Thursday, October 30, 2008

Save money on meat

For Thrifty Thursday I thought I would share some tips on how to save money on meat.

When we had our son almost 2 years ago we went from spending around $250 a month on groceries to now shooting to spend below $160 a month. This is for 2 adults and 1 toddler. When we first decided to cut our grocery budget by about 30% I thought for sure we wouldn't be eating much meat. Then I realized there are ways to actually save money on meat. Here are 5 ways that work for us.

1. Don't make meat the center of the meal.
For example don't always have steak or chicken breast by themselves with sides. Find recipes that include these items, but that don't make them the main dish. Often you will use half the amount of meat. For example we eat a lot of casserole type things, or we have burritos, tacos, fajitas, chicken quesadillas- you get the pictures. Have meat at the center of your meal in moderation. Save it for special occasions. Not every night needs to be a 5 course meal, especially if you have young children.

2. Buy hamburger in bulk.
Buy a 3 pound package and split it into quart size baggies when you get home and pop them in the freezer. So often we see a great sale on ground beef that is 1.99/lb and under. So we buy what looks like a 1 pound package. If you actually check what the lb. amount is you will find it is often more than 1.25 pounds. Chances are you will use that 1 package for one meal, even though your recipe only calls for 1 pound of meat. So you have now spent more than that 1.99 pound for that meal and have spent around 2.25 instead. You may think this isn't much of a difference, but over the course of a year you could probably save a lot of money by paying attention to the pound amount of hamburger you are buying and buy in bulk since those packages are often closer to the 3 pound mark.

For example this past week I bought a 3.01 pound package of ground beef for 5.39 (1.79 a pound). I will get 3 meals out of this. Had I bought 3 separate packages at 1.25 ponds costing about 2.24 a package I would have spent around 6.71 for ground beef for the same 3 meals... so I saved almost $1.50 just by buying the 3 pound package and splitting it into 3 bags! $1.50 is a lot of money on a $40/week budget!

3. Realize that frozen bags of chicken breasts are a great resource!
These bags generally cost around $6 at Aldi and are 3 pounds a piece... that is about $2 a pound. You will often spend more than this per pound on fresh chicken. Also I have learned that buying a whole chicken, cooking it in the crock pot and then shredding it is a great way to use chicken in casseroles and for other meals that calls for cubed/shredded chicken. You can usually get about 4 meals out of a whole chicken.

4. Learn to look for marked down meat.
Most grocery stores will mark down their meet when it is getting close to expiration. Most Dillon's have an area where they stick their marked down meat. I have often found many steaks, roasts, and stew beef for 1/3 of the regular cost. Also if you aren't going to use it right away, meat is freezable!

5. Wait for BIGI sales
Many times at our local Dillons they do BIGI sales on pork loin, roasts and sometimes steak! I say stock up on this type of meat when a good sale like this comes around!

Those are just a few ways. Feel free to share any tips you may have in the comments section below

Note: This is was originally posted in May of this year and has been updated and changed for this re-post.

1 comment:

Kahle said...

Thanks for the tips on meat, that is always handy! Another way I always found handy to freeze ground beef is to make hamburger patties out of the meat and then freeze them, espcially in the summer then you can just take them out season them and trow them on the grill or you can grab a couple of patties and cook it in the skillet it for tacos or burritos or a casserole. Also if you have a sams membership, I know this isnt a great deal but if your cut short on time Sams has rotesserie whole chickend for like $4 and we can usually get about 3-5 meals out of one chicken! Those are just a couple of ideas I will add! Thanks for your blogging! Its helping me :)