Your meat-eating family loves a juicy steak but, buying meat for your family meals is expensive! 9 Ways to Save Big Money on Buying Meat will show you practical ways to save money on buying meat without giving up meat altogether. You’ll be able to keep your “meat and potatoes” husband happy and see a reduction in your grocery bill quickly.
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9 Ways to Save Big Money on Buying Meat
Buy Reduced Quick Sale Meat
Reduced Quick Sale meat is meat that is approaching the last sale date. Grocery store meat departments will reduce this meat for quick sale. Buying this meat one or two days before the last sale date can save you 20-40%! It can be sold fresh or frozen.
This is usually the only way I buy steak for our family. It’s amazing how our toddler boys love steak. Only buy reduced sale meats from grocery stores you trust. If the meat looks discolored, don’t buy it.
Only Buy What Meat is On Sale
When you are meal planning or deciding what to make for potluck dinners, always decide what recipes to make based upon what meat is on a good sale at the grocery store if you don’t already have it in your freezer.
- Know your meat prices.
- Know what is a good buy on meat and stock up.
- Plan meals around good meat sales
Often, good sales on meat appear on the sales ad cover. I’ve gotten Prime Rib Eye Roast the week of Christmas for only $3.99 lb! Whole hams are cheapest at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Stock up even if you aren’t hosting the holidays, break it into smaller portions and freeze them. Hot dogs are really cheap around the summer holidays.
Once I bought a whole 22 lb turkey the day after Thanksgiving at a local supermarket for $11! This great meat deal was unadvertised. I made turkey stock from that turkey and made One Pot, Ham Potato and Bean Soup by stewing a ham bone in the homemade turkey stock. It makes for a fabulous broth!
Look for great meat deals, stock up and freeze the meat!
Buy Warehouse Family Size Meat
The rule in commerce is buying larger quantities gives you cheaper prices. Buying a family pack of chicken breasts will certainly be cheaper than buying a smaller portion.
You don’t have to have a chest freezer to do this. If you have room in your garage or basement, it is good to have a second, energy efficient refrigerator with freezer to store meat and party platters or even beer. I’m sure you can talk your husband into buying a second hand fridge if he can store beer in it.
- Break family size packs into smaller portions, put them in labeled 1 qt freezer bags and freeze them.
- Use a second freezer so you can stock up on meat when it’s on a really good sale.
- Cut your own chicken or steak into thin strips or cubes. It will cost less per pound.
I buy most of my meat from Costco where I get good savings everyday without having to wait for sales. 85% ground beef is currently $2.99 lb, pork loin is $1.99 lb, and Premio sausage for $3.50 lb. I just break it into smaller portions when I get home and freeze it. Some of their meats are already packaged in smaller portions but, sold in a bigger quantity.
I also get a free or near free membership! How? I signed up for the Costco Executive membership which costs $110 per year but, I get a rebate check based on our yearly purchases made at Costco. My rebate is about $100 and covers almost the whole cost of the membership. I honestly don’t think I could live anywhere that didn’t have a Costco within 10 miles.
Often times, even the sale price at the grocery store on smaller portions of meat is still more expensive per pound than buying a family pack so, compare prices before you buy it!
Eat Meat Fewer Days of the Week
If you eat daily meat-filled meals, you’ll see savings in your grocery bill immediately. As long as you don’t replace the meat with seafood, you will see a savings.
- Add 2-3 vegetarian meals per week to your meal plan: pasta, rice, couscous, pierogies, and pizza.
- Reserve higher priced cuts of meat, like prime rib for special occasions and only buy it on a good sale.
Pumpkin Alfredo Egg Noodles is a filling and tasty dish without meat.
As you eat more vegetarian meals, you’ll likely need more produce. Produce isn’t cheap either! Here are 7 Ways to Save Money on Produce.
Related article from Country Living : 80+ Easy Vegetarian Meals Even Meat-Eaters Will Love
Use Meal Stretchers
Meal Stretchers are recipes in which the meat is not the primary ingredient. For example, casseroles, soups, stir fries, etc.
Eating meat by itself, as in a full steak, will be the most expensive way to eat meat. It can cost $5-10 per person just for the meat. Although, it is still cheaper than ordering steak in a restaurant.
- Make casseroles with meat pieces in them.
- Pasta and rice are great to use to stretch meals that include meat.
- Make soups, stews, chowders and chili and serve with bread
Easy Ham Noodle Casserole is a good example of using up leftover ham and stretching the meal with egg noodles and some veggies.
One Pot Jambalaya with Shrimp and Andouille Sausage is a very popular recipe where both meat and seafood are stretched out with rice, vegetables and chicken stock making for a tasty complete meal. You can substitute chicken for the shrimp or omit it.
Follow my Soups, Stews, Chili and Chowders board on Pinterest.
Substitute Expensive Meat in Recipes
- Buy a beef chuck roast instead of a beef eye roast.
- Buy London Broil instead of Fillet Mignon, Rib Eye or Sirloin steak.
- Beans are a great substitute for meat in stews, soups and casseroles.
I get my skinless, boneless chicken breast for only $1.99 per pound or less but, chicken thighs and drums are even cheaper. When you are feeding a crowd, you’ll save money in buying cheaper meats.
Substitute chicken thighs or drums for some recipes that call for chicken breast.
Boneless pork loin is usually cheaper than boneless center cut pork chops. Bacon is expensive so, use it sparingly. Buy cheaper brands of sausage links. Johnsonville and Premio are good quality, although more expensive.
Buy a Whole Chicken, Ham, Turkey or Pork Loin
Also, if you buy a whole chicken and cut it into parts yourself with a sharp butcher knife, you’ll save some money too if you have the time. Buying a whole chicken, stewing it and making your own chicken stock will save you money too. At $4 per carton of Swanson chicken stock, making your own will save a lot of money!
I make Homemade Italian Wedding Soup and use the cooked chicken breast for Chicken Pot Pie or Chicken Noodle Casserole. I use homemade chicken stock to make One Pot Ham, Potato and Corn Chowder. Soups taste better with homemade stock and you’re saving money on buying the canned stock.
Buy Meat Directly from Farm Wholesale
Buy your meat in large quantity from wholesalers like Zaycon Fresh who offers 25-50% off retail prices. They have 1200 locations nationwide and offer promo discounts via social media and email subscription. Plus, they have a referral program.
Also, you can get good deals on buying a side of beef and splitting it with your family or friends. This is a great alternative if your family is carnivore and just must eat a lot of meat and you just can’t move to Texas.
There are many farm to table businesses that offer fresh meat but, it can be more expensive however, you get what you pay for most of the time. Fresh meat will taste much better and last longer in your freezer.
Reduce Food Waste!
Reduce, if not eliminate, the meat you toss in the trash because it never got eaten. If you made too much pot roast, freeze the leftovers or use the beef in another recipe such as Beef Stroganoff. Throwing away meat is like putting a $10 bill in the trash! Would you do that? No, so don’t toss your meat. It adds up over time and can cost a family hundreds of dollars during the course of one year.
Don’t forget about it in the back of the fridge. Be sure to eat leftovers or freeze them. This article from the FDA give tips on how to avoid food waste.
Using these 9 Ways to Save Big Money on Buying Meat will keep meat on your table without breaking your grocery budget. You don’t have to become a vegetarian to save money on buying meat with these smart money-saving tips. You will save big money on your grocery bill and be able to use the money to pay off debt or save for a vacation!