Milk is Delicious! Understanding, what you eat, and what goes into what you eat; is on of the first steps to being sustainable.
You will find that there are some foods that you will have to buy; other foods may need to be given up altogether. However, milk has always been a small homestead staple. I have calculated the costs and consumption of dairy. Obviously, this will differ region to region and year to year. The chart has a link where you can copy and make your own changes to the chart.
Growing what you eat. Spend money on what you eat the most of. This is a good, place to start -when deciding what to project to start with on a homestead. Dan and I eat a lot of cheese. He drinks milk. I use a lot of cream. It only makes sense to have a cow. However, we spend more on tomatoes than on dairy products. Hence why we have a garden and not a mini cow right now.
Having a mini cow is on the list for us. Therefore, to a family with young children, it would likely be of higher value to have a miniature cow. You will have to decide for yourself and take a serious look at your consumption habits.
The chart is a compilation of the average American’s consumption of dairy products. I did graph two costs to be more realistic. Lower middle class and higher middle class, prices of dairy are listed. Obviously, the pricing will change household to household. Also, food prices fluctuate. The product produced by a homesteader will be of higher nutrient value and flavor if the cow is taken care of properly too. The chart is public, so you can use it do your own calculations.