Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My Failed Foray with Dry Milk

I've tried many things over the years in an attempt to be frugal - and some of those things have failed miserably. So, I thought it would be funny - and educational, of course - to share the "D'oh!" moments (love those old Simpsons episodes) of my tightwad travels. So, here's the first of (most likely) many such moments...

A little over a month ago, my husband came home from church with a sudden urge to make cinnamon rolls. Not one to argue with cinnamon rolls (or my husband baking for a change), I encouraged the endeavor. However, as he was well into the process, he realized that we were out of milk. Seeing as it was Sunday, going to the store for a dessert emergency wasn't really an option. So, I suggested we get out the can of dried milk from our food storage. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? After Kevin turned the powder into liquid, I tried it. It wasn't bad at all! I'd bought the particular brand of dry milk because I'd heard it was actually pretty good, so it didn't come as a complete surprise. Then the little wheels in my head began to turn.

Over and over in The Tightwad Gazette (see review below), the author talks about the virtues of using dry milk regularly. Every time I'd read that part before, I'd think, "That's nice and all, but I'm not drinking that disgusting stuff" and move on. But now I'd found a dry milk that tasted pretty good, so I finally felt like I could, like the book said, mix a half-gallon of dry milk with a half-gallon of regular milk. I did it and couldn't really tell the difference! I felt pretty awesome and patted myself on the back.

I did this for a few weeks. I was so happy at the thought of not only saving money, but also that I wasn't buying a new gallon of milk as frequently as usual. However, a couple weeks ago we started running low on the dry milk, so I bought some more. While on that grocery trip, I also bought some more regular milk. Later that week, as I was mixing up a new batch of dry milk (you have to mix it with hot water, then cold water), I got thinking. The prices of each were fresh in my mind - $6.99 for a 4 lb. can at Walmart and $1.50 for the gallon of milk at Costco. That's when I recognized the folly in my dry milk endeavor.

After I did the math (which, for someone who credits passing college algebra as divine intervention, is no small feat) and calculated the cost of a cup of dry milk and each cup of regular milk, I realized, to my dismay, that using the tasty dry milk ending up costing more than just the regular stuff straight. So, really, I was using up my food storage and wasting money. Nice. Lesson learned: do the math ahead of time. My problem was that I'd forgotten how much the dried milk had cost when I bought it because the can had been collecting dust on our food storage shelf for a while. Other lesson learned: if you're going to do the dry milk thing, you have to use the cheaper (less tasty) stuff. Looks like I'll be keeping the dry milk in the pantry only for baking emergencies after all...

1 comment:

Abz said...

I have also broken down and used powdered milk in a baking emergency. lol I just used the cheapo kind I definitely was not going to taste it. lol I love your new blog! I am working on getting one up myself for all my kitchen creations and little projects around the house. Me and Miche are currently working on a name...any suggestions would be so appreciated! by the by, What are you guys doin' the 19th?

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