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If you’ve hit the grocery store lately, you might find that many ingredients are more expensive than in years past. It’s no secret that recent inflation has taken a toll on many grocery budgets. Especially when you consider the rising meat prices and how expensive eggs have gotten. Dairy products in particular have skyrocketed in price, making finding cheap butter a real challenge.
But it’s possible. I did some research in my area, which is just outside of Pittsburgh. By shopping for store brands, I found cheap butter prices at several grocery chains near me. Since some avid bakers prefer specific brands, I also analyzed name-brand butter for an accurate comparison across retailers. While prices in your area may differ from mine, here’s how I found the best deals on cheap butter.
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Why are butter prices so high?
The Wall Street Journal reports that as of August 2022, the price of butter was up 24.6% compared to August 2021. Supply shortages, including declining milk production and labor shortages, have contributed to the U.S. having the lowest amount of butter in storage since 2017. With this shortage comes higher prices and fewer sales. But some smart shopping can ease the butter bind this year.
Related: Grocery Essentials on a Budget — Where to Buy Cheap Milk
1. To find the best cheap butter prices, compare the price per ounce rather than the price of the container.
Different stores sell different-sized packages of butter, even if the brand is the same. So how do you find the most accurate way to compare prices across different-sized containers? By calculating the price per ounce! It’s a little bit of math, but it’s really not hard.
Just take the overall price and divide it by the number of ounces in the package. For example, Walmart sells a 16-ounce pack of Land-O-Lakes for $4.98. So you take $4.98 and divide it by 16. That leaves you with a final cost per ounce of $0.31.
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2. Aim to spend about $0.18 per ounce of butter.
Kirkland Signature Butter (Costco, $11.79) comes out to $0.18 per ounce. That’s the cheapest overall price per ounce for pure butter. When deciding what to buy in the dairy aisle, that should be your goal price. Other butter options typically run anywhere from $0.19 to $0.74 per ounce. But other products can have a similar flavor for a lower cost.
3. At $0.10 per ounce, Country Crock is cheaper than actual butter.
For a buttery taste that costs much less than dairy products, consider opting for Country Crock. Walmart offers a 45-ounce tub for a price of $0.13 per ounce, whereas Costco sells 80 ounces for $0.10 per ounce. That’s the cheapest option on this list by a long shot.
4. Buying in bulk typically gives you a lower price per ounce.
That brings us to our next point. Costco and Sam’s Club fans know that (generally speaking) the bigger the container, the lower the price per ounce. Name-brand options like Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter and Country Crock are the cheapest at Sam’s Club. At Costco, you can get 80 ounces of Smart Balance Buttery Spread for $0.18 per ounce, tied with Walmart for the cheapest price.
5. Buying store brands is up to 75% cheaper than name-brand options.
Let’s review the spread (hah!) of store-brand butter prices. As we mentioned earlier, Costco offers the lowest butter price per ounce overall. But even if you’re not shopping bulk, it’s cheaper to buy generics overall. In terms of price per ounce, store brand options range from $0.18 to $0.29.
By contrast, Land-O-Lakes retails between $0.31 to $0.48 per ounce, depending on where you shop. The cheapest price for Land-O-Lakes is still more expensive than the priciest generic option.
Kerrygold, the other name brand we compared in our research, costs between $0.49 and $0.74 per ounce. The least expensive retailer for that brand still sells it at almost double the price of the most expensive generic.
6. Walmart sells the cheapest Land-O-Lakes butter.
Looking at name-brand prices, your best bet is Walmart if you’re a Land-O-Lakes fan. The brand goes for $0.31 per ounce at Walmart, compared to $0.33 at Target or $0.48 at Ralph’s.
7. Kerrygold fans should shop at Target for the best price.
Kerrygold sells for $0.49 at Target, instead of $0.52 at Walmart or $0.74 at Ralph’s. If you’re new to the Kerrygold brand, it’s worth noting that it’s typically sold in 8-ounce packages, meaning it only has two sticks. Keep that in mind if you’re looking to do some serious baking.
Related: How to Get the Best Price on Peanut Butter Every Single Time
8. Salted and unsalted options from the same brand have the same price.
While one might think that salted butter should cost more because it has one more ingredient, that’s not the case. If you’re comparing the prices of salted vs unsalted butter from the same brand, there’s no difference. So when shopping, simply opt for your personal preference.
9. Always check for coupons to save up to $2 per unit.
While finding the best everyday low price is a win in and of itself, coupons can lower that price even more. Always check our site for butter coupons. Most coupons range from savings of $0.40 per unit to $2 off per unit. And while $2 doesn’t seem like a lot, it is when you consider the price of a container of butter overall.
For example, at the time of writing, Country Crock is offering a $1.50 off coupon when you sign up for their newsletter. You can use this on any Country Crock product. So if you pick up the original Country Crock buttery spread (the cheapest of their products) at Sam’s Club (the retailer with the lowest cost per ounce), you can bring that price per ounce down to only $0.07! I got that number by subtracting $1.50 from the original price of $7.68. That brings you to a sale price of $6.18. Divide that number by the number of ounces, which in this case is 80, and you end up with a price per ounce of $0.07.
10. If you find a sale, stock up and freeze the excess.
Sales are few and far between, but if you see cheap butter on sale, snag it. Grab a few pounds if your budget allows. Butter freezes well, and it lasts up to six to eight months past the expiration date on the package. Don’t worry about whether or not it’s your preferred brand. If you’re a name-brand butter lover, give the store brand a try. It may be worth the savings. You can always swap back to your favorite brand when and if prices lower again.