Looking for a dairy alternative? There’s soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, oat milk, potato milk, flax milk… and many other substitutes for cow’s milk. I’ll be honest, I love dairy. And so do my kids. But one of my kids can’t have dairy, so I’ve made it my mission to find milk alternatives that pass the kid taste-test and don’t cost a fortune.
6 tips for finding dairy alternatives on a budget
When I first started on this journey, there wasn’t the variety of products you can buy in the store today (and I don’t just mean Whole Foods – pretty much every store sells milk substitutes now). Many people are looking for dairy alternatives these days for a variety of reasons – lactose intolerance, a sensitivity to casein, vegan diets, etc. Opting for an alternative to milk doesn’t have cost a fortune. Just as people have learned to save money going gluten-free, there are ways to find dairy substitutes without maxing out your credit card. But with so many choice now, you may find yourself asking:
What are the best savings?
And other bulk-buy warehouse stores. Recently, I bought a case of soy milk from Costco, which was cost-saving. Tip: Check expiration dates – there’s no point in buying a case of anything if it’s going to go bad before you have a chance to use it all.
Last week, I ordered a case of Pacific Vanilla Sweetened Hemp Milk from Amazon (free shipping!) when it was out of stock in the warehouse at my local stores. It arrived fairly quickly, to my relief. This brand and flavor is a favorite with my kids.
3. Whole Foods’ case discount.
I have ordered oat milk by the case at Whole Foods, which gives a 10% discount when you buy by the case. Whole Foods has a wide variety of milk alternatives for you to try.
4. DariFree powdered potato milk.
I always have DariFree powdered potato milk in my pantry because it’s great for cooking, tasty, lasts for years, is cost-effective and is always there if I run out of the other kinds of milk. It’s also great for traveling.
5. Dollar stores.
I love dollar stores, but when it comes to milk alternatives, I advise you to tread very carefully. It’s been said, “You get what you pay for.” And for a buck, you may not be getting the best quality. Read ingredients and the nutritional panel and watch for excess sugar and carcinogens like carageenan.
6. Make it yourself.
Back in 2003, I was knocking myself straining hazelnuts through a sieve, blending them in a special machine and adding drops of Stevia. It was a lot of time, effort, money and the results were awful. I wound up selling the machine on eBay at a loss. Today, if you have a Vitamix, you can make milk alternatives without jumping through as many hoops. Check out this post by Money Saving Mom – she shows you how to make your own Rice Milk for a fraction of the price. She calculates that at an average of $2.70 a container, using 2 boxes a week, the typical family would spend $275.08 a year. Making it herself cost $10.40. That’s an annual savings of $264.64! Looking for more recipes for milk alternatives? Check out these from Wake the Wolves.