I keep the cost of the cheese component of my grocery budget down a number of ways:
1.I buy blocks of tasty cheese ($6/kg at Aldi) and grate them to use on pizzas, pasta bakes, potato casserole etc. Grated cheese freezes beautifully and can be used straight from the freezer for casserole toppings. To stop the cheese shards sticking together when they are frozen add a teaspoon of corn flour per cup of cheese when you pack it into containers or bags. Shake it up to coat the cheese and you won't have a problem with clumped, hard lumps of cheese again.
2.I make mozzarella, ricotta and feta. Fresh mozzarella grated in slivers over hot pasta is divine. These are three of the easiest cheeses to make and they are so versatile. Ricotta can be used in dips and cheesecakes or as a spread on bread instead of butter. Feta is delicious on its own and in salads.
3.I buy blocks of the more expensive aged hard cheeses when they are on sale and use my trusty cheese slicer to slice them. This is the biggest cheese cost saver for my family. I never buy sliced cheese. The slices are always much thicker than what I slice myself and at twice the price of a block of the same weight I feel it's money I could use for something else. Slicing the cheese myself and storing it in a Tupperware container.
4.I portion the cheese out. That means when I do my monthly grocery shopping and buy cheese for the month, it is packed into weekly portions and frozen. I take one portion a week out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to use for cooking, sandwiches, salads, snacks and so on. When it's gone, it's gone. I don't get any more out until the next week. We've learnt over the years to make our cheese last or go without.
We get to enjoy the cheeses we like without blowing my grocery budget.
Is cheese a big expense for your family? How do you make it last? Or do you just absorb the cost and buy more when it's all gone?