Saving My Milk Money

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Last week as I recounted our vacation story, I had to laugh about our Krispy Kreme adventure.It definitely was a perfect example of a frugality at work. I would have cringed as a teenager….

It was no big deal. Nothing earth shattering. An hour or two into our drive we stopped at the donut shop for a pitstop. The donuts were HOT, and we all enjoyed the free sample. (Love that melt in your mouth taste!) We also bought a dozen donuts and a coffee for FishPapa.

As I was standing in line to pay, I was contemplating whether or not to buy milks for the kids. We had “mad money” for our vacation, so I could justify it. But buying drinks is not our typical M.O.

I had a light bulb moment when I remembered the gallon of milk that I had packed in ice prior to our departure. I didn’t want it to go bad at home since we’d just opened it. So, I packed it, hoping we’d drink it on our trip.

Instead of ordering milks, I asked for some empty cups. They were more than happy to give them to me at Krispy Kreme. And then, since we were eating at a table outside near the parking lot, I busted out my gallon of milk and poured the kids’ drinks.

This is something I might not have done a few years ago. I might have been too self-conscious of the fact that I obviously did not buy this gallon of milk from Krispy Kreme. I might have thought that too gauche, too tacky, too frugal.

While I don’t think I would be comfortable taking my milk jug into the restaurant, I felt okay about doing this outside. It was a frugal way to have our cake (figuratively speaking) and drink our milk, too. Not only did I save money on our bill, but I also prevented the milk from going to waste during our vacation.

What do YOU do to save money?

Share your favorite money-saving ideas today. Leave a link to a post that shares some frugal wisdom. (Please no giveaways or deals posts. Teach us how to fish!)

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  1. Lol, I totally relate to that would-be embarassment. I totally would’ve brought the milk too… but might’ve ended up wrestling with it in the back seat because I didn’t want to let it leave the car. And milk probably would spill, which would reminded me that I need to be smart, not self-conscious ;-).
    Thanks for the tips! You help keep us on the right track.

    My link is about feeding 6 people for $4. We’re in a series on beans & rice at The Cheapskate Cook, and today I shared a delcious comfort food my family (affectionately?) nicknamed “mush.”

  2. We have moved cross country several times. I want my kids to eat well and I want to be frugal, so I often stop at grocery stores and buy fruit, bveggies, milk, and juice, etc. to supplement the fast food. Sometimes we will go through a drive through and buy a sandwich, taco, or salad, then we take it to a park and combine it with our healthy frugal food. Plus the kids can work off some cooped up energy. 🙂

  3. I totally agree with what you did. When we got on vacation I use or freeze as much as we can to prevent waste but we have taken things with us to eat in the car or what not. I think this was setting a perfect example for your kids!

  4. When you have lemons and the rind is getting a little leathery, simply wash, roll gently to break (some!) of the membranes. Cut in half and put in a sandwich bag and freeze. Next time your recipe says “juice of 1/2 lemon or 2 T, get a frozen half out of the freezer and zap a bit in the microwave and you have fresh lemon, so much better than the bottled stuff, and there was no waste.

  5. To save money I have been making more of our bread instead of buying it from the store. Recently I made the butterhorns recipe but I could taste a hint of yeast after baking them. Fishmama do you too taste this when you make them? I’m wondering if my palate is just more sensitive due to pregnancy. Also I didn’t freeze first. I just made the dough, let rise until doubled and baked straight away.

  6. This is the first I’ve linked up a frugal friday tip – it just happened to be a fail as well – but that’s all the process of learning – sometimes you win sometimes you lose!

  7. Oh, can I ever relate!

    Because of gluten issues we now often just buy food like yoghurt, V8, granola bars etc from the store when we’re out without food (that rarely happens). We store plastic spoons and paper cups in the van to make it possible, and that has saved us a huge amount of hunger, frustration, and money.

  8. This makes me laugh! We have been doing this sort of thing for years but it always makes me smile when someone converts to a new level of frugal.=)

  9. Oh my gosh, Jessica! I am laughing at your milk story! My kids would have just died if I did that, although I have done a lot of things that have embarrassed them over the years in the name of frugality. Now that I have 3 (almost 4) teenagers, they really let me have it if I push too far. The little ones still find my antics amusing though. Funny story!

  10. Too funny! But I can relate!

    I have no problem doing similar things. We have a 3 and 5 year old and often are toting water bottle/sippy cups along with us. I have no issue with taking their full cups of milk/water into restaurants with us. Not only does it save us money, but it also keeps us from wasting milk.

    And if we don’t have our “cups” with us, then we only order one milk for the boys to share. Restaurants usually bring big cups full of milk, and it is perfect for them to split. I don’t want them filling up on milk before they eat their dinner and it saves us money.

    Do you think when they are 13 they will let me carry their water bottles full of milk around with us? 😉

  11. Tired of the portrait studios? So was I! Here is my alternative….and you can do it, too! Much more fun and frugal, too. Happy Friday to all…..


  12. My mom used to do something a little more embarrassing when I was growing up. When we went on a road trip she would pack PB&J sandwiches and drinks. My parents would take us to McDonalds for a treat – French fries – and we would eat our sandwiches and drinks inside the store with our fries. The employees never bothered us since we did purchase the fries. Thinking back I don’t remember – but it sure did save my parents a lot of money while appeasing me and my sister.

  13. I have no idea what happened but I thought I left a comment this morning about my failed english muffins. hmmm

    Thanks for your tips – I love coming here everyday and reading about your adventures – I’ve learned so many new things!

  14. LOVE the teenage angst comment. Personally, I think it’s a way of judging how well your parenting skills, and if you can’t embarrass them at least a little, then why have kids at all! LOL

  15. Awesome! Love it! I totally would have done the same thing! I HATE buying drinks at places like that – thankfully my kiddos and I (and quite often Hubs too) have a water bottle on hand.

  16. I use to feel this same way , but look at it this way. If you decide to buy store bought donuts and eat at a rest stop then Krispy Kreme would miss out on the donut sale. I am not embarassed or ashamed or feel small any more about trying to save a dollar. And if any cashier or worker says something to me. I simply say I am saving a dollar in this area so that we have a dollar to be a return customer.
    I have learned to be way more bold.
    Last week when I went to Kroger I had to speak to the manager in regards to a couple of steaks we bought that were bad. (the cashier made a very hateful comment that it seems this lady has some issue every week.) I stated clearly without missing a beat actually it is about every thrid weeek and if you think of all the dollars I spend in the store that is not that much (At leaset $700 to $1,000 per week)
    then I stated so when something is wrong I speak up so please do not try to make me feel bad about wanting value for my dollar or I can take my dollars where they and I am appreciated. Be Bold! IT PAYS!!!!

  17. I used to belong to an on-line bread baking group of bread machine users. Krispy Kremes were a big favorite for “bought” doughnuts and we discussed ways to get the KK “riff” at home. It was said that adding vanilla with a generous hand was the secret.

  18. I think it was a very smart move on your part. I agree about not taking it into the restaurant but using it outside was acceptable and a great way to not waste money. Drinks are always overpriced at places like that. I’ve tried to be much more mindful about packing drinks and not just snacks when traveling.

  19. We carry those little drink mixes with us, like crystal light or kool-aid (kool-aid- especially when they are on sale). We are very upfront about bringing the mixes into the restaurant and would gladly not use if requested. I also make sure that there are no signs posted about outside food or drink. However, most of the places where we have gone do think that it is a very smart decision when trying to feed a family of 5. It is also part of the special treat of eating out.

  20. We almost always bring drinks if we go out to eat. Sometimes I even bring side dishes and snacks too. 🙂 It works well at food courts and places where it’s not a stand-alone restaurant. I don’t think twice about bringing a water bottle in with me, or sippy cups for the kids.

    My tip is brewing kombucha at home, which is a favorite drink around here. It is $4 per 16-oz. bottle to buy (!!) but I can brew a whole gallon for only $1 or so. We LOVE it. It tastes like pop, but it is a probiotic drink, very healthy and delicious.

  21. We have learned that we can either go out for drinks or we can go out for food. It seems like the drinks cost as much as the food!

    Way to go in stepping out of your comfort zone! I need to do that more often.

  22. When we visited some friends last year, we walked down to a local donut shop on Saturday, one of their favorite family traditions. Both families have 4 kids and when we set down at the outside tables to eat our donuts, they whipped out a gallon of milk and cups they had brought from home. I thought it was a great idea, but not anything I had ever thought of before.

  23. I would’ve totally done that! So, good for you! My favorite is carrying snacks from home while on the road. I bake batches of healthy muffins, wholewheat cookies and carry chopped fruits as well. Another recent favorite is making my own yogurt. It is an old post so I haven’t linked to it but it is a great way to eat healthy while saving money too:-)

  24. My mother takes a sandwich bag of lettuce to add to the fish sandwich at McDonald’s. : )

    Fast food places will give you a cup if you want to drink water, so I think that what you did is fine.