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Meat is expensive and usually takes up the biggest percentage of our grocery budget. Here are six easy ways to save on meat purchases. These tips could help you save a lot.
Six Easy Ways To Save on Meat Purchases
Let’s face the facts, out of all the grocery shopping I do for my family, purchasing meat is the most expensive. I am sure that doesn’t come as a surprise. Besides watching for sales, there are a few other tips you should know prior to purchasing.
You may be reaching that point where meatless meals may be the way to go. Especially when the prices of meat are continually on the rise, but the fact is you don’t need to. For most families, protein is a part of at least two of our daily meals – lunch and dinner. Knowing this, it can be a hard hit to the budget.
And, unless you plan on changing your lifestyle, there is not much you can do to cut this necessary expense from your budget. So let’s cover a few things you can easily do to stretch your dollars when it comes to purchasing meat at the grocery store.
Stock up on sales
This is the best piece of advice I can give you. Stock up on meat when it goes on sale.
When you see those grocery store flyers each and every week, check out the front page sales first. These items on sale are known as loss leaders. They are the best price items advertised on the front of the sales flyer to get you to shop in their store.
It seems pretty obvious that if you want to save money on meat, you should do what’s best for your bank balance and avoid buying meat that isn’t on sale. But that’s not how most people shop. It does take a little research on your end to find the best deals, but in the end, you will save a lot more than just showing up at the store and buying your meat.
And yes, you can easily buy and freeze. So, please don’t think you have to avoid buying in bulk.
How to Freeze Meat
It is important to freeze any meat you have purchased right away if that is your intent. Don’t hold raw meat in the fridge for three days and then freeze it.
Make sure before you freeze to remove the styrofoam or plastic supermarket trays. Then divide into portions or patties before freezing. Double-wrapping (either two layers of plastic wrap or a layer of wrap, followed by a zip-top freezer bag) will extend shelf-life and prevent freezer burn.
Bone on versus no bone
It is normally cheaper to purchase meat with the bone(s) still in it, versus the boneless version. I usually pull out the bone prior to freezing.
For example, you can purchase split chicken breast as low as $0.99 lb (when on sale) vs boneless chicken breast at $2.99 lb. This is by far much cheaper. I have seen chicken breast go on sale as low as $1.99 lb. Good time to stock up without the work.
Just keep in mind that Bone-in means more meat savings.
Buy in bulk or family packs
Family-sized packages of meat usually cost less per pound than smaller packages. Buy one big package then divide it into the portions that you need and freeze it if need be.
We purchased our Foodsaver for this reason alone. We end up with more meat than we would use at one time. It makes it easier for us to divide and freeze.
Purchase whole animals whenever possible
These may seem a little scary at first, but when you search out a local farm that raises, sells, and butchers its own meat, you can significantly reduce the price.
You cut out a large portion of the overhead and middleman costs attached to the meat while giving as much money to the farmer as possible.
You also know more about where that meat has come from if that concerns you. If one animal is too much for your family, go in with another family and split the cost.
Think leaner meat
Did you know that by purchasing less lean meat (70% lean ground beef), you are actually purchasing more fat? Guess what happens to all that fat? You got it!!! It cooks away.
The leaner the meat, the more savings, and less cooked-away fat. Depending on the type of meat and the cut, you might be looking at a cooked yield of 15-40 percent less than the raw weight. Yes, the tastiest cuts are usually the ones with more fat on them, but they’re also usually the most expensive.
Think of meats like London broil or pork shoulder. This way you don’t have to sacrifice taste to save money on meat.
Get more out of one meal
Think ahead with your meal planning menu and think of ways to get multiple meals from say a large roaster chicken or roast beef. If I plan a roast on Sunday and store the leftovers (including the broth) in the fridge. A few days later, I make beef tips on rice.
Stretching your meat will help you eliminate leftovers and help you save money.
Buy cheaper cuts of meat
This goes hand in hand with purchasing leaner cuts of meat. Choose to purchase lower-priced choice cuts of beef instead of pricier prime cuts. You might think that cheap cuts result in bad meals, but it’s just not true.
Make them tasty and tender by marinading or braising them to frugal perfection. There’s no need to spend a fortune to get a great meal.
Another way to save on meat is by eating a little less.
Have a meal a week without meat. I have seen lots of friends enjoy Meatless Mondays. I don’t usually have a specific day, but my kids love it when I make homemade Mac & Cheese. So, how do you save money on purchasing meat?
Of course, meatless meals can help keep the budget in check but don’t feel you have to substitute at every meal. I would love to hear your thoughts!