If you have a family of meat-eaters, your weekly meat purchases can be eating away at your grocery bill. Meat is one of the most expensive grocery items you can buy.
Add to that the fact that the big price tag usually comes with a small quantity, so you need to purchase 2 or 3 packages to feed your family. That’s a significant hit to your grocery budget.
That’s a significant hit to your grocery budget.
That’s why I’ve been looking for creative ways to save money on meat that doesn’t include becoming a full-time vegetarian. I mean who wants to eat tofu when you can have a steak?
There are so many other, better things you could be doing with that money.
Plus, if you stock up when the savings are significant, you’ll find your overall grocery budget significantly reduced.
It’s time to start looking for ways to cut that expense so you can really stretch your grocery dollars.
HERE ARE 16 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY ON MEAT (WITHOUT GOING VEGETARIAN!)
STRETCH YOUR PURCHASE
Instead of using ground beef to make a couple of hamburgers, add some egg and bread crumbs to make meatballs for spaghetti. Instead of buying several packages of chicken breasts, just get one. Cut the chicken into tenders or bite-sized pieces and make a casserole or stew. By adding other ingredients, you’re cutting down on the amount of meat you’ll need to feed your family and saving money.
BUY IN QUANTITY
Look for family-sized packages of meat. The overall cost is usually less per pound than the smaller packages. Buy one large package, take out what you need for dinner and freeze the rest for another meal. I love using my Food Saver for this very purpose. I can vacuum seal the rest of the meat and freeze for up to six months. Perfect for when I find an awesome sale and stock up!
If meat is on sale, that’s the time to stock up. Buy extra chicken or beef and freeze it for future meals. It may be more expensive at the time to buy extra packages, but when you can shop your freezer for dinner instead of the store, your wallet will thank you.
USE A DIRECT FARM TO TABLE PROGRAM
My family has started to use Zaycon Fresh to get out meats, poultry, and chicken and when they have a sale it’s a doozy! The best prices I’ve ever seen on meats. Zaycon is not in all areas – yet. But if you’re interested go here and check out what they can offer you and how much you can save by joining their program. THIS PROGRAM IS CURRENTLY CLOSED.
GO MEATLESS FROM TIME TO TIME
Plan one meatless meal each week. Make a vegetable lasagna or stuff mushrooms with cheese and veggies. Or do breakfast for dinner and serve pancakes or eggs. The options are endless. As your family gets used to the idea of a meatless meal, increase it to 2 nights a week. You’ll be amazed at how much you save.
BUY LEAN MEATS
While the 70% lean ground beef is less expensive than the 96% lean ground beef, once the fat cooks off, you’ll be left with less meat. It’s worth the extra couple of dollars to get more meat for your money so you can stretch it out.
Instead of shopping at the big chain grocery stores, price meats at your local butcher or farmers market. You may find that both the quality and price are better.
STOCK UP AT THE HOLIDAYS
Grocery stores often put turkey and ham on sale around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter so stock up and freeze it. Many stores even offer coupons for these meats in addition to the sale price so be sure to look for them. Be sure to shop after the holiday too. The stores stock up their inventory for the holiday sales then reduce the price even further for any leftover inventory. The best deals will come in the few days following a big holiday. We always get a couple of extra turkeys after Christmas so we can enjoy a nice turkey dinner at least two more times during the cold winter months.
If you have a Honeybaked Ham store in your area, stop by for a ham bone. They charge just $5 each (prices may vary in different areas), and they still have 2-3 pounds of meat on them. Use the ham to make a casserole and use the bone to flavor a pot of soup or stew. I never knew this handy little fact and love this idea! I can’t wait to go to my local Honey Baked Ham Store!!
SHOP COSTO, BJ’S OR SAM’S CLUB
If you have a Costco, BJ’S or Sam’s Club membership, you can find great deals on large quantities of meat. This is particularly useful if you have a large freezer for storage. Buy in bulk then divide them up into smaller, dinner-sized portions. Use your Food Saver to ensure the meat does not get destroyed by freezer burn.
For instance, you can buy a large rib roast for a holiday meal and divide it into thirds. Enjoy a third for your holiday dinner, freeze a third for a future meal, and cut the remaining third into steaks and freeze them. Then you can use the individual steak meat for tacos or chili later on.
KEEP TRACK OF SALES
Grocery stores run sales on different meats about every 4-6 weeks. Start tracking the sales on a calendar then, once you figure out the sale schedule, you’ll be able to buy at a discount and stock up.
Check around at the markets in your area. You may find significant price differences between stores, showing you where you should buy most of your meat. Beef may be less expensive at Walmart while chicken or pork is always a good deal at Aldi.
Instead of buying already ground meat, buy a whole roast and ask the butcher to grind it for you. It will be less expensive than purchasing several pounds of already ground meat. And fresher too.
Turkey is much less expensive than beef. Turkey legs are usually about $1 a pound. Pull the meat and use it for tacos or make turkey burgers or white bean chili with turkey.
LOOK FOR CLEARANCE OR MANAGER’S SPECIALS
As meat gets close to its expiration date, the store will mark it down considerably. If you’re not going to use it right away, you can always freeze it for a future meal. The savings can be as much as 50%-70% off the original price.
DON’T FORGET YOUR COUPONS
Many stores offer $5 and $10 off coupons on purchases of $25 or $50. If you use these coupons when meat is already on sale, your dollar will go further, and you’ll be able to buy much more for much less. This is a great time to stock your freezer.
Shopping for meat doesn’t have to break the bank. It does take a little skill and a little extra time to look for great deals and track when they are coming around again. But you can save hundreds of dollars a year by taking the time to shop well. With the money you save each month, you can even enjoy a night out for dinner where you don’t have to cook or clean up. That in itself is worth the time to shop for deals and save money on meat.