When it comes to your grocery budget, one question that most people have is “how can I save money on meat?” For most, meat is a part of every meal, and it can hit the budget hard. And, unless you plan on changing your lifestyle, there is not much you can do to cut this necessary expense from your budget.
Here are some simple tips to help you save money on meat — and lower your grocery bill!
15 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY ON MEAT
1. Stock up when there is a sale
When your store runs a special on chicken, pork or beef, buy more than you need and freeze it. One way to save more may mean that you purchase the products in a larger package.
Break it out into more manageable sizes when you get home from the store and then freeze it in well-insulated freezer bags. Make sure you also indicate the type of meat and date, so you always consume the oldest first. Not only will you pay less per pound, but your meat will be in the perfect size portions for your meals!
2. Watch What You Buy
Another trick to save money is to buy a whole chicken, and then cut it up yourself. It costs less than the prepared packages of cutlets or breasts. You pay more as you are paying for the butcher to prep it for you. By purchasing an entire chicken, you will spend much less — just by doing the slicing yourself!
3. Eat less
With three young kids, it is simple for me to do this. When we prepare chicken breasts for dinner, I will often have one for all three kids, and then I eat only half of one myself. Instead of filling up on meat, we fill up on veggies and sides instead!
4. Get more out of one meal
Another way we save money on meat is to make multiple meals from it. We will have a roast on Sunday and store the leftovers (including the broth) in the fridge. A few days later, I make beef tips on rice. I can stretch that one cut of meat further and turn it into two meals
5. Buy a pig or cow
We’ve purchased 1/2 of beef in the past. It was a lot of money up front, but what was great is that we locked in the same price per pound. That same 1/2 lasted us more than two years! We had steaks, roasts, ground beef – right in the freezer.
As we watched the news share the rising costs of beef, our family didn’t have to be concerned with that as we already had a nice stockpile in our freezer. If you don’t have a friend who farms, check with your local butcher shop (not your grocer) to find a farmer who raises the meat you need so you can see about making a large purchase.
6. Skip the meat
If you serve more meals which do not include meat, you can reduce the amount you have to purchase each week. Start out by trying to swap one meal for one that does not include meat. Try to work up from there to at least twice a week, and you’ll notice some great savings at the store.
7. Don’t buy ground beef
Hear me out. I am not saying to pass on purchasing meat but don’t buy it already ground up. For instance, when a roast is on sale, you can ask the butcher to grind it for you, which can cost less per pound. It may not work every time, but something you should watch for at your store.
8. Shop early when meat is discounted
Most grocery stores discount meat left over from the prior day. It needs to be cleared out to make room for the fresh packages. That means discounts! Stop by your meat counter to find out when they have their meat on sale each day.
9. Know the price per pound
This is probably the best trick to helping you save money on meat. Watch the price per pound! You can use a price book and track the price per pound at your favorite stores. You will start to learn when something is a deal, as well as the sales cycles (so you can stock up when you find that deal).
Doing so may also allow you to find better deals when you buy in bulk. Just freeze it (as mentioned in above), so it does not go bad before your family has a chance to eat it!
10. Shop at the right place
Check your local stores to learn who has the best deal. You may also want to consider shopping at Aldi instead – as you can often find better deals on beef and chicken.
11. Make it go further
One simple tip helps you save money on meat is to make it go further. Instead of purchasing larger packages, pick up smaller, less expensive ones instead. Then, add fillers, such as breadcrumbs or oatmeal to make it go further.
12. Use coupons
While rare, there are coupons for meat! You can find printable versions through some retailers such as Tyson, Hormel, etc. One of the best resources to find these coupons is the Coupon Database. You can search through thousands of coupons to find the one you need. Enter the product or brand you need into the search and if there is a coupon available – you’ll quickly find it!
You should also follow your grocery store on social media and sign up for emails. They may release coupons to save on products – including meat. You don’t want to miss out on that.
13. Stock up during the holidays
Each holiday season, stores will often put popular cuts and products on sale. For instance, when it is near Easter, many stores will offer great deals on ham. Even if you don’t need the product at that time, go ahead and stock up while the prices are low. The holidays to watch include Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, July 4th and Memorial Day.
14. Check apps
Apps such as Ibotta, Checkout51, and Coupons.com sometimes have offers for meat. While you won’t save instantly at the store by using these, you can get money back after your purchase.
15. Plan your meals around the sale
Each week, browse the front page of your grocery store’s weekly ad. The items you see there are those that are some of the best deals you will find. Look at the meat or poultry on sale for the week and create your weekly meal plan accordingly. And then, as mentioned above, pick up a little more than you need so it is in your freezer when you need it!
When you make a change to your spending (and dining) routine, it can seem tough at first. However, taking small baby steps can make it manageable. Before you know it, your new way becomes normal and you will wonder why you were spending so much more than you ever needed to. If you are willing to embrace a change, it really can make a difference.