Much to my bank account's dismay, we use a LOT of milk. Not only milk, though, but a lot of SOY milk as well.
After a bit of math and calculations about how much each of our children eat or drink of what type of milk, I discovered (and will spare you the calculations) that we spend close to $35 every month on soy milk alone. James is allergic to casein (milk protein). Wesley and James both get the same 'smoothies', therefore most of them are made with soy milk to keep from 'accidentally' having James get milk. Lynae and Emma both get upset stomachs from milk, so also drink soy. It's a lot of soy milk. Micah, Aleksa, Kristopher, and Brianna still drink regular milk, but I can't buy a cow, so I went about trying to find a way to make soy milk instead.
A friend of ours who is also parenting a special needs child gave me a quart of 'home made and home canned' soy milk, and let me tell you... the kids didn't notice a difference. I, personally, don't care much for soy milk... however I'm not the kids, so I was still thrilled!
I waited a while, but eventually worked out the calculations of whether it would be worth it to buy a soy milk maker. I VERY quickly found out that it WOULD!
With the cost of soy beans and the amount of milk that they make, it costs about $1/gallon (beans and additives) to MAKE soy milk, and $5/gallon to BUY it. That meant that aside from the price of the actual soy maker, I would have a savings of about $28/month. That's $336 a year. The soy milk maker cost $100. That's about 4 months worth of 'savings' before we REALLY see any savings, but in the long run, it should save us over $200 in soy milk alone in the next year.
Today I got my soy beans (GMO free) and set to work making milk! I made up the boys' smoothies for the next 2 days and made some milk for the other kids to drink as well. Though I understand it is better when you soak the beans first, I was anxious to start and made some 'dry bean' milk today while starting some beans soaking as well.
Now that I know how to milk a bean (which, by the way, will also make milk with any other type of nut, bean, or rice), maybe I'll start looking in to that cow...