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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

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organic living journey saving on organic dairy

The following is part of an Organic Journey Guest Post Series, written by Amy a long time helper behind the scenes of Southern Savers.

The past few weeks my head has been spinning as I have tried to research and process all of this data on dairy.  Now it comes back to doing the best you can with what you have.  If you can’t afford organic milk, butter, or cheese, I get it.  I’m not sure if I can either, but here are some tips that might make it a little less expensive!

Milk

There are companies that are vying for your dollars and organic companies want your business too.  Shop around.  Once you’ve figured out what is important to you, look for the brands in your area and shop sales.  If the milk you buy doesn’t go on sale, don’t forget to check the coupon database for coupons!

Yogurt

If you want organic yogurt, here are some ideas.  First, buy the big 32 oz containers.  The price per ounce is a significant savings.  Second, look for coupons!  Stonyfield often has great coupons on their website (and a loyalty program) making organic much more doable.  If all else fails, you can always make your own.  If your gallon of organic milk is $6, then you can get 64 oz of organic yogurt for $3.  Not a bad price at all!

Butter

If you happen to purchase non-homogenized milk, you can make your own butter from the cream off the top.  The first thing that you need is a container with a large enough mouth to be able to scrape out the cream.  Some people buy huge pickle jars to hold their gallon of milk, or Uline carries a gallon glass jar reasonably priced.  Pour the milk into the jar and allow the cream to separate (which should take 12-24 hours).  Now, you can scrape off your cream.  Another option is just to buy cream from the store and start there.  Then, you are essentially going to shake or blend the cream past the stage of whipped cream until it solidifies into butter.  Your butter will yield half the amount of cream that you start with, and you’ll also have some buttermilk that strains off too.  If you are like me and you go through copious amounts of butter (or making your own is not the baby step you are going to choose right now), you might want to check into Costco where you can get 2 lbs of organic butter for $7.49.

One way that I have found to make my butter go further is to turn it into spreadable butter.  You can sit your butter out until it reaches room temperature and then beat or mix in olive oil or canola oil until you reach the consistency that you want.  The first time I tried this, I used way too much olive oil.  This last time, I didn’t use enough.  It is a work in progress, but we use this spreadable butter often and it does help to stretch those precious dairy dollars!

Cheese

Well, we all know now that buying shredded cheese vs. chunk doesn’t make a difference for our wallets, but out of sheer curiosity, I contacted Organic Valley to find out what exactly it is that they put on shredded cheese to keep it from sticking together.  This was their response, “The cellulose used in our shredded cheeses is derived from plant material, specifically, trees.”  Nice.  So, I’ll keep shredding my block cheese for now.

Because my family consumes well over a pound of cheese a week and raw cheese is about $5.50/lb and raw organic cheese was nearly $10/lb where I live, I had to find another option.  We order our cheese in bulk from Minerva Dairy.  They collect milk from 90 small, family farms in Ohio (a third of which are Amish) and then make their cheeses and butters.  I went in with several other families and placed a huge order to cut down on shipping costs, but we were able to get some amazing prices on cheddar cheese.  You have to order once the weather cools down, so we order in the early spring and late fall.  While this isn’t organic, it is better than the cheese I was purchasing before, and I feel like it is a step in the right direction for our family.

Stock Up and Freeze

Most dairy products can be frozen for varying lengths of time.  So if you find a good sale or markdown, don’t be afraid to stock-up.  You can freeze what you find to use later.  Yes, there might be some texture changes, so do your research ahead of time to figure out what will work for you.  For instance, I don’t like the texture of cheese after it has been frozen unless I am cooking with it.  Then, it doesn’t bother me in the least.

You can also make your own sour cream or ricotta cheese as well, but honestly, I don’t have that much cream to begin with and I’m not sure that I would be saving that much to buy organic cream and then make my own when you factor in that our time is worth something, right?  I hope that this series on dairy has been helpful for you.  I know that I have definitely learned a ton.

Was there anything that was particularly surprising to you?  What tricks have you found to cut costs on your dairy purchases?  I’d love to learn from you all!

    • Lana

      If you shop at Ingles keep and eye out for marked down organic milk. My store marks their own brand of gallons down to 2.29 2-3 days before the date. I keep some out for use and freeze the rest.

    • blessedx4inTX

      Tillamook Cheese is the next best thing to organic. They use organic practices and are in the process of becoming certified organic (takes years!) Plus it’s my favorite cheese! Very good quality and flavor is great. They have coupons on their site, and sell in bulk at Costco. HTH

    • Maria

      Happy Cow Dairy in Pelzer (but sold all over the upstate). Not organic, but grass fed. Awesome non-homogenized milk, best butter ever, and very good cheeses. The cheese is not any more expensive then buying regular store/name brand cheese, at least when they aren’t on sale. The milk is only $5 a gallon at WF and EF. Butter and cheese is cheapest at the Rutherford Rd farmers market store. While you’re there, pick up some eggs from First Fruits Farm. They’re the best! (And I know the woman who owns the farm, they really are free range chickens)

      • Meme007

        Our family uses Happy Cow Dairy milk. We purchase it at a feed and seed store in Belton. Thanks for posting about the cheese and butter. Could you put a price here for each? Also, do you know if the farmer’s market accepts EBT card? Thanks for advice.

    • mrmom

      I make sour cream out of plain yogurt by adding 1tsp lemon juice to 16oz of organic yogurt…add 1tsp of hot water after wisking to get to desired consistency.

    • Secret Couponer

      Why do you find it a big deal that your shredded cheese has cellulose from a tree…..better then a pig or something else. I was told it was actually from cow intestines. Nevertheless….I still eat it…..I sometimes pre-shredded cheese is the difference between eating out and eating in.

      • Jessica

        It’s a big deal to me because it messes up my stomach really badly. I learned the hard way. And also it’s good to know what you’re eating….because most of us don’t these days.

      • amysanders

        I think on a scale of big deals, it doesn’t even rank. If shredded cheese helps you to eat healthier overall, then go for it. I just found it fascinating that I had been eating trees for years and didn’t know it. :)

      • Cellulose only exists in plant matter; it’s the fibrous stuff, the stuff that makes up the cell walls of plants. It does not ever come from animals. You may be thinking of rennet, which is a component of cheese that comes from the stomachs of mammals.

      • MomofKLA

        Isn’t it like just having a little extra fiber in our diet? : )

    • Happymommy

      I have just discovered Happy Cow in Pelzer. The bet milk and butter I have ever tasted. I was thrilled to get fresh eggs too. I got a gallon of milk for $4.50! My girls said it s better than the store bought organic milk I was buying. I talked to one of the owners and he was so nice to explain the difference to me. The website has a lot of information too. This is a new journey for my family. I keep reminding myself to take baby steps.

    • Sasha

      I order cheese from Minerva Dairy through Quail Cove Farms on the eastern shore of Virginia. They deliver in my neighborhood and all over Hampton Roads. You can order monthly. You can order as little as a pound as long as your total order is $50. I also order wheat berries, bulk grains, and meat from them so it’s never hard to get an order over $50. Like you said, it’s not organic but I believe better than what I was buying. If you live near a Harris Teeter I get e-vic deals for their organic milk every couple months. I also did the recent deals at Kroger where you buy Kashi or Cascadian Farm cereal and got a free half gallon of organic milk.

    • tori729

      Wow, this is overwhelming. This is why I can’t go out of my way to buy natural/organic. Special ordering everything from all different places is just beyond what I believe is worth the time for my family.
      And making my own butter?! Haha, that’s why I live in the 21st century and not the 19th!!

      (Not being offensive to Jenny or anyone else, I appreciate these posts a lot but sometimes it seems like the stakes and expectations for eating organic are SO high.)

      Also, I did try to make my own yogurt once and my kids hated it and my husband wouldn’t touch it. I don’t like yogurt and the plain kind makes me want to gag so that wasn’t working out.