7 Simple Tips to Save Money on Meat
In this article I will discuss 7 simple ways that you can save money on meat while you shop for your groceries.
Meat can be one of the most expensive foods when buying groceries. You can easily spend $5, $10, or more a pound if you are not careful. But fortunately, there are also a lot of ways that you can save money on when purchasing meat. These 5 simple tips will help you save money on meat.
1. Buy less meat.
The simplest way to save money on meat when doing your grocery shopping is to simply buy less of it. Has your family initiated a meatless Monday in your meal plan yet? (Or it can be whatever day of the week is most convenient, of course—Meatless Monday is just nice because of the alliteration. :)) Even if you love meat, like we do, planning one or more dinners a week that don’t include meat will help you save a ton of money on your grocery bill.
Are you using a meal planner? Doing so can really help you save a ton of money on your groceries by helping you stay organized and giving you the opportunity to spend less money on your meals.
Once a week or every two weeks (if you can go that long between grocery shopping trips, like my family does—and which I recommend if you really want to save time and money), sit down and write out your plan for what you will eat for your meals. You can do this a day or two before your shopping trip so that you don’t feel rushed and so you don’t have so much to do on shopping day.
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2. Use less meat in your meals.
Related to item 1 above, when you do have a meal that calls for meat, use less than is called for. I regularly (to the slight chagrin of my husband :)) use about three-fourths of a pound of meat rather than a full pound when recipes call for it. But I have heard of people who use even less than that—half a pound or even a quarter of a pound. In its place, add more vegetables, beans, pasta, and grains as appropriate.
3. Choose cheaper cuts of meat.
Meat may be, overall, the biggest food budget buster. If you want to really save money on meat and slash your grocery bill, one of the best things you can do is to choose cheaper cuts of meat 95 percent of the time and then leave the more expensive cuts of meat (those that are more than $2 or $3 a pound) for special occasions.
4. Buy less red meat.
Going along with the point just above, in order to save money on meat, buy less red meat in general. Chicken and turkey and even pork are far cheaper—where I shop, I can often get boneless skinless chicken breasts and boneless chicken thighs for $1 a pound on sale.
If it is available, another great option is ground chicken in place of ground beef. It is much cheaper and it is healthier, and you can use it just as you would hamburger. I generally find it for $2 or less a pound. (Or if you have a meat grinder, than grind your own chicken as well as ground beef!)
Even if you don’t have a grocery store where the deals are that good, you’ll still spend far less money if you eat less red meat (and your heart will thank you, too!). There are so many great dishes where chicken is the star that the possibilities are nearly endless.
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5. Buy your meat in bulk.
The most expensive way to buy meat is generally one pound at a time. Instead, buy family packs of 5 or even 10 pounds to save money on meat. Then when you get home, set aside the meat that you will use in the next day or two in zip-top bags or airtight containers and put that in the fridge, and put the rest of the meat in single-meal (for example, one pound of hamburger for spaghetti) portions in zip-top bags, label them with the type of meat and date, and put them in the freezer to be used for future meals. Most meat will store well in the freezer for at least 3 months.
6. Buy meat that is on sale or that is marked down in a variety pack.
Like all of the food that you buy, the best way to buy meat is to get it when it is at a great sale price! At our local grocery store they regularly sell variety packs of meat for $20 that, when averaged out, are between $2 and $3 a pound. So, for example, they will have two pounds of steak, three pounds of hamburger, three pounds of chicken, and 2 pounds of bacon in the variety pack. So, with this example, what would normally cost $25 or more costs only $20, for a savings of 20% or more. Pretty sweet.
Do you know what the standard prices are of the cuts of meat that you regularly buy? In order to know when the really great deals are, you need to be familiar with the regular prices. You can receive a free grocery cost per unit cheat sheet by filling out the information below—if you have not shopped this way before, then this will be a wonderful way for you to save money. You’ll never have to wonder again if something is a good price or not—from now on, you will know!
Get your free grocery cost per unit and comparison shopping cheat sheet now!
7. Stretch your meat with oats, rice, breadcrumbs, or similar fillers.
Another easy way to save money on meat is to use fillers to stretch your meat portions. For many meals and various cuts of meat, you can use common fillers and no one will even know the difference. Meatballs, meatloaf, hamburger patties, hamburger to be used in chilis and stews, and ground beef to be used for lasagna and enchiladas are just a few examples.
By following the 7 tips above, you can save a lot of money on meat to help you cut your monthly grocery budget. Do you want to save even more? Read this article for more 50 ideas on how to save money on your grocery bill.
What do you do to save money on meat? Which of the tips above do you feel will help your own family save the most money? I would love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below and let me know!
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