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by the author of What School Should Have Taught You: 75 Skills You’ll Actually Use in Life
With the price of eggs running at around $8/dozen in many parts of the United States, I figured it would be worth it to take a bit of time to think about some of the different steps we can take to save money on eggs. From someone who’s raised chickens for a bit of time now, these are some of the ways that I think you can potentially save some money here. Not all of the ideas will work for every person but hopefully one of them will save you a few bucks.
Join a CSA
CSA stands for community-supported agriculture, and it’s not an uncommon service that many farms offer (especially younger farms) to help them out with cash flow at the beginning of the year. What happens is a customer will pay a farm one lump sum upfront in agreement for a portion of the harvest over the next several months. So you may end up paying $300 in March for a box of food twice a month until September, or something like that. The time and the price varies, but the general idea remains the same.
While most of these (that I’ve seen) tend to revolve around vegetables and berries, there’s a chance that some of the ones in your area offer eggs as a part of their CSA package as well.
If that’s the case, depending on the average size of your CSA box (and this varies as well), you could actually end up saving a bit of money on your eggs. It would take a bit of research on your part to find the best CSA in your area and the ones that include eggs as well, but this is something to look into.
Buy direct from the farm.
Chicken feed is cheaper in bulk, and feed costs are the most expensive part of raising chickens (in my experience). If you can find a place that buys their feed in bulk rather than by the bag at your local Tractor Supply Co., then you’re liable to find somebody who can afford to price their eggs cheaper.
The other part about this is that if you’re buying directly from the farm, you cut out the middleman at the grocery store. Like any other business, the grocery store has to buy products and then make money off of them. If you can take them out of the equation, then you can potentially save yourself a little bit of money.
Find the little ol’ ladies.
There are plenty of people out there who raise chickens not for money but because they’re pets. The thing about chickens, too, is that the term “chicken math” didn’t come out of nowhere. Chickens attract chickens. Once you get set up with a flock, you somehow end up with a lot more than you originally planned for. “Just one more” at the feed store becomes a common occurrence during Tractor Supply Co “chick days,” and every other person you know is now magically getting rid of chickens and wants to know if you want theirs.
These people then end up with a mountain of eggs that they can’t eat all of and just want to get rid of. In my interactions with these people, they often sell these eggs fairly cheap. Don’t take advantage of these little ol’ ladies, or when their rooster attacks you, I’ll laugh, but do know that they often will sell a few bucks cheaper than the store.
Raise your own chickens
We’ve looked at the economics of raising your own chickens before, and I do believe that it makes economic sense to have your own. I’m a huge fan of Black Australorp hens. Last I checked, they still had the world record for yearly egg production (about an egg a day), they’re super sweet little boogers, and they can help to keep you in eggs without having to empty your wallet every time that you go to the store.
They’ll probably even give you some extra eggs that you can sell, too, making it so that they pay for themselves.
Start raising feed for your chickens.
If you raise your own hens, you may be cringing at the price of feed this year. The bulk of chicken feed is corn and soybeans.
If you have a little patch of land, can you raise a small patch of corn this summer? Can you put in a little plot of cover crops that you could feed to your chickens? My grandpaw does this with buckwheat. At the very least, this would cut down on your feed cost, decreasing the amount you spend on those eggs sitting on your table.
Should you buy in bulk with eggs?
Eggs last a fairly long time, but I don’t know if it would really be feasible for your family to try to buy eggs in bulk. For starters, a farmer right now would have to be stupid to offer bulk savings on his eggs to individual buyers. He’d have zero problem selling his inventory at standard prices without having to resort to this sales tactic.
Secondly, even if you have enough people in your family to warrant eating 2-3 dozen eggs a week (and that’s a lot), I don’t think buying a month’s worth of eggs would do much for you still. I don’t see how the savings could be that substantial, and you would end up with zero fridge space for other food. You could try to find bulk deals, but don’t get your hopes up.
Daisy’s suggestion: Check the expensive grocery store.
Daisy also had a suggestion about getting eggs at a better price. In her city, the less expensive stores like Aldi and Walmart had more expensive eggs than the slightly more upscale stores like Harris Teeter and Wegmans. She was able to find conventional eggs for $3.29 a dozen at her local Harris Teeter store. Check out her article here about how she uses Instacart to price check things before shopping and look around your own area – this might be worth the extra stop.
Egg prices are only going up.
For this reason, I think that it’s worthwhile to take the time now to figure out some ways that you could potentially save some money on your eggs. These are a staple food item that you need, so do your research and figure out ways that you can still afford to provide these for your family.
And let us know what you think about how you can save money on eggs in the comments section. Do you have any other ideas for getting your eggs less expensively?
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper, An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.
11 thoughts on “6 Ways to Save Money on Eggs”
Eggs are $3.95 at our local Dollar General.
Agree on buying from a local Producer. Saw a ad on Craigslist selling Eggs for $3.00!!!
Keep a eye on the farm+garden catagory of Craigslist for free Chickens. Recently saw a ad from somebody wanting to give away 57 Chickens!!!
Check out your local Food Pantry. Sometimes they give away free Eggs. Mine does.
We buy eggs 5dz at a time from our local grocery store and go through that about every 2 weeks. I don’t like going to the store more than once a week so sometimes I do have a glut of eggs in my fridge. When that happens I will boil a dozen since boiled eggs are easier to store than fresh raw eggs. Deviled eggs, egg salad, and lots of baked goods demand lots of eggs here but we are managing. The price of a 5dz pack is 4x what it used to cost a year or so ago but I save money elsewhere so I can keep buying eggs.
Egg prices have dropped in my area. Never will be the price they were a year ago but dropping a buck a dozen is significant. The local egg producer lowered prices as did the whoever supplies the other brand eggs.
Some folks use substitutes for eggs in baked goods. I’ve heard of using applesauce, flax, or chia seeds.
There are ton of baking recipes that you can skip the egg in, with or without egg substitutes.
If you live in an area with a Natural Grocers (owned by Vitamin Cottage) they have special deals on eggs, water refills and avocados for their members. I still get my eggs at $2.99 a dozen each week. Right now there is a limit of 2 cartons per visit, but that’s all I use anyway, and it saves a lot on eggs. They also have a good bulk section and all their produce is either organic or non GMO.
Back in the 1920’s, one single Black Australorp hen laid 364 eggs in 365 days. It was a feat never duplicated by all the billions of chickens of all breeds that have lived since. And it was a feat touted by chicken catalogs to sell chicks of that breed for the past hundred years. However, as a breed, Black Australorps lay 250-300 eggs per year whereas White Leghorns lay 280-320.
As for preservation, back in the 1800’s (before refrigeration), they had contests. The simplest preservation technique I’ve found is to coat the eggs with mineral oil and then store them in a cool place (e.g. in the basement). The books say they’ll be good for 9 months but in my experience it’s longer than that.
I do suggest, that when using your stored eggs, you crack each egg individually into a bowl and then pour that egg into what it is you’re cooking rather than cracking the egg direct into the recipe. One bad egg could cost you a lot of cookie batter. Been there, done that.
I remember in the Navy that submarines would get eggs that would have a wax coating over the shells. Along with refrigeration this allowed galleys to serve real eggs for most of a deployment. But they probably use EggBeaters now.
Even at todays $8-12 a dozen, eggs are a decent value compared to other protein sources. A dozen “large” eggs are around a pound and a half. So that comes to $5 to 8 a pound.
Eggs can be freeze dried and then they will last a decade or more. I am working on making a home freeze dry setup, starting with my ordinary fridge freezer. The frozen food goes into a vacuum dryer. I have not got that part done yet.
Eggs can be frozen. Scramble the eggs and put in an oiled ice cube tray and freeze. When frozen, put egg cubes in a zip lock bag and back in the freezer. Use these for baking, thaw first. For me 2 cubes = about 1 egg. Do not know how long these stay “good”.
If you have access to farm eggs that have not been washed, you can use a method called glassing. Fresh eggs have a protective coating on them so you can leave them unrefrigerated for 3 weeks. In glassing, you place the raw, uncracked eggs in a large container with a lid and cover the eggs with lime and water. They’ll keep for a year.
I’m a big fan of raising your own Chickens, and have been for nearly 40 years (at one point we kept over 300 birds). First, check your city’s Ordinancs. You’ll be surprised, but many cities allow you to keep and raise a certain number of Hens. Most of the Ordinances were passed during WW 2 as a part of the Victory Garden movement, and many have never been repealed.
I too, am a huge fan of the Australorp breed. They are sweet temperment birds, and prolific egg layers, averaging over 300 eggs a year, and they’re a fairly quiet breed. It’s mid winter here in Colorado, and our 13 girls are still averaging 8 – 10 eggs/day. I’ve raised several breeds over the years, and winter production has never been like this with any other breed.
Selling their eggs is where you can run into trouble. Check your local/state Ordinances. In Colorado, selling eggs requires permits, health inspections, a business license and Lord only knows what else. All that will quickly eat up what money you’d make.
To legally get around those requirements, we “give” our eggs away for a small donation towards their feed. A $3 or $4/dozen donation is a lot less than the $8-$9/dozen they’re selling AR the local grocery store, and you won’t hear a complaint from your neighbors (customers).
When raising your chicks, it’s important that you handle each one frequently. The more you hand raise each bird, the more tame they will be. It’s an excellent way to get the kids involved in this too. Our 3 Grands spent a part of each birds day, handling them, feeding them from their hand. It bonds the birds to you as they grow.
Another advantage of raising chickens, is they really make a dent in the insect population in your yard. Aside from their permanent pen and coop, I built a Mobil pen on wheels, that can be moved around our yard, and the ant, cricket, grasshopper and grubs are scarce in the yard. We seldom see a bug here.