I’ve talked to you before about How to Shop for Heart Healthy Dairy Products. So, now I wanted to share with you how to save money when buying those heart healthy dairy products. Since dairy products are such an important part of our daily nutrition, it’s great to know there are ways to cut the costs of purchasing them.
How to Save Money on Milk
Make sure it’s worth it before you go around to lots of different stores or warehouse clubs to save money on milk. I buy milk from our local Costco, but only if we’re already going there for our every 3 week stock up trip. If we’re not, I don’t make a special trip, because the cost of gas to get there and back wouldn’t be worth the difference. Instead, I just buy it at Walmart, which usually offers the lowest price, compared to other grocery stores.
Also, make sure to buy milk that tastes good and will last. Costco has the best tasting milk, and Walmart is second. A lot of other stores’ milk goes bad very quickly, and we end up wasting it. So, buying other milk, even if it’s on sale, is a waste for us since I end up throwing it away.
Look for the milk that won’t expire for awhile. I always check at least 3 gallons of milk in a row, to see which ones will expire last. Then, those are the ones I purchase. If you buy one that expires soon, chances are, it will go bad before you can use it, and then you’ll just end up throwing it away and wasting your money.
You can even make your own milk. I’ve never tried it, but my husband grew up on milk they made themselves because it was much cheaper. You can make it with nonfat dried milk. If you try it, you should probably try it in cereal, recipes or smoothies first, so your family has a chance to get used to the difference in taste.
*This post includes some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
How to Save Money on Yogurt
Yogurt often goes on sale and has coupons, so I always look out for that. Almost every week, either my youngest son’s yogurt, or mine has coupons in the Sunday paper or online. I also make sure and take advantage of Walmart Savings Catcher. Walmart has a better yogurt selection than some of my local stores, so I usually buy my yogurt there, so the Savings Catcher, helps me save money.
You can also make your own yogurt. I’ve never tried it, but I’ve seen several recipes for it on various blogs and other places online. They even have lots of yogurt makers available now for making regular yogurt or Greek yogurt. I may have to try this sometime; maybe in the summer when we’re off school.
How to Save Money on Cheese
Don’t be so quick to buy a huge block of cheese on sale at a wholesale club. If you’re not actually going to use that much cheese, it’s not a good way to save. Also, remember to compare the unit cost of the bigger package to the smaller package, to see if it’s worth it. Especially when you factor in coupons and sales, in this case, the smaller unit might be more cost effective.
However, at a regular grocery store, block cheese is usually less expensive than shredded cheese. Sometimes shredded cheese even costs double what a block of cheese does! A hand grater or food processor can come in very handy for shredding those blocks of cheese.
Cheese with stronger flavors, like sharp cheddar, is a good choice because you can use less of it in recipes. You’ll still get a nice cheese flavor, and you save money because you don’t have to use as much.
Buy cheese from the dairy case rather than the deli or gourmet section. The same exact cheese is much cheaper in the dairy case, sometimes up to 63% less!** Also, the deli often sells pre-packaged sliced cheese. If you ask for the bulk cheese to be sliced for you, it’s usually cheaper per pound. They also put their bulk cheese on sale once in awhile, so keep your eye out for the cheaper prices.
You can stock up when cheese is on sale and freeze it. Since the consistency of block cheese changes after freezing and thawing, it’s best to shred it before you freeze it. Also, if you buy a big bag of shredded cheese, break it up into smaller bags before freezing, so that way you only thaw the amount you’ll need. If you add a spoonful of flour to the bag and shake it up before you freeze it, it will come apart easier after you thaw it out. **
How to Save Money on Eggs
Eggs can go on sale for a really low price, so keep your eye out on the sales. Even the omega-3 eggs that I buy at Sprouts, goes on sale every few weeks, so I always make sure and buy some then. Eggs last for 3 to 5 weeks after you buy them, so you’re sure to use them by then.
How to Save Money on All Dairy Products
It’s okay to buy store brand dairy products. Both brand-name and store-brand products have to meet USDA requirements. So, there’s no reason to spend extra money for the brand-name when the products are almost exactly the same. I buy store brand milk and most cheese, and I haven’t found any difference in taste. The only store-brand cheese I found that is different is sliced cheese. For some reason, Walmart’s cheese doesn’t stay good very long, so I buy name-brand sliced cheese. However, I try to only buy it when I have a coupon for it; and it’s an extra bonus if it’s also on sale. On the other hand, store-brand shredded cheese is perfectly fine.
Just like meat being marked down soon before it’s expiration date, like I wrote about in my post, Saving Money Buying Meat Doesn’t Have To Be Hard, the same thing happens with dairy products. They will often be marked down, and they’re good for a week after their sell-by date, so you can get a good deal. If it isn’t marked down, ask the department manager if he can mark it down, or knows when it will be marked down.
Make sure you store your dairy products properly so they don’t go to waste. It’s best to keep them in the back of the refrigerator where it’s the coldest. When you open a product, seal it back up properly. If it’s a large block of cheese, cut it into smaller pieces and wrap them up really well with plastic wrap. That way you only take what you need and the cheese you don’t need at the time, doesn’t get exposed to air too often.
Although I mentioned earlier that it’s not a good idea to go to your wholesale club just for milk, it is a great idea to buy milk and other dairy products on your regular club shopping trip because the savings are worth it. Club stores also have great savings on eggs, cheese, egg substitute, whipping cream, cream cheese and half-and-half. If your family consumes a lot of these items, make sure you purchase them on your trip.
Take advantage of sales and coupons. Often, the name-brand dairy products will go on sale, and if you can combine that with coupons, it’s usually cheaper than the store-brand. I mentioned above that I do that with name-brand sliced cheese.
So, there are lots of great ways to save money on dairy products, which is important since many of us include lots of different dairy products in our daily eating habits. You just have to pay attention to sales, coupons, be willing to buy store brands sometimes, and know which parts of the store to buy from.
What are your favorite ways to save money on dairy products?
**I received my statistics and some information from The Coupon Mom’s book.