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Reader Tip: How We Save $133 On Milk Per Year

Felicia from Mommy Excursions emailed in this tip:

The national average cost for a gallon of milk is $3.79, or $0.24 a cup. To make this stretch farther, we simply add four cups of water to half a gallon of whole milk. This will make an extra eight cups of milk per gallon resulting in the cost being $0.16 a cup. We use, on average, two gallons of milk each week so this method saves us around $133 a year!

If you are interested in trying this, I recommend that you always buy whole milk and always add the water before first drinking any milk from the container. Lastly, it can be hard to get used to. I recommend starting out slow by adding a half cup to one cup water per half gallon milk for a week or two, then go to two cups and gradually work up to adding four cups of water per half gallon. -Felicia

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285 Comments

  • Heather says:

    I think this is a good idea – for adults. Kids need all of the vitamins and fat that is in whole milk so I wouldn’t feed watered down milk to my daughter.

    • sherry says:

      we are the only mammals that continue to drink milk after being weened from our mothers. i don’t drink milk at all. i will sometimes add almond milk to my kids’ milk when I have the coupons to purchase it cheaply. they drink skim milk now, but i might try adding the water to whole milk since they use so much of it (mainly for cereal).

      there are plenty of other ways to get vitamins that don’t include ingesting the hormones contained in milk.

      • Paige says:

        I was just with my pediatrician earlier this week asking about what I need to do if I were to stop breastfeeding. While we are the only mammals who drink cow’s milk, we have also become a society who does not breast feed as long as perhaps was intended. My pediatrician said that when I stop breastfeeding that my baby will still need milk or toddler formula (made with cows milk). Wondering if its better for him to just breastfeed longer. Good point about the cows milk tho’.

        • Kasey S says:

          I say just nurse longer. You know what things are going into that milk. I breastfed my kids for 20 months & 28 months. They did have milk too but I knew they were still getting the good stuff from me.

          • Paige says:

            I agree. I’m going to stick to breastmilk (even if I have to pump) until he’s at the age that my pediatrician says he doesn’t “need” milk. My husband and I don’t hardly drink milk and my husband actually grew up on rice milk. But for those who already made the decision to not breastfeed at all and formula feed, (or had to formula feed- even tho’ they didn’t want to), talk to your pediatrician before you listen to us on a blog. You know moms, we tend to think we have all the answers 😉 Your Pediatrician knows best. I know there is a certain benefit of fat to brain development, but I don’t have all the facts.

          • Brittany Tschida says:

            Two things that completely fill me with joy… saving money and sustained breastfeeding! Props to you!

          • Hilliary says:

            wow, that is easy enough for those who can nurse, glad it worked so well for you! I only made it to 7.5 months because my son had latching issues after his stay in the NICU… I solely pumped until he could crawl, then keeping him out of trouble took priority. Milk is a staple, I drink a gallon every 1-1.5 weeks on my own, once he starts I know it will be way more.

          • Carrie says:

            Hilliary — You “only” made it 7.5 months, pumping exclusively? That’s nothing to sneeze at! I don’t think I would make it 7.5 hours.

        • Christine says:

          Hi Paige, I would just continue to breastfeed. Your baby will eat more, and as your child eats more, he/she will nurse less and less. I have a two-yr old and besides having cow’s milk in the morning with cereal for breakfast, I still breastfeed her at night before bed. I don’t give her anymore cow’s milk during the day. I don’t want to ingest more hormones from cow’s milk.

        • Lisette says:

          I would keep breastfeeding too! I have three kids. I am still nursing a 2.5 year old and am nursing an 11 week old. I nursed my oldest until she was 4. I wouldn’t change a thing!

          Another argument for mama milk vs cow’s milk. Mama milk is high in DHA. It is formulated for human brain development. Cow’s milk is high in calcium and protein for calves to develop the the strength and skeletal support that they will need to support their weight as adults. The daily value of protein and calcium that humans needs can easily be obtained from other sources. The DHA in breast milk isn’t so easy to come by!

        • Andrea Q says:

          I disagree that the pediatrician always knows best. They often do not know about food issues because most aren’t experts in nutrition (or in breastfeeding!). They often give out-of-date information, such as the recommendation to turn carseats around at 1 year.

          • Jen says:

            My thoughts, exactly – often mommas DO know better than the pediatrician! After all, we aren’t getting subsidies and incentives to give certain drugs or treatments to our babies, and we have that “mother’s intuition”. Often times doctors are following guidelines that are set out by agencies which allow themselves to be influenced by big business.

          • Sarah M. says:

            I do want to add that mothers should work WITH their babies’ pediatrician to fill nutritional needs. An article I read recently comes to mind – it was about vegan parents who starved their young baby to death by only feeding it soy milk and apple juice. Many parents are not educated on the nutritional requirements of babies, and while I listen to my mothers’ intuition in every situation, I make sure to balance it with the knowledge of professionals. If your intuition tells you that a doctor isn’t properly treating your child, then it’s time to find another doctor.

            (And thanks for throwing the car seat info in there…it’s hard getting the word out that you should wait as long as possible to forward face them!)

      • Wendy says:

        We’re also the only mammals who cook, earn money, educate our children and drive cars. I’m just sayin…

        • Tiffany says:

          Great point Wendy 🙂 We love our milk around here, too!

        • Tiffany says:

          I should add that we only drink organic milk – to avoid hormones amongst other things in conventional milk. Yes, it’s twice the cost but our health is worth it. I find other ways to save in our budget.

        • Susan says:

          I was just about the say the same thing! And we are the only mammals to use recipes, cook our food, and wash our hands!

        • Sharon says:

          You said EXACTLY what I was thinking!! I’m sorry, but adding 4 cups of water to a half gallon of milk is just gross.

    • Andrea Q says:

      Some children don’t drink cow’s milk at all and are just fine.

    • Allison V. says:

      I would have to say, it’s no different that giving them a glass of milk and a glass of water in the same day. A balanced diet will give them what they need too.

      • toni says:

        This is what I was thinking too. My son woudl drink 5 cups of milk a day if I let him, so I water every cup I give him down. My pediatrician recommends just one sippy a day of milk, so he gets 2-3, watered down. He still gets the nutrients from approx 1 1/2 sippys of milk, but he feels like hes getting more. I really don’t understand what the fuss is about. If someone announced that they didn’t give their kids any milk no one would bat an eye. My 4 year old won’t touch the stuff.

        • meryl says:

          I don’t think this sounds gross- and I know dairy is not for everyone BUT proper nutrition is vital to a child’s healthy development! Many people take their children’s health into their own hands without knowing all the facts.

          Please- do your research for yourself and your family’s well being before making any rash dietary decisions is what I hope people will do!

  • Samantha says:

    We do this with my daughters sippy cups during the day. At meals she gets regular non watered down milk, but if she wants it during the day instead of water or watered down juice she gets milk this way. It does save a bit of money too!

    • sherry says:

      i also add water to sippies…almost 1:1 ratio. it makes the juice last so much longer! 🙂

      • Melissa says:

        I still water down my kids juice (well, my older two, the baby doesn’t drink juice yet), and they are 6 and 8. I rarely drink juice, but if I do, I water mine down, too!

      • We also rarely drink juice. However, when we do our two oldest (3 1/2 and 2 1/2) get about 2/3 water and 1/3 juice. It probably helps that they don’t know what “real” juice tastes like 🙂

        • Naomi says:

          We do this, too. I enjoy drinking juice myself sometimes, but it’s always too sweet. Adding water cuts down on cost and sugar intake.

          • Samantha says:

            I do that for my juice, tea, kool aid (that just doesn’t get nearly as much sugar as recommended) and everything last longer. The only realy juice my daughter has had was the gerber juice but I tasted it and its very watered down =]

        • Holly says:

          If you’ve ever made real juice, it is waaaay stronger than even pasteurized bottled juice, you water that down at least 1:1! It’s whatever you’re used to, and hey some people just don’t like water but most people are dehydrated so if its a way to get them to drink more water that is good.

      • heather says:

        We love adding seltzer water to juice for a homemade “soft drink”. And I’m trying to ease up the milk habit around here- 1 gallon didn’t last 48 hours last weekend with 1 adult and three children going at it!

  • Laura says:

    I dont recommend doing this…you are cutting the calcium in half. If anything mix dry milk with regular milk.

    • helana says:

      theres more calcium in most veggies then milk. Also milk is an acid with no PH value which causes inflamation which causes allergies or colds. Over all plants are better in the diet for everyone. 🙂

      • Fay says:

        i agree totally. we have been programmed by the National Dairy Council that milk gives you the calcium but in fact it actually leeches calcium out of our bones. Read up on some Vegan books. It will help you decide.

        • Valerie says:

          Don’t believe everything you read. I’m a researcher (PhD), and just because a vegan book says it true does not mean it is true. (Think about it– you can publish a book on anything, and no one is guaranteeing the science).

          The best nutritional science (not sponsored by the national dairy council) shows that dairy provides the most calcium that is absorbed. It does not leech calcium, as espoused by the vegan books. Check out google scholar or some scientific journals, and please do not believe anything someone writes in a book.

          • Fay says:

            Its not the Vegan book saying it is true. It is researchers not funded by the National Dairy Council saying that Milk leeches calcium out of our bodies and is in fact not good for you. Even my OB-Gyn has advised me to not drink more than a cup of milk a day for my tea because it promotes breast cancer. Maybe you might want to “research” that!

          • Valerie says:

            Fay, believe it or not my “research” is not fake– I have a PhD from Princeton and currently work at Harvard.

            If you give me some actual citations, I will believe what you say. Just saying it is “researchers not funded by the national dairy council” doesn’t make it credible- it has to be peer reviewed and published, the whole basis for scientific study.

      • TNK says:

        Thank you!! My doctor advises her patients (100% are women) to NOT drink milk. She calls milk sugar water and that its not healthy to consume. She recommends veggies as a primary source for nutrients such as calcium.

      • Susan says:

        There is NOT more calcium in veggies than milk. You might want to look that up.

        • Helana says:

          maybe there is NOT more calcium but your body absorbes it more when it comes from veggies i HAVE looked it up Why would you NOT want to eat something that grows and has a higher PH rather then coming out of an animal that who knows what its been feed or done to and turns into acid in your body.
          Here are some examples of the calcium content for brassica vegetables:

          Collard greens, cooked, 1 cup – 357 mg

          Turnip greens, cooked, 1 cup – 249 mg

          Kale, cooked, 1 cup – 179 mg

          Bok choy, cooked, 1 cup – 158 mg

          Mustard greens, cooked, 1 cup – 152 mg

          Broccoli, cooked, 1 cup – 94 mg

          The recommended dietary intake of calcium for adults age 19 through 50 years is 1000 mg per day from food and/or supplements. An intake of 1200 mg of calcium is recommended for those age 51 years and older. By looking at the figures in the above chart, one can see that daily intake from a variety of brassica greens can provide significant calcium to a healthy diet.

          In fact, a higher percentage of calcium is absorbed from some of these brassica vegetables (including kale) when compared to milk. An example to illustrate this is the following:

          • Milk contains 300 mg calcium/cup x 32% absorbed = 96 mg calcium absorbed

          • Kale contains 197 mg calcium/cup raw x 42% absorbed = 83 mg absorbed

          One can easily see from this example how kale can be an important dietary source calcium source for forming and maintaining healthy bones and teeth, along with the other essential functions that calcium performs in our body.

          • heather says:

            There was a time I could fairly easily feed my oldest those foods. Then he met the rest of society… now milk (and some broccoli) is my best bet!

    • Kalee says:

      Yes, I’ve heard if you want to cut costs then to divide one gallon between 2 containers and bring them back up to gallons adding dry milk you’ve re-hydrated.

      But you lose some of the nutrients with dry milk, so really it’s a toss up!

      • Koree Fugate says:

        Good to know, ladies! I am lactose intolerant and have never liked milk probably due to the allergy. I know I am getting my calcium with my supplements : )

    • I always recommend that moms to do some research on the subject – I know I totally trusted the ‘only milk has decent calcium’ line I was taught in school, too.

      There is evidence that the more milk a nation drinks, the higher the osteoporosis rate climbs – see some of the studies referenced at the bottom of this page http://www.4.waisays.com/ExcessiveCalcium.htm – though I don’t know if I agree with the ‘excess calcium’ theory.

      There is also the reasoning that the extra animal proteins in milk are broken down to amino ‘acids’ which need to be balanced by a ‘base’ from the body and your body uses calcium to do this. So, there is debate that milk may actually use more calcium to counter its acid generating proteins than it gives.

      In any case, the point is there are many societies (with the data legitimately recorded and reported) who use much less or no dairy than we do and have little to none of the bone problems the dairy council and doctors have been scaring us with for decades. There are also a lot of plant based calcium sources that get very little press – nuts, flax seeds, all your leafy green, etc.

      And for what it’s worth, most doctors have little to no training in nutrition and tend to go by generic recommendation type info. When I was in med school and even on my pediatric rotation, we just got the party line with no documentation or reasoning to show the validity of it.

      With the internet and many published articles available to the public, you can educate yourself much better than many physicians when you are researching one specific topic.

      Good luck in making an informed decision for your family!

      Misty 🙂

    • Lana says:

      Humans cannot absorb the calcium in pasturized milk. Calcium can only be absorbed from raw milk.

  • Heather Finnegan says:

    Normally developing kids only need whole milk from age 1 to age 2, and after that my doctor and most things I have read says you can give them skim milk. If your child is small for age or your pediatrician recommends it, by all means give them the fattier milk. Otherwise this method is fine for kids over the age of 2. Will have to give this one a try!

    • Alyssa says:

      My children have extremely low weight (not at birth, just since!) and I’m going to give them Fat Milk, as we call it, for as long as they need those calories.

  • sarah says:

    Yes, I once thought this was a clever idea until I realized the nutrition doesn’t convey. I was buying whole milk for my little kids and watering it down for myself, but reducing the calcium. Depends on your nutrition situation. I wish there was a better way to save on milk – It’s so expensive!

    • Randi says:

      Sarah, I recently discovered buying milk at convenience stores. In our area, if you buy milk within 5 days of the sell by date, it’s a dollar off or half price. We go through milk quickly enough that the sell by date doesn’t really matter. I do this frequently and usually a gallon of whole milk for my 15 month old for between $1.50 and $2 – a smokin’ deal either way! I don’t know if they do that in your part of the country, but you might check it out.

    • jj says:

      You definitely don’t need to be drinking milk for calcium, take a look:

      http://www.kimberlysnyder.net/blog/2009/01/07/calcium-myths-debunked/

  • WhoNeedsMilk says:

    I saved $500 on milk last year by crushing up tums and mixing it with water. I also water down my gasoline so I’m only paying 50 cents a gallon. Not to mention the $300 I saved last year by using both sides of my toilet paper, lol.

    • Lindsay says:

      Bwaaahahaaaaa!!! I love it!

      • michelle says:

        I could not stop laughing, I was laughing so hard I couldn’t even read your comment out loud without laughing and crying it was so funny! Thanks for the great joke!

    • Brooke says:

      LOL 🙂

    • Kasey S says:

      Love it!!!

    • Kelley says:

      Too Funny….I loved it. But seriously for my family, I think a better option might be to drink less milk and more water. Water is super cheap right from the tap and great for the body.

      • I agree:) My girls get full on juice and milk…I don’t like watered down juice, so I don’t expect them to. But, they are limited in their amount of both. Once they reach the quota, they have to drink water. They have come to love water and will choose it over other beverages very often.
        We also drink water with our meals. I started this to get them to eat more and drink less at meal time. Worked great! Lately, I have been wondering if I should give them juice when they eat meat so their iron intake will increase, though.

        • Cassandra says:

          This is what I do in my home. My kids (5yr old daughter and 20mos old son) don’t drink much juice. Neither of my kids are fond of it. My daughter always complained that juice is too sour so we’ve always watered it down. And when there is juice in the house, because she gets a multivitamin, there is a limited amount she’s allowed to have each day. Juice is expensive!

      • NobodyNeedsMilk says:

        Wow, what a rude comment. Milk is not a necessity and plenty of people get along just fine without it. Cow’s milk doesn’t have a monopoly on calcium and vitamins. “Just drink water” is great advice, but the tip is on how to save money on milk. The OP clearly likes milk, so this is a good tip for people who want milk but want to save money on it.

        Just like I enjoy fruit punch from time to time, but I water it down because I enjoy it just as much watered down and that cuts cost and sugar.

    • Marie says:

      This comment made me LOL! I needed that. 🙂

    • ShelleyB says:

      Love your sense of humor!! lol

    • Bella says:

      I love your ideas? How do you water down you gasoline without ruining the engines????

  • Carla says:

    We drink skim milk. Does this make it taste like skim milk? We’re already used to that. 🙂

  • Katy says:

    We do that with my son’s juice. Generally ratio 2/3 water to 1/3 juice. Just gives him a bit of flavoring that way.

  • Danielle says:

    Sadly my family of 4 (1 is still being nursed- so actually 3 of us) go through 7 gallons a week… We could by a cow for cheaper than we spend in milk in a year 🙁

    • Rae says:

      Wow that is more than 2 gallons per person per week. You might want to check with your pediatrician. I know mine said not to give my kids more than 2-3 cups of milk per day and that if they are still thirsty give them water or diluted juice. Not trying to push anything on you of course it’s just a conversation you might want to have with your doctors 🙂

    • corie says:

      when i was a kid my mom would make milk from the powderd stuff and add it to the rest of the regular milk when it got low. i never realized she did that until i got much older. my point is that for me it taste the same and im sure it saved my mom alot of $. give it a try. if the kids dont like it then go back to the regular milk. but dont tell them that its different… lol. good luck

    • Ann says:

      Ask your pediatrician. Childres who drink excess milk can develop anemia (sometimes severe) I think it is called calcium incuced anemia. But please ask your pediatrician because we all need adequate calcium.

  • Beth S. says:

    Wow, milk is expensive where you live. It’s $1.69 a gallon here (for whole, 2% or skim). I can’t imagine paying double or triple that! Good idea though!

    • Kristine says:

      Wow, you’re lucky to live in a place where it’s so cheap. Our milk prices are closer to the national average, and my husband and kids prefer almond milk, which is even more expensive. I use some skim milk but mostly just for cooking.

      • Beth S. says:

        We are lucky. Its crazy that a QUART of milk is $1.29 and a gallon is $1.69…just crazy! We moved from the midwest to the west and it was $3 something in the midwest when we were there, so we were shocked when we got here.

        • Rae says:

          It doesn’t make sense does it? I don’t know how much the quarts are here but at Kroger the gallons AND the half gallons are both $1.99…. um that doesn’t add up to me lol

      • Emily says:

        That was my thought too. The highest I ever have to pay for a gallon of milk (non-organic) is $2.79, and that’s high. Couldn’t imagine paying another dollar per gallon!

    • Kristin says:

      Here at our local grocery store (in ND) milk has hit $5 a gallon. Thankfully we have a convenience store that sells it for $3.30 a gallon, so we buy there. I can’t believe how cheap milk is for you!

      • Kelly says:

        I can’t believe it either. Milk is regularly $4 here (in MD), unless I make a special trip to Aldi or Sam’s Club which sell it for $2.69.

      • Kristine says:

        Kristin, we lived in ND for 10 years, and lots of things were more expensive there than in the Kansas City area, where we live now, and I know that prices have gone up even more during the past few years. The one good thing was that we didn’t have to pay sales tax on food in ND. That adds a lot to our grocery expenses here.

    • Bethany says:

      At the local grocery store where I live in Alaska the milke is about 4.75 to 5.00, luckly many stores often have milk on sale for 2.99 to 3.50 a gallon!! watering down milk really helps my family out.

      • Melissa H. says:

        Wow, where do you live ($1.69/gallon post)? Here in MO it’s $3.19 for whole, $2.99 for 2%, and so on per gallon. I actually got some milk coupons in the paper awhile back and felt like I had won the lottery, lol!

        • Beth S. says:

          We live in Southeast Idaho. We moved here from Missouri…it was a nice “shock” when we went to the grocery store for the first time.

  • Bernadette Cooper says:

    My husband and i were just talking about that! It’s something I’ve been doing with cold, filtered water & just shared my technique with him. I did it when my kids were younger & never worried about their nutrition being deficient because we ate loads of fresh veggies daily.

  • Tammy :) says:

    We’ve done this for years and it works fine. You get used to it very quickly.

  • Darci says:

    maybe i’m missing something… i thought whole milk is more expensive than 2%. has anyone done a cost comparison per cup of 2% vs whole? Seems to me that its cheaper to just buy 2% (or definitely skim). I know young kids should have whole, but other than that why not just have skim milk to get a cheaper price per cup?

    • Sarah says:

      In Indiana all gallons of milk are the same price.

      • Darci says:

        oh ok. thanks!

      • Jen says:

        Not everywhere in Indiana! I live in NW IN, and whole milk is almost $3 a gallon, and the rest are down from there. It would still work out to be cheaper to buy a gallon of whole milk and split it between two containers, then add your water, than to just buy a gallon of skim. If you water down the whole milk, you basically get 2 gallons for the price of one. I don’t care for the taste, though, so I only do it when I don’t have enough milk for my cereal! 🙂

    • peever says:

      I was wondering the same thing. Skim milk is definitely cheaper than whole milk here so I don’t know that there would be any savings.

      • The Abundant Lady says:

        I actually did a cost comparison a couple of different times. I would prepare a batch of powdered milk (which tastes worse than skim milk to my kids) and then use it to dilute a gallon of whole milk to stretch out the milk. (So long as the milk remained ice cold the kids didn’t know the difference.) As for the cost the savings came only when I found the powered milk in the close out bin used some other discount method. When I purchased powdered milk from the store for full price there was no cost difference. This doesn’t include any adjustment made for the cost of your time etiher.

        NOTE: There is only a $.20 difference in cost from skim to whole milk here. And the some stores have a discount label that runs about $.80 less.

    • Where we are in Tennessee all types of milk cost the same amount.

    • Kristine says:

      Where I live, skim milk is cheaper than whole milk.

    • Naomi says:

      Darci, where I live, it’s the same price whatever kind you buy.

    • Rae says:

      here it depends on what store you go to. Aldis, Kroger, and Walmart have the same price no matter what kind you get. Costco and a couple others do different prices.

    • corie says:

      im in ct. if i go to the grocery store all milk is the same price. but if i go to the gas station then skim is cheapest, and whols is most expensive. i just paid 5.98$ for 2 gallons of 1% milk at the gas station…

      • Jessica says:

        I’m in CT too, but its 1% that is the cheapest at gas stations. I wish skim was the cheapest, thats what my husband drinks!

    • Charity says:

      In my area Whole 2% and skim are the same price

    • Michelle M says:

      In WI and MI skim is cheaper then whole. We made cheese for the the first time about 2 weeks ago and you need whole for that, otherwise I hadn’t really paid attention because we only buy skim. And a gal of skim can vary from $1.99-$4.00 depending on where I shop (Walmart has the most expensive milk in our area by a LONG shot).

      Different doctors say different things regarding milk. My kids weaned from breastfeeding at 15-18 months and our doctor said they could go right to skim, but none of them like milk so it mostly water here. Just DH and me with the milk.

      Everyone has to do what they are comfortable with.

    • kay says:

      at krogers in SW Ohio the 2% is more expensive in general – unless milk is on sale (then all is same price).
      On sale sometimes 1/2 are 1.25 each and gallons are 3.49
      I bet every other time I am there I have to point that out to someone who is grabbing a gallon!

      Not that I am trying to be sexist yet usually men who are told to pick up milk or REALLY old people who seem confused to be shopping or cant /dont bother to read the prices (I feel bad for them because you can tell groceries are very hard for them to buy becasue of finances!)

  • Leigh says:

    I’m all for saving money and diluting the fat…but aren’t you also diluting the calcium and overall nutritional value of the milk? We use a lot of milk, so I save money by buying it on sale (often 2 gallons for $4 at our local rocery) plus there are often sales where a free gallon of milk comes with purchase of 2 boxes of cereal, also on sale, and usually paired with a printable coupon. All low-fat, full-vitamins.

    • Holly says:

      If the kids are getting their nutrition elsewhere, this really should not matter. Or, if you live in my house, where the kids drink WAY more than 2-3 cups of milk per day, and we go through 7 gallons of milk in a week, they are still getting PLENTY of nutrients, but not so many calories. I don’t do this now, but have in the past. I like it best with whole milk because the flavor of the milk is still there. But I never water it down this much. I do it to taste. To each her own. 🙂

  • Poo says:

    I feel it is better to buy cheap milk or milk using ECB. Since food is one of the basic necessities of life. Its just my opinion so i cant say much.

  • Amber says:

    Costco always has 2-gallon packs of milk for less than $5, but this is another great way to stretch the dollars! In what I save on gas (at their pumps), cheese and milk alone, my Costco membership more than pays for itself. I have a price comparison list for which store has the cheapest prices on the items we always buy (for Albertson’s, Walmart & Costco), so I don’t waste money buying stuff at Costco that we don’t need or can get cheaper somewhere else.

    • Tammy L says:

      I love Costco, too! Their milk has been close to $2/gallon for several years… now (Seattle area) it is about $2.25/gallon, so still affordable! 🙂

      We usually drink water… when we have milk, we want it to be MILK, not watery milk. 🙂 Drinking plain milk is rare for us though! (I do make kefir with milk and we drink that…) 🙂

      • Corrine says:

        Tammy, We now make kefir thanks to your wonderful site. I tell my hubby stuff about your site and use your recipes all the time and the other day he said something about “your friend, Tammy”. I had to remind him that I don’t know you, I just LOVE your site and talk about the stuff you post all the time 🙂

    • Denise says:

      I love Costco also! I love the high-quality products at cheap prices. I buy all high-dollar items at Costco.

  • In my area fat free milk is considerably less than whole milk, which is basically what watered down milk tastes like 🙂

  • While I love this tip, what’s missing is the protein content. by diluting the milk, you are also diluting the nutrients.

  • lindswing says:

    You still are down calcium, vitamin D, and protein though! If you’re talking about someone’s primary source of those nutrients, you will have to increase overall consumption elsewhere, bringing your out of pocket costs right back up. And, you are still using a high saturated fat item, just somewhat watered down. Most Americans don’t get enough calcium or vitamin D, so be careful!

  • Paige says:

    I think I agree with Heather just on the standpoint that watered down milk dilutes the nutritients in the milk not just the fat, whereas 1% or 2% may still have the same amount of protein, calcium and fortified vitamin-D as whole milk. As a side note however, the Michigan WIC program has now determined toddlers do not necessarily need the extra fat in whole milk to the point that they do not even have Whole Milk on their food allowance list anymore. My son and I have to be on WIC and he is only a year old. We are allowed 1%, 2%, 1/2% or skim. Just food for thought. 🙂

    BTW! I love your site MSM!

  • Mary Ellen says:

    Here in NC all milk is the same price. I water down the juice for the little girl I nanny not but of price but because of the sugar. The milk is a different story, She doesn’t like milk and I can usually get her the danimals free and she loves those so we use them. Interesting topic though.

  • K says:

    I don’t understand why some are worrying about the nutritional value.

    I can’t drink milk. I never drank cow milk, even as a toddler….my body can’t handle it.

    I’m still alive and kickin’! There are plenty of easy ways to get those same nutrients found in milk. Leafy greens and beans for calcium, sunshine for vitamin D. Cow milk is not a necessity, but for those that enjoy it….I completely understand the idea of watering it down. That stuff is expensive!

    • Kristine says:

      I agree that milk is not a necessity. It’s possible to get the same nutrients from other sources, especially with all the milk alternatives that are available now. I had to stop using cow’s milk while I was pregnant with my son because it made me sick. And then even when he was old enough to drink cow’s milk, he never liked it. My other two kids don’t have the same aversion to cow’s milk, but they prefer almond milk. So does my husband.

    • Katherine says:

      I never drank milk either as a toddler. I remember drinking juice because I never liked the taste of milk. I recently tried almond milk and love it. To me, that’s how milk should taste. lol. But milk isn’t the only way to get vitamins and calcium. Having a healthy balanced diet is also good for that 😀

      • Fay says:

        Almond milk does have added sugar. Doesn’t make it healthier. That is probably why most people like it. Its the sugar.

        • Lora says:

          Some almond milk is sweetened, but you can purchase unsweetened varieties. We drink almond milk as well because my husband and 3-year-old son are diabetic and the sugar (and other carbohydrate) content of almond milk is SO much lower than that of cow’s milk.

        • Brooke says:

          only SWEETENED almond milk has added sugar. Read the labels. It is usually fortified with more calcium than cows milk and has much less sugar and calories.

          • Bella says:

            You may want to check out the stuff that some almond/soy milk contains, carrageenan. Some research found that it’s bad. My hubby won’t let me drink those products anymore.

          • Kristine says:

            I think that Silk Pure Almond is carrageenan-free, and the kind that I buy at Aldi is, too.

        • Kristine says:

          Cow’s milk has sugar (lactose) in it naturally, whereas almond milk doesn’t. The skim milk that I buy has 12 grams of sugar per serving, unsweetened almond milk has no sugar, and sweetened vanilla almond milk has 15 grams per serving.

    • Michele says:

      I agree. Millions of lactose intolerant people live quite healthy lives without milk products.

      We drink raw milk, but even then for a family of 6 its only a gallon a week. The kids yet a cup at breakfast & dinner time. And never juice. Water or some ice tea (sweetened with Stevia) after that.

  • Brandi says:

    our pedi told us that we need to limit the milk intake of our children to NO MORE than 24oz a day (3 cups). We have 2 kids and a gallon of milk lasts nearly a week.

    • Leslie says:

      I have heard the same thing about limiting the amount of milk my kids drink. Unfortunately my son doesn’t care! He won’t drink anything but milk unless there isn’t any left!

      My daughter can’t drink whole milk since it gives her constipation. I’m wondering if I could switch from 2% to whole milk and just dilute it for both kids…wouldn’t it basically get back to 2% that way? One gallon of milk is $3.20 here last I checked so it is getting harder and harder to buy milk. A thing of V8 juice is half that price so we’ve taken up drinking more of that to get some of the vitamins we need.

    • Susan says:

      There are only 16 cups in a gallon which is 128 oz and if each of your 2 kids drinks 8 oz or 1 cup a day then in 7 days they would consume 112 oz of milk (almost 1 gallon). So your kids are probably getting an average of 9 oz a day. I just wanted to point that out.

  • Brighid says:

    Another Costco fan here – with teenagers who drink lots of milk, our $2.09/gallon milk (13 cents a cup) is drunk in a day, assuming that they don’t have any friends over. If your family drinks a gallon a day like ours does, check and see if your market has marked down milk with a sell-by date two days ahead. I can buy this milk at $1 a gallon and it’s gone by the sell-by date!

  • Heather says:

    Random thoughts:

    This could be the kind of thing that makes kids grow up and go the complete opposite way of their parents’ frugality. I’d be very careful about doing this. Unless, of course, one is in DIRE financial straits, and then one’s children will probably understand and be proud of their parents for perservering through difficult times.

    One could also drink a little less milk.

    Just because other mammals don’t drink other mammals’ milk doesn’t mean we shouldn’t or can’t.

    Many toddlers just won’t breastfeed often or long enough to keep the mother’s supply up for sufficient nutrition.

    I personally rarely drink milk these days, so I have no axe to grind here.

  • Nancy Karrer says:

    We buy raw milk from a dairy. This is superior to pasteurized milk because the nutrients are not cooked by the pasteurization process. It costs $3.75/gallon but when compared to organic milk (Horizon’s is like $3.79 a half gallon) it is super cheap. And it’s SO GOOD. It’s so good that I have become a milk snob and cannot bring myself to drink store bought milk anymore.

    • Amy says:

      Nancy, I couldn’t agree with you more that raw milk is the best! We start our milk share next month and I’m so looking forward to it.

    • Holly says:

      It’s illegal to buy raw milk here in WI. Isn’t that crazy?

      • Sarah says:

        hehe – this made me smile 🙂 Cheese headquarters of the nation and you can’t buy raw milk. Craziness. I’m sorry…….

    • Andrea Q says:

      I agree with raw milk in principle, but it is really difficult to find in some areas/states. It is illegal in at least 10 states. You’re getting a really good price, Nancy! It’s $6/gallon here in New Hampshire, but in other areas, it can be as high as $12/gallon.

    • Jen says:

      I totally agree that raw milk is best!! We wouldn’t drink milk if we couldn’t get it raw. I can’t believe how little you pay… I’m so jealous! We pay $8 gallon, but it’s worth every penny. 🙂

      • Charity says:

        I hear you! Same price for us as well, but worth it! 🙂 One day we hope to live in a situation where we can have our own milking cows!

    • Michele says:

      Nancy we drink raw milk here too! Your price is great, we pay $12 a gallon in South Florida. But we only buy one gallon a week for the 6 of us. 🙂

    • Holly says:

      One farmer near us has had her raw milk graded B (which means it can be used for animals or to make cheese, I believe… this could vary by state, not sure) so while she sells it as a “cat treat” and can’t legally say its fit for human consumption really it is raw milk so you could buy it and drink it. I haven’t bought it because I feel I need to research the specifications on grade B milk and visit the farm first, but it could be a possibility

    • Jen says:

      And, while Horizon might be organic, it is ULTRA pasteurized.

  • Amy says:

    I could never do this. As a matter of fact, we are starting a cow share next month in order to move our family to raw milk. From the raw milk, we will also get butter, yogurt, soft cheese and sour cream.

    My family are milk junkies.

    • Holly says:

      They have cow shares? Awesome! WI is backwards. It’s illegal to buy raw milk here. Cannot wait until they get that law changed. I want a cow share. What state do you live in?

      • Laura says:

        My understanding is that buying into a cow share IS the solution when buying raw milk is illegal. (As it is in my state.) The reason it works is because, technically, you aren’t buying the milk. You own part of the cow and are paying someone (the farmer) to house it, take care of it, feed it, etc… Since you are one of the owners the milk (or a portion of it) belongs to you.

        • Holly says:

          WI’s big milk industry is so huge and greedy that raw milk shares are specifically outlawed, as well. One of only 6 other states with such strict anti-raw milk laws. 🙁

          • Laura says:

            We live in WI and buy organic raw milk as part of a cow share. Right now the farms that sell raw milk are in a legal battle to maintain that right. Our farm is not allowed to advertise their raw milk right now.

            http://www.realmilk.com has tons of info about raw milk and availability.

      • Amy says:

        I’m in Texas. Yes a cow share is a legal solution to being able to buy raw milk.

    • Amen! I couldn’t do this either, but everyone’s different. 🙂

  • A great to save money on milke without watering it down is to buy it at a Sam’s Club or Costco! They sell milk soooo much cheaper!

    • Michele says:

      Good suggestion. But if one doesn’t have a membership, they need to factor that into the prices as well.

      • Michele says:

        And at our Sam’s Club milk is only $.20 cheaper per gallon. But I realize prices are different everywhere.

        • Dawn says:

          Yep, here in MD Sam’s Club is only about $0.25 cheaper than the grocery store milk (@ $3.69 or so). I buy milk at Aldi’s. Their prices change weekly but I’ve paid anywhere from $1.99 to $2.69 so much cheaper than Sam’s…and I will not be renewing my membership this year. I’ve price compared the staples that my family buys and I’ve found that between Walmart (which I’m not a big fan!), Target and Aldi’s, the price of my membership just doesn’t pay for itself (@ $40 a year!). Most of their bulk items are NOT cheaper than buying generic somewhere else. I’ve found about 5 items or so that ARE actually cheaper but IMHO my membership is not paying for itself.

          • Elaine says:

            Milk at all of the areas Sam’s Clubs here is more than a dollar less and sometimes $1.50 or so less than anywhere else. And we pay differently for different types (fat percentage) of milk.

  • Lavonne says:

    We save money on milk by mixing it with powdered milk. It really does save a lot overall. I keep the old empty gallon, and pour half of the new gallon into it. Then I add enough powdered milk to equal an additional half gallon, and the required water, and mix it all up. I do the same to the new gallon that is half full. My milk-loving 3 and 5 year old daughters cannot tell the difference.

    • Sherri says:

      That’s what I would do when milk prices soar, although I don’t mix quite half and half. I started smaller and worked up to about 1/3 powdered milk and no one noticed (I added the powdered when no one was in the kitchen to know). I use just powdered milk in things like mac and cheese and other cooking and no one says a word.

      Just make sure you know the price per gallon of the powdered kind- at the regular grocery store it can be expensive! I used to get mine at Sam’s Club, which was much cheaper. Too bad no Sam’s Club near where I live now.

      • Kristine says:

        I buy powdered milk at Aldi, and it’s cheaper than at the regular grocery stores or Wal-Mart. I use it for cooking.

    • Dawn says:

      Where do you get powdered milk that is cheaper? I bought a 25 ounce box of powdered milk at Aldi’s (the cheapest per ounce price I’v found) for $5.99 and it will make 2 gallons per the instructions on the box. The powdered milk that I’ve priced is just as expensive as buying regular milk. Can I buy it in bulk somewhere???

  • Hannah says:

    After being excited and intrigued by the title, I was more than a little disappointed by the content of this post. As another commenter said, “when we drink milk, we want it to be MILK.” We drink a lot of water other wise. I sometimes dilute the milk for baking purposes, but you can’t do that if you are trying to cook white sauce or something else that needs thickness.

    For those who are opposed to drinking milk because “we are the only mammals who drink milk after weaning”, just remember that in the Bible the Lord refers to “milk and honey” as a blessing. Obviously, I’m not trying to maintain that the Bible says everyone must drink milk. I’m just saying that if God refers to it as a good thing, there is no reason to be opposed to humans drinking it in general.

  • Beth says:

    I drank raw milk for almost ten years, from the time I moved with my family to Michigan up until I got married and moved too far away from the farm to continue drinking it. I miss it so much. There’s nothing like it. I especially wish I could get it for my kids. 🙁 The nutritional value is unequaled to the store-bought junk.

  • JRFrugalMom says:

    I have done this in the past, whenever milk prices got extreme, and we simply could not afford it. I still do this with all juice, and adding ice cubes to all glasses is a great way to extend a bottle of anything as well.

    Thanks for the tip.

    JR

    Frugality Is Free

  • Janna says:

    To those concerned about the loss of vitamins:

    Vitamins are light and heat sensitive, so much of milk’s nutrition is lost in the pasteurization process. Vitamins are also light sensitive, so some nutrition is also lost when you buy milk in clear cartons.

    Last, there’s been some research done to show that milk actually causes your body to lose calcium, rather than supplement it. This is because milk is acidic and must be neutralized. It’s neutralized by drawing calcium from your bones. It takes more calcium to neutralize the acid than the milk actually delivers to the body!

    • Fay says:

      Yes, I read this in the book “The Kind Diet” by Alicia Silverstone.

    • ann says:

      I agree. I went off milk for a while and its been great. Its a food that causes high metabolic waste(acid) that impaires cellular function. All the inflammation and the mucus reduced once i got rid of milk. I’ve felt leaner, agile and stronger. My mom who is 68 has never had milk in her life and she doesn’t have osteoporosis. One can get enough calcium in dark leafy greens, sesame seeds ,etc. Again, different folks, different strokes. 🙂

      • Amy W says:

        That’s how calcium gets into milk in the first place- the green that the cows eat!

        Alicia Silverstone? I hope she had an expert help her w/ facts!

        • Fay says:

          Yes, she was quoting a study that was performed by researchers and scientists. Not her own research. She just put that into her book to inform the public.

        • Michele says:

          Of course that is how it gets there. No one is suggesting it doesn’t. What is being over looked is what the pasteurization process does to that calcium. Pasteurization destroys beneficial bacteria found in milk. It kills all natural occurring & beneficial enzymes and destroys the structure of calcium in raw milk.
          While I have never read the book for mentioned, I have done my own research because of many food allergies in my family.

  • Chandler says:

    Just a FYI and somewhat off topic. My son use to drink a ton of whole milk. We only allowed him to drink milk, water, and some juice. We found out that the milk was actually pulling nutrients out of his body, mainly iron because he was drinking too much. We had to put him on iron deficiency medicine for 6 months to get him back to where they were suppose to be.

    Just sharing to say that you can have too little of milk and then have too much of it as well. We thought we were doing good by giving him milk with all his meals and snacks.

    • Yes, I think I have read that before. That milk inhibits the body’s ability to absorb iron, while vitamin C increases it.

    • ann says:

      I was anaemic for a while and had to stop milk and take iron supplements to get back on track. It took me approximately two months dealing with all that weakness, hairfall, pale skin, etc.
      I’ve read that the calcium in milk forms an insoluble complex with iron in other foods making them unabsorbable. Also, too much of milk(more than 2 cups a day) causes kidney stones in the long run due to high calcium intake. I have a friend who had the kidney stone problem in his early twenties and used to drink 4-5 glasses of milk a day.

  • Julie says:

    We are not huge milk drinkers here. I have found that by drinking primarily water and not purchasing juice and very little milk we have been able to keep our grocery bill very low. I have an intolerance to dairy anyway and prefer almond milk. For the bigger kids 5 and 6 I do purchase organic milk. I have noticed that I can purchase a gallon of organic milk and it lasts a good two weeks before it expires. Much longer than the non organic. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it is fresher?

    • Jen says:

      It’s because most organic milk is ultra heat temperature processed. It is deader than dead. I would only buy organic milk that is NOT pasteurized in this manner. Look for UHT on the label, and avoid it.

    • Amina says:

      If you are interested in having milk even with a dairy intolerance, you might try raw milk. Many people with a dairy intolerance can have raw milk without any issues. The intolerance is usually a reaction to the dead, broken bacteria left in milk after pasteurization.

      And Jen is absolutely right that ultra-pasteurized milk will last longer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthier.

  • Amy says:

    I’m glad that works for your family. My feeling on drinking milk (and anything else other than water) is that it should be rare. Our bodies should learn to drink water as our normal drink. Other drinks should be an occasional treat. If you want to make milk be a source of calcium, protein, etc., in your diet, then drink it, but the habit of drinking twice as much to get the same nutrition just acclimates the body to expecting liquid calories.

  • Kristi says:

    I think I will choose to save money in other ways. I love skim milk to drink but I also cook with it all of the time and would be afraid of ruining some otherwise good recipes by adding water instead of milk, but I agree with everyone that we are all different and it may work for some.

  • Marisa says:

    I think the best way to save money on milk is to cut back on the milk you drink. We hardly buy any milk, mainly for some cooking, and use soy milk on cereal. I think water is the best thing to drink, personally :-), but I don’t like milk. Also, I agree with the others who have said that milk is not necessary for the nutrients and calcium. This is an idea promoted by the milk companies. My husband, a medical student, confirms this. As one of his professors (a doctor) puts it, “cow milk is to build big, strong cows.” I’m not saying it’s bad to drink milk, I think it’s fine within reason, but there’s not really any reason for the nutrition aspects that many believe. Also, it can be harmful for kids to drink too much milk. Sometimes they won’t eat as much because they’re drinking so much milk and then they miss out on so many of the essential vitamins and nutrients needed from other things.

  • Sandra Lee says:

    There are many, many ways to save, but cutting back on nutritional value is not one of them. What’s the point of drinking milk that has been watered down?

  • Leah says:

    So so happy to see so many people pointing out the uselesness of drinking milk. The small amount of nutrients you may get are so much easier to get through other sources! Cow milk is totally unnatural to drink – it’s made for baby COWS! Stick to water, a little juice, and almond milk is great on cereal (not a soymilk fan myself).

    • Amy says:

      I hesitate to point this out for fear of coming across as argumentative but there are a lot of things we eat or drink that you could argue aren’t “made for humans”. Bees aren’t buzzing around creating honey so that humans have a natural sweetener.

  • Carrie says:

    We’re also the only mammals who have extended our lives by using hygiene and figured out how to get more nutrition out of our food by cooking it.
    I read — I think it was in What to Eat When You’re Expecting — that milk is one of the cheapest ways to get protein.
    This tip seems fine for kids who like to drink milk and they’re still getting enough even when diluted, or from other foods. (And keep in mind that although vegetables contain calcium, it’s not always readily digestible.) But with my kids I have always struggled to get them to drink enough, and in fact one of mine won’t drink it at all. So the last thing I would want to do is cut their milk consumption in half and replace it with water.

    • Fay says:

      How is calcium available through vegetables not readily digestible?????? That doesn’t even make sense.

      • Karrie Richert says:

        She means that the calcium is not always absorbed, not digested. Many nutrients are only helpful to your body if they’re consumed along with another one. Calcium, for example, needs Magnesium, for your body to absorb and use it.

        • Carrie says:

          Thanks, Karrie. This link from Dr. Sears explains the concern, but also points out that it’s only a theoretical concern probably counterbalanced by other stuff in those leafy greens:

          http://www.askdrsears.com/html/4/t040600.asp

          However, note that you would have to eat more than 6 cups of broccoli to get the same amount of calcium in one cup of skim milk. A few leafy greens contain closer to milk levels of calcium. That’s not to say you should choose one over the other. Of course lots of kids grow up healthy without drinking milk. But it shows that if you choose to or need to skip dairy for getting calcium, protein and vitamin d into your kids, you may have to work harder to make sure they’re getting it from other sources where it isn’t as plentiful.

    • Mary S. says:

      Thank you for this comment. I just can’t buy the “other species don’t drink milk so we shouldn’t either” line of thinking. We do a lot of things other species don’t do. I am not going to stop cooking my meat just because other species don’t do so.

      I don’t think people need to drink tons of milk or that a child is being deprived and nutritionally crippled if they are lactose intolerant or something but that doesn’t mean milk is terrible for everyone.

  • Jamie says:

    Thank you for your tip! People are so negative sometimes when they leave comments – it makes me sad. Why argue so much? Many and most average people out there, do drink milk and this tip might help someone in a pinch financially.

    • Charity says:

      Exactly!! When my husband was unemployed for over 18months (without an unemployment check or any other type of government aid) I watered our milk down more than this to make it last! At the time I was pregnant, had a 2 1/2yr old and an 18month old, and yes we needed our nutrients, but we were delighted just to have food on the table. I remember feeding my babies the last of a can of corn and a few saltines for breakfast, not eating anything myself, and praying that they wouldn’t ask for more because there was nothing left to give them! Facing hard time like that will make you very thank God for even the watery-est of milk to have to feed your children!!

  • Anyone water down their soft drinks for their kids to remove the strength of the fizziness and sugar content?
    Possibly another way to save but for the health conscious, might be an option.

  • jessica says:

    why not just drink less milk? I give my kids a half a cup with their meal and if they finish it and want more, it’s water…same rule with juice if they have it. I don’t give it to them every meal though. If they have cheese or a yogurt, that is redundant to serve milk.

  • Teri says:

    I often times add extra water to my milk- especially when there isn’t enough for breakfast – no one has noticed at my house !

    • Jeni says:

      I agree – you can add to milk – and most people won’t notice, especially if you are mixing it with something else. MILK is GOOD. Keep the cows happy !!

  • Catherine says:

    I’m a big fan of watering down milk. Especially when I’m trying to lose weight. I even water down skim milk! You’re not losing nutrients, you’re just drinking less milk and more water! And that is a GOOD thing! You wouldn’t criticize a mother who gave her kid one cup of milk followed by one cup of water. So why criticize someone who gives their kid two cups of half milk/half water?

  • Mary says:

    Just paid $4 for a gallon of whole milk last night. Needless to say, we have been watering it down for a long time now, about 10 years. I never let my kids have a glass of milk, only milk with their cereal. All the kids are doing well health wise also. Thanks for letting me know we aren’t the only ones doing this!

  • kelly says:

    I used to mix 1/2 gallon of nonfat dry milk and add it to 1/2 gallon of whole milk. We really couldn’t taste the difference too much…

  • jj says:

    Seriously, this is possibly the worst money-saving tip I’ve read. First of all, it’s blatantly obvious that you could dilute something to make it cheaper/last longer, be it milk, juice, coffee, tea, vinegar, household cleaner spray, pepto bismol, hot sauce, etc – but the reason why most people don’t do is pretty obvious. Also, I don’t know what kind of lifestyle your family leads, but nobody needs to be downing milk like water unless you’re breastfeeding. Also, as mentioned by others, the point of drinking milk (at least in my family) is to get nutrients, not to just swallow it by the gallon when we’re thirsty.

    I recommend reading Kimberly Snyder’s blog entry on the aging, acne-correlated(!), harmful, and bone-density reducing properties of dairy, and then considering again whether you should be buying/drinking anywhere near that amount of milk (even diluted) per week.

    http://www.kimberlysnyder.net/blog/2009/12/08/the-acne-dairy-connection/

  • To the freezer says:

    I only buy milk when it is on sale. I keep one gallon in the fridge for the week, and then freeze the rest in my deep freezer. When ready for the next gallon, take it out the night before and it will be ready to go for the next day. We buy 1%, hormone free milk. Much better option than watering down, in my opinion. I think I save the same amount of money, if not more, by doing this. If you’re going to do this, be sure to pour a little bit out of each gallon before freezing (I don’t waste it; my kids get the first glass from each gallon).

  • Autumn says:

    My 5yr old son is allowed 1 cup and 1 cup of juice each day. After that, it’s water. He knows the rules and still drinks 5-6 glasses of water each day. The only problem is that he’s eating us out of house and home! We have no problem with him not eating, and I think it’s largely because he’s not getting filled up on drinks!

  • Courtney says:

    Different things work for different families. Personally, I would rather limit the amount of milk that our kids drink than go to the trouble of diluting it – plus, I just can’t imagine that diluted milk tastes very good!

  • april says:

    i do this with our milk..my 3 (ages 4, 11, 14) go through milk like crazy so this def helps the budget. Im not worried about calcium intake because they 1. take a vitamin daily 2. eat plenty of veggies that contain calcium and 3. drink calcium fortified oj(most of the time, but they have plenty of sources if they dont)and 4. eat plenty of other dairy products(cheese, yogurt)

    When they were all under the age of 2 i did not water their whole milk down so they would get the fats they needed.

  • Reading all these comments make me thankful that our milk in Central Ohio is so reasonable. I can get a half gallon at Buehler’s for $.79 on Tuesdays. {Once a week sale.} or I pay around $2.50 a gallon when it’s on sale. I’m proud to say we drink alot of milk in our family and love it. My son loves milk and won’t drink juice. I like to support our hard working dairy farmers and find that milk is a healthy choice for our family. I choose to buy it instead of pop. {translation: soda} 🙂

  • Nicole says:

    What makes me give these replies the side-eye more than anything is the carte blanche everyone seems to be giving their pediatrician. I can’t imagine doing anything just because my pediatrician recommended it. And I adore and respect him. But I still don’t think because he said so equals an informed decision.

    FWIW, my kids get whole milk from weaning to about age 2, then we switch to skim, because that’s what the adults in the house use. But we also don’t keep most juices or any soda in the house. They can have them if we go out, though. (Well, the 6 year old can, not so much the 14 month old.) They’re both really good about eating veggies (especially broccoli), so I don’t worry about them not getting calcium, etc.

    • Andrea Q says:

      I totally agree and commented above. Doing your own research is so important. And if you’re concerned, see a nutritionist (or other specialist).

  • Maggie says:

    I honestly think this isn’t great advice. I agree with the one who said that there are many ways to save money without cutting down on nutritional value, especially for our kids. Processed, store bought milk is ‘diluted’ enough as is, why rob the people drinking it even more by diluting it down? Milk is the one thing that I won’t even try to save money on. We buy non-homogenized milk from the farmer’s market or places that sell local products (non-homogenized simply means the cream rises to the top so you have to shake it–it’s still low temperature pasteurized.). Every whole foods I’ve been to has had this option from a local farm–the milk is usually in glass bottles that you pay an extra deposit for and bring back every week. We pay 2.50 per half gallon and go through two to three half gallons a week, depending on how much I use milk in recipes or for baking. There are so many better tips on saving money and still maintaining the integrity of the food you feed your family–growing some of your own food, cutting out processed and pre-packaged food (which is really one of the most expensive things–and one of the most ‘couponed’ things–this could save money and coupon clipping time) , baking what you would usually purchase (breads, waffles, ect), buying simpler ingredients. If you’re this concerned about the price of milk, just cut back on the number of glasses they drink per day and make sure your kiddos get plenty of those vitamins from other things–cheeses, yogurt and plenty of fruits and veggies. Plus, who really wants to drink watered down milk? And how much time are you taking to water down milk to only save $133 a year? That’s only 2.55 a week. There are so many better ways to save that amount of money per year.

    • B says:

      I agree with you Maggie, well said! We could water down a lot of things to save money but that doesn’t mean they are still the same product as before. Watered down gas will destroy your car (sadly I know this truth too well).
      I believe in saving money, but I don’t believe in living skimping to the point it hurts my family or others.

  • Haila says:

    Interesting discussion, though I’m not reading anything about Vitamin D. There’s been increasing research about how important that is, and fortified dairy is one of the better ways to get it. (Sunshine too, of course, but many of us northern climate folks don’t have that as a ready year-round option.) Unlike calcium, there aren’t many good other options. I wish they’d supplement more stuff, maybe that’s coming.

    One last question – purely out of curiosity, does everyone here keep their kids at home and never let them eat anywhere else? Undiluted milk is the norm in many schools and restaurants…

    • Fay says:

      You can get vitamin d by taking fish oil also. The carlson’s Norwegian Cod Liver Oil has 100% Vitamin D in it. Plus, just to get that Vitamin, why would you want to add the extra calories that come with milk anyway??

  • There must be a better way to save $133 than to do this!

    • Natalie says:

      That’s exactly what I was thinking, Maureen! If you don’t drink milk, that’s great for you and your family, but mine does and this idea does not sound appetizing. If I really needed to save the $133, I’m sure there are at least a dozen other ways I could do that in the course of a year. But, that’s just me!

      • Hey Natalie. I do drink milk and buy it at the local farmer’s market. It’s really delicious milk so I do drink milk. However, I just know of so many other ways to save than to add water to it. I just think it must taste awful all watered down like that. Yuck!

  • Amy W says:

    Aldi in the Cincinnati area has gallons for $1.79 !

  • I am thankful that we are able to get milk for $2.99. Also, Skim milk is often a few cents cheaper as well. I still have my girls drink at least 2% milk and I drink the skim. If they get juice it is typically watered down. I agree that feeding your family more healthy fruits and veggies are tremendous help, but I think for the moment we are going to continue feeding them milk too. I enjoyed reading all the suggestions and comments!

  • Amy W says:

    FYI to those above… my chiro says the best way to lose weight is to cut out dairy!

    • Amina says:

      Different people have different nutritional needs 🙂

      For some this might work. Others (like me) need the protein and fats that are easily available in raw milk. As others have mentioned, consulting a licensed nutritionist is generally a good idea when making dietary decisions. Most doctors do not receive nutrition training in medical school and may not be experts on matters of nutrition.

    • Lori says:

      Chiropractors are not experts in nutrition. Please consider consulting a Registered Dietitian.

  • Sarah says:

    My kids get 2-3 cups of milk per day, and it’s not all cow milk. Some of it is almond mill, and it’s muck cheaper to learn how to make it on your own. Here is a good set of instructions: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Milk-an-Almond-fresh-homemade-almond-milk/

  • Fay says:

    If you have Fresh and Easy’s near your home, I have a friend that purchases Organic Milk from them at 50% off. She knows which day they do the mark downs. She makes Yogurt with the excess milk and drinks what she needs.

  • Angie says:

    I’m at work and don’t have time to read all the comments so I apologize if this is a repeat question, but I must ask: What is the advantage of watering down milk vs. buying powdered milk? If I wanted to water down milk, I would just buy the powdered kind.

  • We Drink Milk... says:

    Wow! I was just telling my husband last night that I’m amazed how free we seem to feel about leaving harsh, judgmental comments on blog posts. Many of the differing opinions on here have been offered with respect, but some are just rude and hateful.

    It was a post on how she saves money on milk. Obviously her family likes milk and she has found a way to say that works for them. We should be happy for her that she’s found something that works! If we have suggestions or differing opinions they should be presented respectfully. For example, there are many reasons I know this wouldn’t work in my family. Most of the reasons are related to the fact that with my family, we drink different varieties (whole, 2%, 1%) because we prefer the different tastes. However, we all like milk so we go through several gallons each week. I don’t see that changing unless/until we just become completely unable to afford it.

    As far as whether milk is healthy or unhealthy, I’ve read many of the studies, both pro & con, and ultimately it’s a personal decision. You can find a study telling you that everything you consume is good for you and bad for you. There is no agreement across the board on anything. We all do what’s best for our own families. I do what’s best for mine, if it doesn’t work for yours then you shouldn’t do it. But if it works for mine, and my family is happy & healthy, why does anyone feel the need to judge what I’m doing?

    Crystal provides an incredible service with this blog. She’s pretty clear about the fact that she intends it to be encouraging and inspirational and she does a GREAT job of that. Shouldn’t we try to do the same with our comments?

    • We Drink Milk... says:

      Agh! I proofread & proofread & proofread before I submit… But obviously “a way to say that works” should be “a way to SAVE that works” LOL

    • Anna J says:

      Just a quick comment that I completely agree – we all have different families, different beliefs about nutrition, different body chemistry, and many other reasons that this particular tip may or may not work for us. I think the good thing about this tip was to maybe help someone think outside the box and that it was unspoken in the OP that each of us could think through the nutritional ramifications of that decision for ourselves.

      • Michele says:

        I am amazed how each time I read these comments that grown adults can not simply read a tip & think, “That’s not for me.” and move along. We are all trying to do what is best for our families. we should support that! Well said!

    • Kristine says:

      I agree. Well said.

  • Kathryn says:

    As I always say to folks, each family is different and everyone has different approaches/philosophies. For my family, I would never even think about altering the consistency of the Borden’s Milk that I buy since it tastes SO GOOD ~ and I buy between 8-10 gallons a week! This is THE brand of milk my husband prefers to drink. Borden’s Skim Milk is like no other. Drinking milk is a great way to maintain or lose weight and no, this doesn’t include ice cream shakes or floats ~ sorry ladies. Milk is a great source of calcium which is what women desperately need for bone structure/strength and it is just one good source. Don’t bash milk since there are probably a lot of other foods that our society eats that are 100 times worse. One can be money wise in many places but when you don’t have money worries on your shoulders, you can actually splurge a bit without any hesitation. Y’all have a great day!

  • Haila says:

    While there may be some savings from watering down milk, my thought if you can’t consider the entire amount to be savings.

    If your kids are drinking water, not milk, they’re getting fewer calories. That means (assuming you’re not also trying to have your kids lose weight) that they’ll be consuming more calories somewhere else. I know for a fact that whether I have a glass of milk or water with breakfast makes a big difference how hungry I am by lunch.

    Some of those calories may well be cheaper than dairy, but they’re probably not 100% free…

  • ksenia says:

    I pay about $4.25 for a half gallon of fresh, local, non-homogenized (very lightly pasteurized) organic milk from a small farmer. And it comes in a glass bottle. This lasts us about a week. Yes it’s pricey, but I make cuts and compromise in other areas of our budget to give my kids the absolute best milk option there is.

    • Crystal says:

      We miss our glass-bottled milk that we used to get in Kansas City. 🙁 Still searching for a good source here. Nothing beats milk from a local farm!

      • Julie says:

        Where do you live in Kansas? You can send me an email directly — I work for a local dairy in Nebraska, which is not local for you, but we may have some contacts in your area.

      • Allison V. says:

        Crystal, our “local store” has glass-bottled milk. Not sure on the brand or the price, but I have seen it at the VC location, and I bet they have it at PC too…

      • Cambria says:

        Where did you get it from in Kansas City? We are living out at Whiteman AFB and would love more options. ?

  • Sarah says:

    Wow, this discussion seems a little more heated than I would have expected.

    1. What’s right for one family isn’t always right for another. We should be encouraging each other, not putting down each other’s thoughts and ideas for what works for THEM.
    2. Breastfeeding may be the ideal, but women shouldn’t be put to shame if something causes them to not be able to. I nursed my oldest for 8 months. She was extremely ill the entire time. We later found out she was allergic to my milk. In addition, I had problems with my dopamine regulation, and became depressed and suicidal every time I nursed. I’m tired of people telling me I’m a bad mother for choosing to not nurse my second. If putting a child on formula is the WORST thing you ever do as a parent, you’re doing pretty good.
    Let’s encourage. The power of words is very strong.

    • Melissa says:

      I’m so sorry. 🙁 (((hug))) I agree with your post. I find that as women, we can really tear one another down with our judgmental words. I wasn’t able to even attempt to nurse my son as he was on a feeding tube, and I felt super judged because I didn’t last pumping very long, but later found out part of it was because I was very ill with a serious infection that I wasn’t aware of (C-diff). My other son I nursed until month 8, and (long story) I got mastitis numerous times and just had to stop. I felt very judged by a lot of people and that was really hard….ultimately, we need to respect and encourage- you are right, the power of words is very strong. Imagine what the world would be like if we would encourage one another and support one another’s decisions rather than tear each other down in an effort to prove we are “right.”

    • Crystal says:

      Hugs to you! And I so agree that we can learn from others and be inspired by others, but we ultimately need to do what we feel is best for our families — even if that is different than what our friend, relative or neighbor chooses to do. Life would be awfully dull if we all were carbon copies of one another. 🙂

      • Sarah says:

        “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13

        This should be the verse we think about from the moment we wake up until we fall asleep!

    • Sarah M. says:

      Thanks for your words on breastfeeding! Before my son was even conceived, doctors, nurses, and even just random people were telling me “breast is best!”. I was positive I would BF exclusively for the first year. Then I had almost the exact same experience as you, but only went 6 weeks BFing before we realized he had multiple food protein intolerances and was not tolerating my milk. It was actually making him quite sick. We turned to a dairy/soy free formula (Neocate), and it saved his health and my sanity. The choice was made way too difficult by well meaning people telling me that formula was “poison”. Now that he is one year old and he’s outgrown his intolerances, I’m grateful for milk, because $6/gallon for organic milk is cheap compared to the $40/can we were paying for his special formula!

      Like some of the above posters, I too once thought humans shouldn’t drink milk (I’ve been a vegetarian 20 years) but my mind was changed by 2 things:

      1. During pregnancy I became extremely ill with a mix of hyperemesis and gestational diabetes. I drank milk (and ate eggs) for the first time in my life, and found it was the only way I could get enough protein to grow my baby and balance my blood sugar. Despite my LOSING 15 pounds during my pregnancy, I had a healthy, nearly 7 pound baby.

      2. For babies who can’t BF for whatever reason (and there are many, many valid reasons) milk formula is literally a life saver. In the wild, an animal who can’t drink it’s mother’s milk simply dies. We’re very lucky to have another option.

      And to the above comments about humans being the only animals to cook our food… monkeys have been found to occasionally hold their food over fire as well. 🙂

      • Sarah says:

        We seem to have similar stories…and names 🙂

        I was severely ill with my firstborn all 9 months. I too lost weight. The parents who attacked me because of my issues with nursing, obviously never had a child who screamed 10+ hours a day, projectile vomited large amounts after every nursing, and didn’t smile until the day we started her on formula.

        I agree. I’m grateful there are options, and I’m grateful to have been blessed with a healthy family. In the end, that’s all that matters…children who are loved and cared for, happy and healthy.

      • Kristine says:

        That’s so interesting. I’ve been a vegetarian for most of the past 15 years, but my experience during pregnancy was totally different. I had to stop drinking milk while I was pregnant with my first child, and I was vegan for the next few years. I breastfed my son until he was 10 months old, and then he just stopped sucking, so I had to switch to formula until he was old enough to drink milk. (I used cow’s-milk formula because I was doubtful about the healthiness of some of the ingredients in soy formula.) Then, at 12 months, my son wouldn’t drink cow’s milk, so we had to find alternatives.

        My second pregnancy was with twins, and I developed systemic candida problems during the pregnancy, and I was plagued with, among other symptoms, a yeast infection in my breasts after the babies were born, which made it painful to breastfeed them. It took a while to resolve that, and although I continued to breastfeed until my twins were 12 months old, it was a very stressful experience.

        I think the fact that all of our experiences are so different just shows that we each have to do what’s best for our family, and what works for one family may not work for another. 🙂

  • lola says:

    We drink milk. On average, I pay $1.99 per gallon at Aldi or maybe $2.79 a gallon at Walgreens or Rite Aid. That is approximately $2.00 per gallon less than the national average cost of milk stated by the author of this article. So 2 gallons a week (one gallon skim, one gallon 2 percent) x 52 weeks = 104 gallons per year. 104 gallons x $2.00 price difference = $208.00 yearly savings. That’s more savings and better quality than drinking watered down moo juice.

    • Crystal says:

      I only wish milk was $1.99 at our Aldi. 🙁 A half gallon almost costs that much here!

      But, we have great deals on other things, so I can’t complain! There are pros and cons to everywhere you live!

      • Sarah says:

        I paid $5.29 for a gallon yesterday….luckily I had one of the “free milk” coupons from Albertsons, but that only covered $3.99. It was the cheapest gallon in the store, I was shocked!

  • Kathryn says:

    Just a little tidbit for society…

    “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou

  • Camille says:

    We only go through a 1/2 gallon of milk a week because I simply limit the amount of milk my kids get. They get one 8 oz serving per day of fluid milk. The rest of their dairy intake is from cheese, yogurt, etc. When they are thirsty, they get water. In fact, they are so used to water that whenever we go out to eat and their kids meals come with a beverage (juice, milk, soda), they don’t drink it! They ask for water.

  • Melissa says:

    A hearty kudos to Felicia for sharing her tip. I’m sure she didn’t mean to cause so much controversy over such a simple thing her family does to save money. I’m certain that if someone said they diluted juice no one would have such strong opinions.I always water down our whole milk while cooking to make it stretch further. All that said, I’m thankful for all the input this site provides:)

    • Megan says:

      Melissa, I agree. A seemingly helpful tip has turned into a debate and I find that an extreme turn-off. I think that if you have praise for a tip, that’s wonderful, but to criticize another is not needed.

      Our family generally dislikes milk because of the taste. My husband, 4-year-old and I barely make it through 2 gallons a month. Our daughter clamors for water more than anything (thank the Lord!) so we only use milk for cereal and cooking.

  • sarah says:

    I’m frustrated – I don’t have time to read hundreds of comments that don’t have anything to do with saving money on milk, which is actually the post topic and the topic I’m interested in! Not interested in a conversation about the nutritional merits of milk.

  • lyss says:

    Ha ha! I knew when you posted this that it would spark a million opinions! And everyone has done their research and still come to differing conclusions. Hilarious. 🙂

  • Please do not follow this advice if you have children, particularly very young children. The first thing that bothers me about this is that it reduces the nutritional benefit of drinking milk and the other is a matter of hygiene. Milk in a sealed container is not sterile, but it is pasteurized and introducing water using a receptacle that may not be sanitary could cause the milk to sour more quickly or possibly introduce pathogenic bacteria into the container. I don’t see that the savings a few dollars is worth it.

  • Julie says:

    I work part time for a local dairy doing demo’s in grocery stores on the weekends. They are one outfit that is really trying to be good stewards of the land as well as their livestock, and encourages patrons to visit their operation. One thing I did not see mentioned is that generally whole milk is always going to be more expensive because all the cream is kept in the milk. For example, last weekend we were selling gallons of skim, 1% and 2% for $2 (this was a good sale!), but the whole milk was on sale for $2.74. In other words, the dairy is already doing what you do at home (by watering it down, essentially), but in a more controlled environment. Also, if you are looking to save money, do some research and find a local dairy. We give our patrons information on sales, coupons, etc by email. ALSO, I get to take home the leftovers from demo’ing — so on those Saturdays that I work, I also get around 2 gallons of milk for free.

    • Kristine says:

      It depends on where you live. Where I live, skim milk is cheaper than whole milk, but in many other places, they’re the same price.

  • Susan says:

    We stock up on milk at $2 or less then freeze it. Regarding kids and milk, mine gag on it, we get about 1 cup down a day with dinner and the rest is water. They didn’t grow up with juice so aren’t used to it.

  • Lori says:

    As a Registered Dietitian it is concerning to me for both children and adults that you are reducing the nutritional content of a beverage that is high in multiple vitamins and minerals. I would find other ways to save money.

  • Susan says:

    Chill out, folks. If you don’t like her advice, don’t follow it. I’m amazed at what triggers a “mommy war.” It’s just what works for *her* family. You have to do what works for yours.

  • Debbie Lindsay says:

    Two things mothers should NEVER water down for their children — formula and milk!
    Please talk to your pediatrician about nutritional needs — and remember that an adult body is different than a child’s body.
    I am horrified that a mother would water down and limit the nutrition for their child.

  • Debbie Lindsay says:

    ps — I forgot to mention in previous post — that I am an avid money saving mom — but my household goes thru 6 gallons of milk a week! I shop sales and stretch it with powdered milk (same principle of the water thing but using powdered milk)

  • Aberline says:

    This is one of those situations where I’d rather make do with less than have as much as I want of something digusting.

  • Woo hoo so I’m not the only one who does this? We go through 3 gallons a week easy and with a $60 per week grocery budget, I had to do sonething! My husband “caught” me the other day and no one noticed until then! NOW he says it tastes watery!

  • Maureen says:

    I think it depends on where you live what the cost of milk is. In our area milk is 2.05 a gallon with shoppers club. I used to water down my kids juice but not the milk. I would not water down the milk. I always used 2% and then it we changed to 1%.

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