Meat is the most expensive part of a grocery budget. While there are rarely coupons for meat, there are many ways to save.
Go Meatless. It’s not surprising that one of the tips to trimming that grocery bill is to cut back on meat. If you can add in 1-2 meatless meals a week you will see a savings of $5-$20 on your grocery bill. Veganism (not consuming meat or dairy products) is on the rise so you can find tons of vegan friendly and delicious recipes on the internet. You could even start a Pinterest board where you keep track of meatless recipes that your family would enjoy.
Treat meat as a side. Instead of centering your meal around meat, use it as a side. Serve larger portions of veggies and healthy grains and serve a smaller portion of meat. The recommended serving size for meat is just 3 oz.
Stock up. When your favorite meats go on sale or are marked down, stock up. Buy as much as you can comfortably afford, are able to store, and can eat within a reasonable amount of time. Using the Stockpile Inventory in the Couponing binder, you can keep track of how much meat you currently have.
Buy larger packages. Instead of purchasing one pound packages of ground beef, you are usually better off buying family size portions and then divide the meat yourself. This is also true for pork chops, steaks, and roast.
Before you buy in bulk, do your math. Check the unit price and compare it to the smaller packages. Make sure you’re comparing the same exact cut of meat. It used to be that if you buy in bulk you were guaranteed a better deal, but that’s not the case anymore. More and more retailers are preying on this kind of consumer mentality. Quite often smaller packages can cost less than bulk or larger packages. That’s not just with meats, but everything else too.
Stretch your meats. Instead of assuming a butcher knows the exact size piece of meat that you need to consume, take it into your own hands. Look up ways to butterfly meat to make it stretch. You should also invest in a meat tenderizer (the one that looks like a mallet with 2 different heads) that you can use to pound your meat into smaller, thinner pieces. This will help you to get two pieces of meat for the price of one. If you butterfly a steak, voila you have 2 steaks. It will also help your meat to have more flavor. The thinner the meat, the easier it is for flavors to enter deep into it.
Buy whole meats. While it is easier to buy chicken legs, breasts, and wings by the pack, it is usually cheaper to buy the whole chicken and cut it apart yourself. You can also save money by buying larger portions of the cow and have it processed it into the different cuts that you need. Check with your butcher to see if it is cheaper to buy a larger cut of meat from his store.
If you can find a farm in your area that sells whole cows, you can save a ton of money by going in with a few friends to each buy a portion of the cow. The farmer usually has a butcher shop or can recommend one that will divide your portion into different cuts of meat for you.
Repackage your meats. Instead of throwing that whole pack of chicken breasts into the deep freeze, take time to portion it into the quantity that you will need for your meals and place it in freezer bags. Not only will it help the meat to stay fresher and last longer, but it will also make things easier on you when it comes time to prepare your meals.
Freeze the meat. Unless you are using the meat within the next 2 days, stick it in the freezer. With our busy lives it is easy to forget about the package of meat in the fridge and it ends up spoiling. Set aside time after your grocery shopping trip to divide and freeze the meat.
Try different meats. Instead of sticking with the traditional meats, diversify your recipes. Replace expensive ground beef with ground turkey or even do half beef and half turkey in recipes. Purchase a pork shoulder and cut it into pork chops. Choose a London Broil over a New York Strip Steak. Instead of purchasing the leanest ground beef, purchase regular ground beef and then rinse it with hot water after cooking to wash off most of the grease.
Add fillers to your meat. Bread crumbs, oatmeal, beans, and rice will all help to stretch your meat further, especially the ground meats. Most of these items will take on the taste of your meat when prepared with it. Tacos are a great meal to make that stretches your meats.
Save the bones. Instead of tossing the bones out save them to make your own bone broths. Many of these recipes take minimal effort and you will be able to freeze it for meals in the future.
Talk to your butcher. Take a moment to speak with the butcher at your favorite store. Ask him what day and time is the best to find markdowns on meat. He can also advise you on different cuts of meat that would save your family money without sacrificing taste.
Shop in the early morning. Most meat departments mark down yesterday’s meat when their shift starts. I recommend shopping about 30 minutes after a store opens. Head straight to the meat cases to see if they have marked down any meat yet. Ask them when they normally mark meat down so you can be sure to be there.
Shop around. Don’t do all of your meat shopping at one store. Check with people in your area to see where they buy their meat. Many times there is a hidden Mom and Pop or Ethnic store that sells meat at much cheaper prices than the national stores. Your area might even have a true butcher shop which sells meat at a huge discount because you aren’t paying for the overhead of the fancy stores.
Keep a price book. In the Couponing Binder there is a printable price book. Make sure you keep it up to date with the latest prices of meat in your area. When you come across a deal that you are unsure of, you can reference your price book to see what the best price you have ever paid for that meat was. Then you will know if you need to stock up or pass on the deal.
Hunt your food. If you aren’t a hunter, ask your friends if they are. Many times, you can find a hunter who would be more than willing to snag you a deer. You’ll just have to cover the processing fees.
Buy around holidays. Meat goes on sale around the holidays. For Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day grilling meats are on deep discount. For Thanksgiving you can find turkey for less than $0.50 a pound. At Christmas and Easter ham is on sale. Buy when it is on deep discount and freeze it until you need it.
Use the same meat for multiple meals. A whole chicken can be used in 3 different meals; rotisserie, shredded in dishes, and the bones can make broth for chicken soup. A ham can be served and the leftovers can be used for sandwiches or other dishes. The saved ham bone can be used to make soup. A 5 pound package of hamburger meat can be made into tacos, then into mexican chili, and finally into Frito chili pie.
Cut the meat before serving it. Instead of placing a cut of meat on your plate, cut it up into bite size pieces. You can serve less meat to your family but it will look like they are getting more.
Eat fish. Some filets of fish are much cheaper than cow or pig or chicken. We really enjoy Tilapia and Salmon.
More ways to save on meat:
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