Milk Your Budget: Dairy Is Still Affordable

In Kindergarten, kids learn to identify one coin from another. But it’s much harder learning the value of those coins. Of course, the quarter is the holy grail of the piggy bank (or the couch cushion), but what can you really buy with a quarter?

A glass of milk, that’s what! A glass of bone-building calcium. A glass of nine essential nutrients. An ice-cold glass of wholesome goodness!

Let’s Do The Math!

  • The price of a gallon of milk divided by the 16 servings contained inside nearly always equals the same sum, give or take a few pennies.
  • Gather prices of gallons of milk from different stores, and from different labels, as well as different varieties (whole, reduced fat, low fat and fat free) and discover the average price.
  • You could also compare milk imitators … penny for penny, you cannot compare milk’s naturally-occurring, nutrient-rich profile to any other beverage. It’s that simple!

Back to the quarter for the milk: that’s quite a nutritional bargain, considering all of the liquid assets inside. And a great lesson for all of us on the value of a quarter. Because when my kids buy milk at school for just a quarter, I know we are getting a bargain, while they just think it tastes awesome.

The Price of Milk

  • Milk pricing really is quite complex, but the bottom line is that farmers only receive 30 cents for every dollar consumers pay for dairy products at retail, and that isn’t a lot of coin.
  • Farmers do not set the price of milk at the grocery store. But they do work hard to produce a safe, wholesome, nutritious product for you and me.
  • When food budgets are shrinking, don’t pass the buck on nutrition. It’s actually the perfect time to get the most bang for your nutritional buck.

Milk is one of the most cost-effective sources of calcium, and most people don’t get enough of that bone-building stuff. Without milk on the table, you would have to eat 10 cups of spinach to get the same amount of calcium in one 8-ounce serving of milk. So, three glasses of milk or 30 cups of spinach every day? My money is on milk.

Create a Moola Bank to save your quarters for your next glass of milk!

By Susan Allen

Susan grew up on a farm in northwest Oklahoma and has over 30 years of experience working in agriculture. She has been part of the Dairy MAX team since 2007 and has worked with schools, health and wellness professionals and farmers. When she's not working, Susan is usually helping one of her kids with a 4-H project. Learn more about Susan