We Paid Cash: A Grain Mill

We paid cash!

A testimony by Gretchen from Extraordinary Ordinary Life

For two years now, I have been wanting a grain mill. I researched the different types and read reviews and finally decided on a Nutrimill. However, I did not want to pay full price.

How I Saved

I have a small checking account that is separate from our main family checking account. We put money into that account whenever my husband gets paid.  This small account is for groceries, clothes, and a few extra items.

I take out the cash that I need for the week (per our budget) from this account and save any extras I can. Since I try to buy my groceries in bulk and make a lot of things from scratch, this allows me to be able to save a little bit from our grocery budget each week.

The Search is On

After several months of setting aside the extra money from our grocery budget, I was able to accumulate $200 extra in that account to use for the grain mill. Once I had enough money in savings, I began checking Craigslist and searching for “grain mill” or “Nutrimill”.  (I wanted to buy from Craigslist instead of Ebay to avoid shipping fees.)

A few weeks ago, I finally found someone who was selling their Nutrimill grain mill. The person recently found out she could no longer have gluten so that is the reason she was selling it.  She listed it for $150 so I quickly sent her an e-mail that I would love to buy it.

A Grain Mill + 50 Pounds of Grains (and more!) for $196!

When I went to the seller’s house to buy the grain mill, I found out that she also had extra kamut, spelt, and millet she was willing to sell so I bought 50 pounds total from her. Plus, I was also able to purchase bread bags, bread pans, and a grain cook book. She even threw in a waffle maker for free!

I ended up paying $196 for the Nutrimill and all the extras I purchased from the seller. Since I had saved $200 for the grain mill, I was right under budget! I was so excited I found all of this for under $200 since a new Nutrimill runs about $260 just by itself.

Tips for buying a grain mill:

  • Do your research! Read reviews and find out what each mill can do and what grains can be ground with it.
  • Price grains — it will do you no good to buy a grain mill if you can’t afford to buy the grains.
  • Be patient — people usually keep their grain mills forever but occasionally you will come across them.
  • Check estate sales, Craigslist, and Ebay.
  • Negotiate and be willing to walk away if the deal is not a good one.
  • Know your prices. Some people on Ebay are selling grain mills for more than you can buy a one new.

Tips for buying from Craigslist:

  • Always bring someone with you, especially if you are going to someone’s house that you don’t know (or meet at a public location). I have bought several things from Craigslist, including blueberry bushes, canning jars, and now a grain mill. It is a great resource, but you need to make sure you take the proper precaution when you are buying from someone you don’t know.
  • Bring cash and look over your purchase before you leave so you can make sure it was advertised correctly.

Gretchen is a stay-at-home mom to three kids and a wife to one hard working husband.  She blogs about her ordinary days at Extraordinary Ordinary Life.

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? Submit your story for possible publication here.

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Comments

  1. says

    How inspiring! Great job! You put out the want/vibe and it came to be :-). Smart shopping. It makes me want to read up on the uses of a grain mill.

  2. Becca says

    I bought my new to me mill under similar circumstances. While mine is not a Nutrimill, it is electric and works GREAT!!! The previous owner told me she had only used it a handful of times and she needed to go gluten free. I bought it for half of her purchase price and paid $60. I was absolutely STOKED!!! I knew that a Nutrimill was probably not something I could afford. I was hoping someday that I could get something like a KTec. This one is very much like the K-Tec and I am MORE than pleased.

    I have six children altogether. I have a son with milk, peanut, and tree nut allergies and safe store bought bread for him is pricey and not easy to find. I have another son who is hypoglycemic and finding a good bread for him was also not cheap. All of my kids now eat my freshly baked whole wheat bread and it is so much better for them!!

    Thanks for the great story!!

    • says

      That is a great price! I would have taken another mill, but Nutrimill happened to be the one I wanted. So it worked out really well.

  3. sarah says

    After seeing a mill in a previous post I raised the idea of geting on with my husband who asked how long it would take to pay for itself and if it’s worth the investment. I know that it varies depending on the price of the mill & bread we usually buy, plus whether I would use it all the time.

    I can usually get a loaf of whole wheat bread for about $1-1.50. I guess I’m just wondering if it’s worth it.

    Anybody have any opinions?

    • says

      I live very remote, so buying grain is more expensive for me (although I do buy it in bulk right from a farm). I figured out a loaf of bread costs me about nearly $1 to make. BUT, it is hearty 100% whole wheat bread! We don’t need to eat as many slices to get full, it has the fresh ground grain (the entire kernel as opposed to just a part of it), and organic grains at that. So, for you, financially, it’s hardly worth it. But if you are into “whole foods” and desire to feed your family the healthiest bread version, then yes, it’s worth it. You’d save a bit as you go, but it’d still take a long time to pay off.

    • says

      It depends on the recipe you use, and the price of wheat. I have seen wheat at 25 pounds for 25 dollars in 2008 (it was 25 pounds for $4.95 in 2007 at the same place), and then down again, and up again. When it’s low, you can stock up on wheat. Properly stored, it can last 30 years.

      Some people use a lot of oil, or honey, or vital wheat gluten in their bread. The prices of those all contribute to your total cost.

      I use whole wheat in my carrot cake, to make chapatis, and more. Some people go completely whole wheat, and use it to make everything, including pizza dough, cookies, etc. (I figure if I’m eating chocolate chip cookies, I can eat them with all-purpose flour, but to each his own!)

      Also, you can use the mill to make flours from other grains.

    • Heather says

      Totally worth it! It will take a while to pay for itself, but a good mill should last a lifetime. Plus, store whole wheat bread usually has more sweeteners in it, and homemade tastes way better. You also can use it in other things, like pancakes, waffles, biscuits, etc.

  4. Becky says

    I just checked my local Craigslist, and sure enough, there is a Nutrimill listed.
    I have been searching for grain mill, but never thought to search by brand.

  5. Therese says

    Could someone tell us the why’s of owning a grain mill? The idea had never crossed my mind before, i dont know anyone who owns one.

    Health perhaps? To avoid preservatives? or economy?

    • says

      Properly stored, wheat berries can last 30 years. Flour last much less (and whole wheat flour even less than that).

      Depending on the mill, you can also grind rice, corn, beans and more into flour. If you’re gluten-free, havign a grain mill to grind things other than wheat can save you a ton of money on specialty flours.

      Some mills only crack the grain, and some make coarser flour than others. I have a Nutrimill as well, and it makes very fine flour.

      When I was researching buying a mill, I read a lot (and saw several mills in action) before deciding on which one to get. I put those articles, along with some places for buying bulk grains and foods, together here: http://theprudenthomemaker.com/grains.aspx

    • says

      It definitely is for health reasons. Store-bought flour has been processed to have a long shelf life. They do that by removing several parts of the kernel that otherwise spoil quickly. So whole wheat flour from the store is only a step up from white flour, as it’s basically white flour with bran added back in it (still better than white!). When you grind the flour yourself, you have the entire kernel in your flour. The wheat bran, the germ, the oil, etc. Fresh-ground flour actually has to be stored in the freezer if not used right away, so it stays fresh. So grinding your grains yourself gives you a “whole food” to cook/bake with. There are a lot of great “bacteria” in fresh ground flour to disappear within 48hrs of being ground (freezing it helps keep it fresh). You can grind things other than wheat too, such as spelt and kamut mentioned above. Or field corn for cornmeal, oat kernels, rice, etc. Hope that helps answer some of your questions! :)

  6. Amy says

    Yes, I am curious too. I make a lot of bread but in my bread machine. I am curious to know more about why a grain mill and the pros of bulk grains.

  7. says

    Gretchen,

    You got an amazing price on your mill!

    A couple of weeks ago, someone who was moving asked me if I wanted her brand-new, in the box Wonder Mill (10 years old and never been used). I already had a Nutrimill, but I jumped on it for a friend of mine who was looking for a mill.

    I think checking Craig’s list is a great way to go! A lot of people are moving right now, and you might just find one!

    • says

      Thank you! I was just really intent on getting a Nutrimill, but if another mill had come up I would have jumped at the chance as well.

  8. Pamela says

    Oooooh!….Can I just recommend a helpful blog? I hope you’ll not take offense, Crystal, that I’m recommending another blog (I tell all the cashiers I come into contact about MSM!!), but heavenlyhomemakers.com helped me SO MUCH when learning about grain mills. The whys, cost, how tos, etc…. She even has a letter to husbands about why wives should get a grain mill!

  9. Katie says

    That is a great story! I use my Nutrimill at least once a week. I buy large bags (I think 25lbs) of Wheatberry from Walmart to make wholewheat breads.

    • Frances says

      Where is it located at Wal-Mart and what is the price? Where do you live? I wonder if it is a regional thing. I did a search and Wal-Mart site and found the Wheat Montana Prairie Gold 25 pounds which I usually buy but it is not available in my area. I e-mailed customer service…

      • Katie says

        @Frances- It is located in the baking isle on the bottom shelf where they have flour. It sells for $12.68 per 25lb bag at my store & it is the Montana Prairie Brand. I live in South Bend, Indiana. Wal-Mart’s across the US sell is but not in every store, only the large ones. I have 3 Wal-Mart’s in my area within 15 miles & only one sells it. Hope you are able to find some in your area.

        • Stephanie says

          Wow that is a great price. I thought getting 25lbs for $19 was good….will have to check our local Wal Mart!

  10. says

    I don’t have a grain mill but I did buy the dry container for my Vita Mix. I use it for wheat but also to make homemade baby cereal (just grind up brown rice or oats into a fine powder and then cook in boiling water for 10 minutes – 1/4 cup powder to 1 cup water). It’s so great to be able to buy wheat in bulk and just grind some up when I need it.

    I like the versatility of having the Vita Mix. I use the wet container to make smoothies and baby food, among many other things. It was a large investment but it’s been well worth it over the years.

  11. Becky says

    I recently got an app called “CraigsPro+” that supposedly will notify you when an item comes up that meets your search criteria. I haven’t tried that feature yet, but it could be a great asset in a scenario like this.

  12. Kerry says

    My mother-in-law went on a temporary health kick and bought a wondermill, bread maker, and all the specialized pans from http://www.breadbeckers.com/. Then she decided she didn’t want to put the work into making her own bread and gave it all to me. I was thrilled to get it and use it often.

    • Kerry says

      Yes, I did get really lucky. But I think there are a lot of people out there like my m-i-l who buy a mill like it’s a diet craze that will help them lose weight. Then, when they don’t drop pounds they get tired of it and get rid of them. It’s not about losing weight but about eating healthy. Maybe some of you looking for a mill will run across somebody like that who is willing to sell it cheap.

  13. Liz Stewart says

    I’ve had interest in buying a grain mill, but I’m wondering where you price wheat?? Do you just find a farmer willing to sell somewhere?? Do you buy it by the pound?

    • Michelle says

      A bulk foods/natural store would have it. You can also get it online. I’ve bought from Honeyville before and been very happy. Sign up for their email list and they run 10% coupon codes every few months, they also have flat rate shipping (all orders ship for $4.99).
      If you buy online in bulk make sure you figure in shipping because you could be buying up to 50lbs then.
      Some Walmart’s even have wheat berries (mine is not one of those). Finally if you know anyone who is LDS (Mormon) they would probably be able to direct you to a good source as wheat berries are a main component of their church directed food storage because of their 30yr+ shelf life.

    • Kerry says

      try breadbeckers.com. That’s where I get mine. They are close to me but they have co-ops all around

  14. Sakura says

    I am currently saving for a wheat grinder/mill. I’m not in a hurry, so I have a change jar that keeps track of the money inside. I put “found” money into this jar. I have about $100 saved so far. Even though I don’t have a mill yet I have purchased wheat. We have the outlet store for the Blue Chip Group in Salt Lake City. When I was there I started talking to the manager and he told me that he just got a shipment back from Walmart the pallet was damaged. The buckets were of wheat were fine. These buckets sell for $15+ retail at Walmart, but I was able to purchase them for $8.00. I don’t know if it was a good price, but I thought it was at the time.

    Good job on your purchase, I hope when I’m ready I’ll be able to find an awesome deal too!!

    • says

      Wow, you are the second person that said you could buy wheat at Wal-mart. I am definitely checking it out when I go there next. What section is it in?

      • Mrs W says

        Walmart store in Somers, WI has it on the bottom shelf in the baking aisle. Before I learned this I called the store & asked, they told me ‘no’…a few weeks after that phone call, I was in the store & happen to see the big 25 lb. bag…so, either the employee had no idea what product I was really talking about or they started carrying it after I had called.

  15. Fay says

    Does anyone know if the flour that comes out of the Nutrimill is comparable to the 100% Whole Wheat Flour sold by Sujata or Sher brands? These are the brands that are sold in most Indian Grocery stores. We use the flour from these brands to make Indian Chappati’s which are basically whole wheat tortillas. I am just wondering if the flour texture that comes out of Nutrimill is fine enough.

  16. Rae says

    I have been intrigued by this for a while. I don’t have room in my kitchen for anything else right now but we are moving in November (approximately) and if our house that we move into has a bigger kitchen, I want a grain mill and a VitaMix :P

  17. Mrs W says

    IF purchasing used does the company still honor the warranty? Or do you have to purchase from it new?

    We are a family of 8. I’ve had my Nutrimill about 4 & 1/2 years when I had the motor fixed, it was still working but not on 1 of the settings. I called, spoke with them & was told to send in the top part (motor section). I paid shipping to them. They fixed it & sent it back to me. My only cost was the shipping to send it to them. I was pleased with the customer service.

    I also wish I had a back up hand crank mill for times when I may not have electricity. Wondermill and the Country Living Grain Mill ? Anyone have advice on which one? I’d appreciate it.