If you learn how to save money on meat, you will be making great progress in stretching your grocery budget.
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Stretch Your Grocery Budget
In most families, meat is the most expensive part of the grocery budget. We tend to eat protein of some kind at every meal and we tend not to like the notion of giving it up. Often we structure our meals around the protein, thinking first about what meat we want, then figuring out a meal to go with it.
This is why it is so important to figure out how to save money on meat and make our protein dollars stretch. If you can start making an effort at restructuring your meals and thinking ahead about your purchases you can make a huge impact on your grocery budget.
Luckily, there are many ways to do this and some will work for you and some won’t. Hopefully, you can use a mix of them all to maximize your grocery savings. And, make sure you read 10 Killer Ways to Save Money on Groceries in order to save on the rest of your grocery expenses.
Ways to Save Money on Meat
1.Use The Sales – This is a great way to rack up the savings on protein. On the front page of nearly every grocery store flyer, there is some cut of meat on sale. This is usually the cheapest way to buy meat. When you see that chicken drumsticks are on sale for $.89 per pound buy several pounds at a time. Repackage them into family dinner-sized portions and freeze for later. I do this with all cuts of chicken and pork, hamburger, roasts and sometimes steak.
2. Substitute For Lower Priced Meat – Many recipes will call for one cut of meat, but you can swap it with something else much less expensive. You can use ground turkey instead of ground beef, swap chicken thighs for chicken breast, or use shredded pork instead of shredded chicken. If you’re BBQing, try chuck steak instead of ribeyes, just remember not to overcook them in order to make sure they’re still tender. Our family loves to eat grilled chicken legs and those are always going on sale. Don’t be scared to try something a little different.
3. Buy In Bulk – Zaycon Fresh allows you to buy meat in bulk. They deliver straight from the processing facility, so the meat is fresher (it comes to you within days) and you save a LOT. If you think you don’t have the space for bulk meats try splitting it with a friend. Most people would love to share your savings with you. Go check out their prices, you’ll be amazed! This also gives you a great opportunity to make Freezer Meals, which will save you a ton of cooking time.
4. Use Chicken On The Bone Instead Of Boneless/Skinless Chicken – Boneless chicken is much more expensive than on bone chicken. Frequently it’s double the price. And, chicken cooked on the bone has much more flavor and is juicier to boot. If you have a recipe that requires raw boneless chicken learn to bone the breasts yourself and make chicken broth from the bones. This creates double savings.
5. Use Less In A Recipe – In some recipe, you can use half what it calls for and no one would notice. This works great in recipes like stir fries, casseroles, and soups. You could even add more vegetables to fill out the recipe.
6. Substitute Part Of The Meat With Legumes – Legumes (beans) easily go into many recipes and provide a very similar texture to ground meat. When making taco meat use half beans, in sloppy joes add in some lentils, or stir mashed beans into your hamburger for patties or meatloaf.
7. Limit Portions – Often, the meat is people’s favorite part of a meal, but that doesn’t mean they need to eat more than one portion. Try setting a limit and only give one portion per person and don’t allow them to eat seconds. Let everyone fill up on the veggies or other side dishes.
8. Check For Markdowns – Most meat departments have a section where they put meat that is marked down for quick sale. They place the meat here before it’s expired so it is still fresh enough to eat. Just make sure to use it right away or freeze it. Notice this package of chicken thighs was on sale for $.99 per lb., then it had a 50% off coupon. Therefore, I ended up getting almost 6 pounds of chicken for $2.75.
9. Choose Your Recipes Carefully – Some recipes are a natural for reducing your meat expenses. Recipes like spaghetti and chili are perfect examples. They can easily take a small portion of meat and stretch it into a dish that serves the whole family and even leaves leftovers. Having books like, Good and Cheap – Eat Well on $4 a Day or Good Cheap Eats, Dinner in 30 Minutes or Less will really help you navigate getting dinner on the table without spending a ton.
10. Use A Free App Like Ibotta – Ibotta pays you small rebates on many products. They have rebates on brand-name products and “any brand” items. This allows you to buy things like ham, sausage, tuna, hamburger, etc. If you sign up through this link you will get a $10.00 bonus when you make your first purchase. Once you reach $20.00 they will pay it out to you in gift cards or to a PayPal or Venmo account. I accrued that in my first month.
Bonus Meat Savings Idea
11. Have Meat-Free Meals – The biggest way to save money on meat is to not buy it. There are a lot of meals that are naturally meat-free. When you choose these, no one in your family will complain because it just feels natural to be eating them. Recipes like Spaghetti Marinara, Cheese Pizza, Macaroni & Cheese, Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup, Pancakes, etc. And, don’t forget to Use Eggs to Stretch Your Budget.
Saving money on meat is the biggest way to make a dent in your grocery budget. If you start by making a commitment to using one or two of these ideas on a regular basis that’ll be a great start. Then try another and another. You will be surprised to see how much money you have left over after shopping each week.
- 10 Killer Ways to Save Money on Groceries
- 15 Amazing Frugal Pantry Staples
- Why You Need A Freezer Meal Plan
Do you have other ways you’re saving on meat? Share with us below, we’d all love to see your ideas. And, be sure to subscribe so you can get my weekly time-saving and dollar-stretching tips.
Don’t forget to go check out The Grocery Budget Makeover before it goes away!
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