Purchasing meat to finish out those meals can be one of the biggest budget killers for frugal shoppers but it doesn’t have to be. There are multiple ways to be flexible and creative in order to save money on your meat purchases. When you plan your grocery budget keep these money saving tips in mind while making your lists and shopping. Remember that any savings you bring your family on the grocery shopping is SAVINGS and be proud that you are making the most of it.
Now this may not be available for everyone but if you live in a farming community or know someone who raises livestock, this may be a great idea for your family to be able to stock up on meat. Many people will go in half with another family on a cow or pig and then split the cuts of meat. It’s not uncommon to fill a deep freezer with your share.
Shop the Sales and Clearance Markdowns
Many grocery store chains will mark select meat cuts down every morning. If you have spare time in the mornings stop by your local grocery store and shop the meat department for markdowns. Talk to your butcher, and those that work in the meat departments. Simply ask them if they have a certain day or time that they mark items down.
In most cases, the meat markdowns are items that just aren’t selling and they need to make room or that are quickly approaching their “Sell By” date which works in your wallets advantage. You can buy these marked down meats and freeze them for later use.
Eat Cheaper Versions/Let the Store Do the Work
These days there are so many different cuts of meat let alone the sources for those meats. Have you tried ground turkey or ground chicken yet? These are both great ground beef substitutes and are often cheaper than the ground beef option.
Another easy way to save on your meat cuts is to buy your large pieces and have the store butcher cut them down (for example buy a chuck roast and have it ground down or do it yourself if your store won’t do it).
Stretch the Meat Further
Making the meat you do get for your meals stretch is another key way to save money on meat. You may never have thought about adding items to your hamburger/ground beef as you’re cooking that spaghetti or chili right? You can add a wide range of items as a filler that will take up that space and use less of your meat stretching your budget even further.
Here are some great filler items to add to your ground beef:
- Cooked Rice (white or brown)
- Ground/Grated Veggies (sneak those in for the picky kids)
If you are afraid your family won’t like “this weird looking stuff” try adding it in small amounts at first.
Avoid the Fancy Packaging
When shopping the meat department you may have noticed all the different kinds of packaging available. If you look further you may notice the same exact cuts may cost more if they are in a more appealing looking package. For example ground beef can usually be seen in “tubes” or in the more appealing Styrofoam plates. Another example is chicken, you may have seen those bulk bags of chicken thighs, legs, and breast pieces that often get skipped over. Those bags are often the best bang for your buck but it does require some work and getting dirty to clean it up and separate it out for meals.
Compare the packages and you will find you are paying more per pound for the fancy cleaner packages. Opt for the bulk packages of meat like the 5-10 pounds of ground beef you can find at Walmart and then break it down into smaller portions to save yourself money in the long run.
While they may be far and few between coupons for meat do actually exist. You can routinely find coupons for items like lunch meat and deli choices, but the elusive ground beef coupons are rare beyond means. If you have a certain name brand meat that you use exclusively like Oscar Mayer it never hurts to email them directly and just let them know how much of a loyal customer you are to their product. Companies have been known to send customers coupons just for writing them!
Stock up for holidays:
Around Thanksgiving and Christmas hams and turkeys are in abundance and on sale almost every week at local grocery and big box stores. We tend to also get coupons to help save for those as well and it becomes one of the best times to buy an extra ham or turkey and freeze it for after the holidays. Often times after Christmas you will see the same hams and turkeys being marked down which makes it an even better time to stock up!
Making a plan for your weekly or monthly meals helps your grocery budget in so many ways. If you make a plan of what meats you actually need for all of your meals you can buy those select meats/cuts in bulk and separate them out in your own storage methods. You can also plan your meals around what meats you can find marked down, so always be willing to be flexible in order to save money on your meat.