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How Can You Save Money on Dairy?

The cost of dairy products is alarming. Dairy isn’t something I can afford not to buy for my family. It is a necessary part of our diets. But, finding ways to save a little money on dairy each week will keep my food budget where it should be. Here are a few ways to help you save money on dairy products.

Cost of Milk Over The Years

100 years ago, the average yearly income was around $600.  The cost of milk that many years ago was nine cents for a quart of milk.  Over the years, the income has increased, along with everything else.  In the 1980s milk sold for around $2.30.  In January of 2015, milk was priced at $3.75.  The price of milk and other dairy keeps sneaking up.  For a family of 5, it isn’t unreasonable to assume you have to buy three or four gallons of milk each week to feed your family.  That ends up costing $11 to $15 of your food budget spent on milk.  That doesn’t include other dairy items that are priced just as high – cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, etc.

Why More Expensive

The surge in the cost of dairy has risen due to a few different factors.

  • Obviously, over the years, inflation has caused milk, along with everything else in increase. As the cost of items rises, how far your dollar stretches begins to shrink.
  • Dairy increased due to the hike in the cost of corn in 2012. The farmers had to spend more money to get feed for their dairy cows, passing the cost on to us in the price of the dairy products produced.  The corn increase is starting to even out, meaning the price of milk has been leveling out the last few years.
  • The demand for milk in other countries has caused dairy producers to export 35% more products in 2014 than in previous years. Exporting milk to other countries helped diary producers reach a record in 2013 of $6.7 billion.

Having to meet all the different demands of not only US citizens, but now citizens in other countries has caused the cost of dairy to increase in price.  We can’t do much to change the cost of dairy products, but we can be aware so that cost doesn’t break our food budget each month.

How to Save Money on Dairy

Coupons don’t usually come for butter, cheese, milk, cottage cheese, sour cream and other dairy products.  You will have to take the initiative to keep the cost down for your family.  Here are a few reasons how.

  • Look for ways to use less dairy each day. Pour a little less milk on cereal or put one less slice of cheese on your sandwich.
  • Buy cheese in a brick instead of shredded. Buying the brick will cost less per ounce, but you will have to shred it yourself.
  • Watch for sales on dairy. Sour cream was on sale recently for almost $0.70 less than normal.  It might not seem like much, but any savings is money in your pocket.
  • Buy the generic brand of cheese, butter, milk, yogurt, etc. The store brand cheese was recently on sale for $3 less than the name brand cheeses.
  • Compare prices per ounce. Buying the larger container of yogurt is cheaper than buying the smaller containers.
  • Be aware of routine sales. The grocery stores around where I live offers one day a week where milk is $1.97.  That is almost $1.50 less than normal.  For families needing to buy four or five gallons of milk, saving $1.50 per gallon makes a difference in your budget.

Take advantage of the different sales opportunities to save money on dairy products.  The costs most likely will increase before they decrease.  Learn now how to save money.

Find What Works for You

Being a mother of small children, cutting back milk and other dairy isn’t something I can do.  Dairy is a good source of calcium, builds strong bones and helps with brain development.  Instead of cutting back the amount of milk I let my girls drink, I watch for different sales and look for other ways to save on my budget, affording me extra money to spend on dairy.  I would rather spend the extra money on milk and dairy, than pumping my girls full of juice or other unhealthy snacks and drinks.