Milk It For All It’s Worth

By: Cheryl Maguire

*Please note that milk prices are always changing and can vary by town

Photo by cottonbro on

If you asked me the price of milk years ago, I would’ve had no clue. But three kids later, I now possess the incredible ability to tell you the exact price variance between each store within a 10 mile radius of my house. When you purchase in bulk, you learn the price and you are willing to travel for it within reason (once the price of gas infers that negates any savings).

My husband disagrees with me on this issue and has been quoted saying, “Does a 25 cent difference really matter?”

To which I responded, “Well it is not just 25 cents. When you are purchasing 4 gallons a week that is a $1 savings and over the course of a year that would be $52!”

“I guess,” my husband said with a shrug and a definite tone suggestive of a divergence of opinion.

The other day I was in a strip mall parking lot and the price of milk was the furthest thing from my mind (I swear) when I spotted a woman with a cart full of milk. In fact, the milk filled the entire cart. I watched and counted as she put each gallon into the trunk of her car. Not one, not two, not three but ten, yes you read that right, she purchased TEN gallons of milk.

What was the first thought which sprung to my mind after witnessing this spectacle?  “This lady must have a huge refrigerator.” No, that isn’t what I thought, although she must or she has one thirsty family. I, of course, thought “This store must have an incredible milk price.”

I glanced over in the direction of the store she exited. The outside wall consisted mostly of cement, an inauspicious first impression. On the top of the wall there was a small, uninviting sign which read, “Food Market”, which left me feeling reluctant to enter into the unknown destination. I forged ahead anyway, determined to see if my theory was indeed correct.

My attempt to grab a cart was hindered by the chain connecting all the carts together. A slot was visible for a quarter which would release the cart.  I almost gave up (paying 25 cents for a cart would defeat any low milk price) when I spotted a large sign stating, “You put a quarter in the cart, shop, and then return the cart to get your quarter back. This helps to keep prices low because we don’t spend time retrieving carts.” I appreciated the fact that they were trying to save money and also felt hopeful but the “low price” reference, so I found a quarter and placed it in the slot.

Up until this point in my quest of finding the cheapest gallon of milk, my lowest find anywhere was $2.49. Usually, that is a sale price or located at the maximum distance I am willing to travel. If I could find that price I would be satisfied. 

Upon entering the store I was pleasantly surprised by the high ceilings and over all clean appearance. The dairy section was at the back of the store. With each step, my heart skipped, anticipating the possible price. Would it be lower than $2.49?

Gallons of milk were situated behind the glass doors. I scanned the shelves searching for the price. And then I found it. The lowest price of milk I had ever had the honor to behold.  It was $2.29!

My hands quivered with excitement as I reached for the gallon. How did I not know about this store? Probably because it was outside my 10 mile radius zone. How would I justify the farther distance to my skeptical husband?

Perhaps a nice cold glass of milk will help persuade him.

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