Going Beyond Coupons To Save in the Dairy Department

by Miranda Jackson
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Sometimes, it isn’t as easy to save in the dairy department as it is in other sections of the grocery store. These tips can help you cut costs without clipping coupons.

You probably already watch for sales to cut dairy costs, and dairy coupons aren’t always easy to find.

The following tips can help you save in the dairy department without clipping a single coupon or waiting for a sale.

Look for Dairy Loss Leaders

One of the grocery stores near me sells milk and eggs year-round for a few dollars cheaper than any other store in the immediate area.

I’m sure these are just successful loss leader products to encourage people to shop there regularly. But I save about $5 every week to pop in and pick up a few gallons of milk and/or a few dozen eggs.

Buy Store Brands

The loss leaders mentioned above are store-brand products. Even if they aren’t loss leaders, store brands are typically cheaper than name-brand items but still offer comparable quality.

Quite often, the store brand is actually a name brand with a different label. (See Who Makes Store Brands?)

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Freeze for Later

Some dairy products, such as cheese, butter and milk, can be frozen to extend shelf life. Stock up when prices are low and freeze for future use.

You can even freeze eggs. Just use these tips from Good Housekeeping.

Make Your Own Dairy Products

Try making your own yogurt, cheese or butter at home to save money and control the ingredients. Here are a few recipes to try:

Substitute Powdered Versions

You may not want to eat powdered eggs for breakfast with a tall glass of powdered milk, but these products have a much longer shelf life than their fresh counterparts and can help reduce waste.

Powdered milk or eggs can save you money if you find a good sale on these items and do a lot of baking or cooking that calls for milk and eggs. You might also want to pick up some powdered cheese if you find it on sale. You can easily make Mac & Cheese or whip up a quick cheese sauce.

Use Less

Reduce portion sizes to make your dairy products last longer. For instance, use less cheese on a sandwich or less cream in your coffee.

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Prioritize Your Dairy Consumption

If you’re on a tight budget, prioritize your dairy spending on items that provide the most nutritional value, like milk and yogurt, over more expensive, less nutritious options, like ice cream or specialty cheeses.

Also, consider choosing more affordable dairy products, like cottage cheese or cream cheese, over more expensive options, like specialty cheeses or imported products.

Only Buy Dairy in Bulk When It Makes Sense

Larger packages often offer a lower price per unit, so consider purchasing larger quantities of milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products when they’re on sale. However, if it is something you can’t eat or freeze before it will go bad, pass on those bulk purchase savings.

Consider splitting the cost of bulk dairy products with friends or family members to share the savings if you can’t take advantage of bulk dairy pricing on your own.

Be Mindful of Expiration Dates

Dairy expiration dates can sneak up on you if you aren’t careful. If you often find spoiled dairy in your fridge, note expiration dates and attach the list to the front of the fridge so you can plan meals around items nearing their expiration dates.

Reviewed November 2023

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