I've never really paid much attention to the price of milk. We're lucky enough to have a dairy about 1.5 miles from our house that sells the most delicious milk in returnable glass bottles. The price has always been comparable to what you'd pay in a grocery store but the taste is far superior. In other words, there was never issue over where we would buy our milk, it was always: THE DAIRY.
However, now that Mr. Bean is gone, I find that the milk from the dairy, which can only be purchased in 1/2 gallon containers, often goes bad before I can finish it. Also, now I'm the only person running household errands, making a special trip to the Dairy for milk is sometimes inconvenient. Add in the recent press on the
I use milk in my cereal, and occasionally will drink a glass or use it in baking or cooking. I always buy skim, but I'm not opposed to drinking soy milk instead of dairy milk. The options that are acceptable to me (with current prices / gallon):
Non-fat milk from the Dairy: ($3.00 / gallon)
Nonfat milk from grocery store : ($3.35 / gallon)
Soy milk ($5.98 / gallon)
Re-constituted non-fat dry milk: ($2.25 / gallon)
So, milk from the Dairy is cheaper and tastier. Unless it's a major obstacle to get to the Dairy, I'll definitely continue to buy liquid cow's milk at the Dairy rather than the grocery store.
But, is milk from the dairy really cheaper than soy milk?
I usually buy 8th Continent soy milk which comes in a 1/2 gallon container. Once it's in the fridge, it has a long refrigerator life. The packaging says to use with 7 days of opening, but I find that it lasts much longer. In addition, I often get 8th Continent save $1 on a 1/2 gallon coupons from the Sunday paper. This, when doubled by the grocery store effectively brings the price to $1.98 / gallon, thus making soy milk the least expensive option. When the soy milk is on sale, it's usually $2.49 / half gallon, so with the coupon I'd pay only $0.49 1/2 gallon or $0.98 / gallon.
Benefits of the non-fat drink milk are that I can mix it up a quart at a time, thus eliminating the risk of spoilage. Also, if I keep NFDM on hand, I can drink soy milk for liquid consumption, but will have cow's milk on hand for recipes.
In actuality, I'll probably end up using a mix of all 4 of the options outlined above. Since I don't really drink much milk, the cost savings of one over the probably doesn't amount to a very big hill of beans. My little analysis underlined the benefit of taking advantage of the $1 of soy milk coupons when they are available.