How to Save Money on Dairy
Here are some easy ways to save big on milk, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, and eggs.
This post is part of a series on How to Save Money on Real Food where we cover how to save money on meat, produce, grains, and dairy.
Look for clearanced dairy items at your grocery store.
Stores will mark the price down on dairy products as the “pull date” approaches.
Learn how to make your own dairy products.
It’s easy to make your own dairy products, especially yogurt. Find an easy “how to make yogurt” tutorial here.
If you find a bunch of clearanced heavy cream, make your own butter by hand or with a Kitchenaid mixer.
Try making your own sour cream — all you need is milk, heavy whipping cream, and vinegar.
Know the difference between “sell by date” and “day it’s going to mold date.”
Almost all dairy products can be safely consumed well after the date printed on the package. Our family is constantly using out-dated cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, butter and yogurt. My theory is that God gave me a nose and a tongue for an actual purpose. If it smells or tastes bad, we don’t eat it. If it smells and tastes fine, it probably is safe.
Don’t throw your dairy products away based on the date printed on the container.
Know your dairy prices.
This is a good category to know which store has the lowest prices on which items your family uses.
For instance, Costco is my go-to store for shredded cheese if there’s not a sale (and I do not shred my own cheese) — about $2-3 per pound depending on how the market is fluctuating at the time. If I find shredded cheese for less than this, I go crazy.
Grocery stores regularly put milk on sale for $2 a gallon in the Pacific Northwest. You can get a dozen eggs for $1 or less every couple weeks. I buy two-pound bricks of cheese when it’s $5 or less.
When I see these prices, I try to buy 2-3 weeks worth of these items to last me until the next time it goes on sale.
Stock up when it’s on sale.
I purchased a case of Tillamook butter during a previous and stuck the whole box in the freezer. I have a dozen or so bags of shredded cheese in the freezer from a big sale a few weeks ago. I always buy multiple bricks of Tillamook cheese when it’s $5 or less. Sealed cheese stays good for months as long as you don’t open it.
Use this strategy as much as possible when you find a great sale!
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