy hand held computer/telephone/phone (I think ).
Here’s my point: We sometimes have our priorities goofy. These people were horrified at having to pay an extra 50 cents for milk — food that they really needed for their children, but they thought nothing of having to pay $500 for what basically amounts to a new electrical toy.
Having milk prices go up is irritating yes, but it is not the end of the world. (Having my Hershey’s candy bar double in price over night — now that is something to panic over. HA! HA! Talk about priorities! Before you come unglued each time you hear that the price of bread, milk or gas is raised, try putting it into perspective.
I don’t want you to think I am taking this whole thing too lightly. I do want to help make things a little easier for you, so here are some tips to help you save money on milk. Most of these basic principles can be used with any food item whose price is getting higher than you would like.
- One of the main ways to save money on milk is portion control.You have heard me say again and again that we need to start seriously controlling the amount and portion size of the food we give our children. The woman in the news interview above said she would just have to dilute the milk for her children. That really isn’t the best solution and usually all that does is to make the milk taste nasty. Now that I think about it, I guess that would be one way to keep the kids from drinking more of it but it’s not really the best idea.
A better solution is to have the children drink water more often. Use milk (and juice) only as part of the nutritional value of the meal, not as a primary way to quench thirst. When you plan your menu, if you have cheese or yogurt for your meal, you don’t have to serve milk because you already have your dairy. Let everyone drink water. If there is no dairy in the meal, give them a proper serving of milk (6-8 oz. not 16 oz. which is the size of a lot of glasses used at meals).
- Waste not want not. This good old fashioned saying really is true. Stop wasting milk. How much milk is left in that half eaten bowl of cereal and poured down the drain each morning? What about that large glass of milk that you poured for your child who drank only half of it? The average American family could cut the amount of milk they buy by 50% just by controlling portion sizes and waste. (That includes that sour milk in the fridge that always gets thrown out).
Stop your children from using the “dump” method with their cereal. You know what I mean, they pour out the cereal, not paying attention to what they are doing, until there is a huge mound in their bowl. Then they pour in enough milk to equal the portion of cereal they have dumped in. You may have to take the time and effort to pour the kids’ milk in their cereal bowls for a while to help cut back until they learn to use the right amount themselves.
Sometimes something as simple as pouring the milk into a pitcher that is smaller and easier for a child to handle can help. I find a gallon of milk hard to pour so I can’t imagine how a young child can handle it properly. I use a small pitcher for my kids and grandkids and they have always loved getting to use the cute little pitcher. I think it is one of those “little things” that helps make their lives easier and they appreciate that.
- Make foods that don’t use as much milk.Instead of having cereal every morning, make oatmeal, eggs and toast, or pancakes. I like to use milk even if my pancake mix calls for water but you can change that to half milk and half water and it will still taste good.
Instead of making pudding for dessert, make a pan of brownies or cupcakes from a box that calls for no milk. Having company this summer? Think watermelon instead of homemade ice cream.
- Watch for milk that is marked down and buy all that you can. Most people don’t realize that you can freeze milk. All you have to do is be sure you shake it well after you thaw it. Find out when your store stocks the milk or mark it down. I was at a store just yesterday and there was a man putting some cheese on the shelves. I simply asked him when they stocked their dairy products and what time. He didn’t mind telling me at all.
As much as I hate to admit how old I am, I have lived many years now and one thing I have found is the price of food always changes – up and down, this way and that – but it is nothing to panic over. Everything usually balances out in the end. Just adjust your eating habits accordingly and you will do fine. Besides, over time most incomes usually end up adjusting to the price of things, so it all balances out.
Hopefully, you can now enjoy your next glass of milk… but watch out for those terribly expensive “apples”!