How To Save Money on Milk



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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.

  1. 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).

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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”!

Jill

Click here to read some reader responses to “The Great Milk Crisis”.

 

Comments

  1. says

    I use very little milk. It does not always agree with my stomach so I try to avoid it.
    I bake using juice or water instead of milk.
    If it really needs milk I use powdered milk.
    My mother hates to shop. She says she did it for years when us children were around and now that she is retired she says she doesn’t have to go to the store for little things she runs out of.
    One day a couple days before her grocery run the milk left had gone sour. My dad wanted porridge for breakfast so mom made it and handed it to my dad along with the juice pitcher brown sugar and cinnamon. Dad fussed a bit but used these and then said it was better than milk and sugar. The juice was apple so it went well with the cinnamon. Until he passed away that is how he had cereal and porridge. with just the two of them mom cut down on milk by 1 quart a week.
    I use water in scrambled eggs. Have rarely used milk unless it was a spoonful of powdered. Have done this for 34 years with no complaints until one day Don was in the kitchen and saw me scrambling them he said why didn’t you use milk and I told him I never did. He said they taste better with milk so I added the milk powder and he was happy. Next time he wasn’t in the kitchen and I used water and spices and he raved about them. What people don’t see they don’t complain about.
    If milk has gone up then I assume butter will go the same route.
    Try buying a lb of butter and a lb of margarine. let them get soft then whip them together both will stay soft and you save money and the taste is not that noticeable if you start with small amounts of margarine and gradually add more.
    One lady I know used to do this and she let her little ones pick a colour of food colouring to add to the butter. Some weeks she had green butter the next week it was red. The kids loved it and for company she always had the normal colour. MIL’s don’t appreciate a blob of blue on their mashed potatoes.
    When you freeze milk make sure you use a blender to remix it. Makes it more to the regular appearance.
    just a couple things I learned over the years.

    • says

      I too have always used water instead of milk in scrambled eggs. The water makes them lighter and fluffier. Also if you let your butter get soft you tend to use less because it is easier to spread where if it is hard many people cut off big chunks to dot their toast or what ever with and end up using more then when it is soft and thinly spread on.

  2. Bea says

    Grandma, I was wondering where you were. I like the use of water idea. I will have to try it in my scrambled eggs. It’s amazing how creative we get when there’s a need. We use the imagination God gave us.

  3. Janice says

    I use powdered milk alot for cooking, but just can’t stand the taste of it. I read somewhere that if you mix a gallon(-1 cup) of powdered milk and add 1 cup of regular milk, shake well, and let chill overnight, the powdered milk tastes just as good as regular milk. So I had to try it, and it works! So, since I freeze regular milk if I can catch it on sale, I will let it get a thick sluck to it, then cut off top of milk container and scoop up one cup servings into ziploc bags( make sure milk is a thick slush so it wont leak from baggies), label and date them, and then freeze again until I am ready to make another gallon of powdered milk. I reuse the cut containers for starting seeds, temporary planters, and even as a cubby for all the season/gravy mix packets that used to disappear in my cabinet. I even have one under my bathroom silk to store all my hair accessories.

  4. Katie says

    I use a spoonful of mayo in my eggs, they come out light and fluffy, and a little bit flavored.. but my kids who don’t like eggs will eat them that way. I have used sour cream too with the same result. Grandma, I loved your comment about MIL don’t appreciate a blob of blue on their potatoes.. made me laugh! Too funny!

    We buy organic milk, because we have children who are very sensitive to chemicals etc, and it is very expensive.. now when I am at the grocery store, I check the sell by dates on the organic milk, then go back a day or two before that date and there are always four or five gallons for 50% off because they are close to expiring. I buy them all, then drain a inch or so off the tops of each for that days milk, and freeze what won’t be used before it goes bad. So we drink organic milk all month long for actually less then regular milk.

  5. rose says

    i didnt know you could freeze milk.. how long does it last if you do this? ..
    actually here where i live milk never goes on sale and well .. i buy what i need and it never stays in the house long .. i normally buy just a quart size 2 x’s/week instead of 1 gallon/week .. its less milk in the house .. and it doesnt spoil either ..
    but that is awesome u can freeze milk ..
    and here where i live the organic milk it just a few cents more than the regular milk .. but we drink 1% .. and i havent seen 1% of the organic milk yet (or even 2% for that matter) .. until then .. we will drink regular 1% …
    i do that too grandma.. use a bit of water to make my scrambled eggs …
    also if i make corn muffins (jiffy brand) i use half and half instead of milk .. they come out fluffier .. i am not sure how much i use bc i dont measure it .. i just eyeball it .. and if it looks ok then that is all i use .. (again i do what my grandma did .. a pinch of that .. a dollop of this .. etc etc etc .. hehee :D )
    thanks for posting this ..
    great ideas :D :D

  6. barb~ says

    Be sure and pour out a little of the milk before freezing-it will expand.

    I started buying cans of evaporated milk several months ago. I pour the can in a pitcher and added water to make 2 qts. I also add a bit of vanilla extra, and then chill well. I use it as I would regular milk in all recipes. It’s also fine for hot chocolate, etc. I can buy a can for 59 cents. Great price for 2 qts. of milk! I also like having cans on hand during these winter months. I never know when it’s going to snow!

    My son is in the hospital tonight in Wichita. He had major surgery this aftenoon and recovery will be slow and very painful. His name is Scott and I know he would be so grateful for any prayers sent his way. Thanks much.

    • says

      Glad to hear your son came through the surgery ok Barb. You are right often the surgery is the easy part and the therapy afterwards is what is painful and hard. We will be thinking of him. Tell him to hang in there.

    • Michele Anne says

      This is a great idea. Especially in winter for me as I can’t always get out to a store that has economical prices. Thanks.

  7. says

    When my two brothers and I were young, my mom would get our milk right from the dairy farmer. It was easy for us to go through two gallons of milk a week. When things got a little tight, she started mixing the dairy’s milk half and half with reconstituted powdered milk. None of us ever knew until we caught her in the kitchen do the mixing one day.

  8. Carol says

    Great suggestions! My mom always used dry milk for baking/cooking and mixed 1/2 dry milk with 1/2 whole milk for drinking.

    If you omit milk from a child’s meal because they’re having another dairy product (yogurt, cheese) please consider that not all dairy products contain vitamin D like milk does. I am a big dairy eater and was surprised to find I was vitamin D deficient! Check the food labels to be sure.

  9. Rita Buhr says

    I have never tried powdered milk. Is it really cheapier to use? Do you mix powdered milk with whole milk, 1% or 2%? I think I will try this as hubby will be retiring from the Marine Corps after 24 years and are not sure what his “retired” salary will be. We think he has a job lined up but I won’t county my chickens before they hatch. I am always looking for a way to get the food bill down and to do it with healthy home made meals and snacks. Thanks for all the great info!

    • says

      Rita, dried doesn’t always save. I find milk marked down for $1-$2 a gallon so it doesn’t even come close to being cheaper than that. Just do that math and if it does then it’s worth it at least for baking.

  10. Denise says

    I did the math for powdered milk where I live, and it’s not cheaper at all. I like using it in my coffee, so I buy the large boxes and it still costs the same as it would gallon-by-gallon. You can always get coupons for cans of evaporated milk, though, and use them around the holidays to stock up. If you don’t like the taste, just mix it with regular milk and you’ll never notice.

    • GrandmaNancy says

      This has bwen fascinating reading! I’ve never put water or milk or anything but eggs in my scrambled eggs… so this was an education to me. But I also scramble them in the pan as they cook, which yields fluffy yellow and white eggs… many of my friends whip them in a bowl first and get uniformly colored but firmer eggs. I do that when making an omelet, but add about a tsp of green salsa for flavor and loft….. maybe the same idea as adding milk to scrambled eggs?

      As for milk… the cheapest in our area (S. California) goes for abt $3/gal for non-fat, $3.25 for 1‰ or 2‰, and 3.50 for whole milk. Powdered milk = about $4-$5 gallon when mixed by the instructions. We tend to buy our 2% at Costco, 2 gallons for abt $6.25… freezing at least one (after pouring off about 1 cup to allow for expansion. We’ve thawed them up to 6 mos later, no problem. Takes 1-2 days to thaw in the fridge. Just shake them well after thawing to “re-homogenize” the milk. Good for at least 10 days after thawing (we never took longer than that to drink it up! )

  11. Minda says

    Because I live 100 miles from the nearest big store (our little store in town charges up to $5.00 a gallon), I have always bought and froze milk then mixed it 1/2 and 1/2 with powdered milk and water. It’s not cheaper but I can’t freeze enough milk to make it last until the next time we go to the store. I buy whole milk and mix it with powdered milk and water according to the instructions on the powdered milk. I can’t seem to taste the difference once it is chilled. You must remember to take out 1 cup of milk before you freeze it or you’ll have a mess in your freezer!

  12. Melanee says

    I grew up on powdered milk. It was my job to mix a half gallon for dinner each night. There were five kids. My mom never mixed it in the morning to get it cold so it was tap water cold then I’d toss in some ice cubes to make it colder. I use to suck on those milky ice cubes when they were poured in my glass. You could probably put ice cubes in regular milk as well. I was used to it, but when I got married my husband wouldn’t have anything to do with it. I felt spoiled having regular milk. We’ve done lots of different things over the years. Bought milk from neighbors, substituted rice milk when we thought we might have allergies, had our own cow, bought milk on the marked down, used it only for cereal and had only hot cereal- it takes less. Right now I get fresh milk from a friend who only charges 2.50 a gallon. I skim the cream to use and am learning to make cheese. Cheese and cream are expensive, but this saves a lot. DH would alway buy half n half or cream to make hot chocolate and put in hot cereal after we had to move and give up our cow.. Now we don’t have to.

  13. Gayla T says

    I get by on milk because we are all lactose intolorant to one degree or another. No one in our family ever just drinks a big glass of milk as they would be rolled up in a ball on the floor with stomach cramps. Some over the years have even had to use goat milk for baby formula. The rice milk is unmercyfully expensive so we just don’t use it. We all take vitamins for D and calcium. For some reason, for us if it has chocolate in it the chemistry of it is different and some of us can use it. Also, bringing it to a boil lets us use it in cooking. I don’t remember the science of it but many can use it that way. I can eat potatoe soup if I let it come to a boil before serving it but would be in misery if it isn’t boiled. I use a lot of cheese to get enough dairy in us. It is not good to give children milk now days anyway unless you are buying it from a dairy that doesn’t use hormones on the cows. If you do let them have a lot of milk that is just the regular milk from the grocery store you are getting the hormones that cause the cows to give more milk and it makes girls start their periods much younger. I recently read that the average age is now 9 1/2 years old. In boys and men, it is causing infertility. Many couples who need help getting pregnant because the male has fewer and slower swimmers. Sadly, those same hormones go right through our bodies and back out into the water supply and can be detected in our tap water. The same with birth control pills. I had wondered why so many couples need help getting pregnant and that is the reason. I was thinking it was because women are older when they are ready to have a baby but evidently that is not true. However, we will probably be having a huge increase in pregnancies since Pfizer is recalling over a million containers of birth control pills. So many women were getting pregnant all of a sudden and it has been found that these pills didn’t have enough hormone in them to keep the pregnancies from occuring. There should be a lot of surprises being born in about 7 or 8 months from now and a lot more milk being needed. LOL

  14. rose says

    when i visited my sis in law .. she had organic 1% milk .. never noticed it in the store b4 .. when i got home,,, yep the dairy manager said they just started having it in stock ..
    i couldnt taste the difference but the price was higher for this brand ..
    i like their chocolate milk . its actually processed at the same plant as the t g lee plant/factory (we have one near us and i used to know a man who worked there and he told me its the same milk as the t g lee chocolate milk as in the publix brand chocolate milk) .. same milk but paying much less for it! …

  15. Rhonda Miller says

    I had a nutritionist give me this tip! Purchase whole milk and then water it down. I do 3/4 whole milk and 1/4 milk. You could use slightly more water or to taste. You get a lot less fat and the milk goes almost twice as far.

  16. Mickee says

    Jill: As much as I appreciate your saving money tips and this particular article on saving milk, I just can’t. We love milk and drink lots of milk. Not that white chemical stuff in the jugs at the grocery store either, the “milk” that comes from the cow to the container. Yes, we drink raw milk. So, mine cost considerably more than what you mentioned in the article, but I do think the health benefits out weights the cost. I also saw the comment about making something from a box that requires no milk. How about making something from scratch. I have learned many things, like making my own laundry detergent, dish washing detergent, tooth paste, deodorant, bread, rolls, etc. and the list goes on and on and this I feel allows me to afford the more nutritious things like raw milk, free range eggs, and grass raised meats. Just my 2 cents, don’t have to agree with me, just my opinion on what we do around here.

    • says

      Vickie you can make homemade butter Vickie but you use heavy cream (the stuff you use to make real whipped cream). Before Cool Whip and such we had to whip our own cream all the time and many cooks would end up with a disaster because they would whip it too long and it would turn into butter.

      What you do is you buy heavy cream – any amount. Place a blender and start blending after about 5 minutes the butter and buttermilk will start separating. Gently squeeze the butter against the sides of the blender and pour off the butter milk. Add a couple of pinches of salt and if you are going to eat it right away you are done.

      Now if you want the butter to last a little longer and not go rancid you need to pour off the buttermilk then add ice cold water to the blender and blend a few seconds more and then pour off the water. Do this again until the water is pretty clear and all of the buttermilk has been rinsed off.

      You can also do this with a mixer. Use your whisk attachment to start it then switch to the beater paddle so the butter doesn’t gum up the whisk. Do just like you did in the blender. Pour off buttermilk, add ice water, add salt to taste. Be sure to use your splash guard for your mixer and mix on slow at first because it can get messy in a mixer.

      I will maybe rewrite this and post it as an article to make it easier for everyone to read.

  17. mary says

    I make better butter. I use a lb. Of salted butter. I but it on sale and freeze it. I set it out and get it soft. Sometimes I put it in the microwave for 30 sec. I pit it in my mixer and whip it. I slowly pour in 2cups of your oil of choice. I whip it for a couple of minutes then pour it into a tub. It will get solid overnite. I use it as a spread. My family loves it coconut oil will not work. It gets to hard. I use peanut oil.

  18. anna says

    2 BEST ways to save on milk–
    1. Aldi, you can buy a gallon of milk at aldi for 2 dollars and it still has 2 or 3 weeks on its shelf life. I know aldi isn’t everywhere but look around at other discount grocers in your area.
    2. Most of the time in cooking milk and water are interchangeable. If it’s a smaller amount–use water, if it’s a larger amount, say 2 cups, use one cup water one cup milk.

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