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.
A gallon of ice cream can be purchased at the grocery store for $3.00 – $6.00 depending on the brand. When you’re trying to pay down consumer debt and manage a 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 to make 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.
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 homemade 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 with consumer debt and would like to learn more about budgeting, call American Consumer Credit Counseling to speak with a certified counselor for free. Call 800-769-3571.