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Can You Save Money By Making Your Own Ice Cream?

Ice cream. Every summer, as the mercury rises, so does the nation’s desire for this delicious frozen treat. As is the norm here at Talking Cents, we have to ask the question: Can we save money on this? And since we asked the question, we might as well try to answer it. I mean, why else would you be reading? So, let’s look at the cost of store-bought ice cream compared to homemade ice cream recipes.

ACCC loves the idea of making your own ice cream!

ACCC loves the idea of making your own ice cream!

A gallon of ice cream can be purchased at the grocery store for $3.00 – $6.00 depending on the brand. When you’re in debt management and working with small budget, every dollar counts. Groceries being a major household expense, we look for every way possible to minimize the bill.

There are a number of ways of making your own ice cream at home without the use of an ice cream maker. Some recipes require a mixer or a blender, while others require no appliances at all. For our purposes, I’m not going to include the cost of the appliance in our calculation. These figures will assume that you already own the necessary tools, and are just buying the ingredients.

How to Make Ice Cream at Home

Here is one example of a homemade ice cream recipe using no appliances…

And an ice cream recipe that uses a basic blender…

For each technique, the ingredients are simple (with some freedom to experiment)…

  • Milk = $3.00 per gallon
  • Cream = $3.00 per quart
  • Sugar = $5.00 for 10 lbs.
  • Salt = $2.00 for 26 oz.
  • Vanilla extract = $4.00 for 2 oz.
  • Ice = Free
  • Fruit = varies

Does Homemade Ice Cream Save Money?

The total cost of the ingredients comes to about $15.00. But it’s important to remember that you’re getting enough ingredients to make several batches of ice cream. If you can get 5 gallons out of these ingredients, then you’ve spent only $3.00 per gallon. That is less expensive than the average store-bought gallon. It can help you stay on track with your grocery budget.

Realistically, you’re only using small amounts of the sugar and salt for each batch, so they will contribute to more batches than the milk and cream. Add to that the fact that you’re probably purchasing these groceries regularly anyway. So, you’re not adding any additional expenses to your grocery bill.

Overall, it seems as though making your own ice cream can save you some money. Not to mention that it is all natural (no preservatives, artificial flavors, or additives), and you get to customize your flavors.

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today.


Andi is a Marketing Assistant at ACCC. He is passionate about supporting financial literacy efforts and helping to educate people on the Talking Cents blog!

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