Want to know how to save money on meat?
Groceries are a common place to try to cut your spending because you have flexibility. You can choose what you buy, the brands you buy and how often you buy it. Meat is one of the most expensive foods in the grocery store though. It’s difficult to find coupons for meat and there aren’t a lot of choices in terms of brands to choose from. There are still ways you can save money on meat costs though. Here are a few of them.
Buy cheaper cuts of meat.
Reserve the more expensive cuts for special occasions. True, it is easy to throw a steak on the grill, but take the time to learn how to prepare less expensive cuts and you’ll save a lot. Look for slow cooker recipes. They will help make inexpensive cuts tender.
Much like putting bread crumbs in meat loaf stretches the meat to make more, you can add a some bread crumbs to hamburgers or make casseroles or one dish meals that use less meat than what you would use if the meat was a stand alone dish.
Make your leftovers into another meal.
Make dishes like fried rice or casseroles with leftover chicken or pork. There may not be enough for a meal for even one person if you were to just eat the meat alone, but by adding it to a recipe that doesn’t need much meat, you use the leftovers and get a whole meal out of them. Here’s a basic fried rice recipe to get you started. I improvise with the ingredients now, but this recipe will teach you how to make it just as well as your favorite restaurant.
Buy reduced meat.
That’s right, the marked down packages. Walmart will place yellow stickers on the meat a day or two before the use or freeze by date. Prices are usually 40% off. Sam’s will circle the price in red but you have to look closer to notice the price is lower than the rest. Aldi will occasionally have reduced price meat specials, but I haven’t found them often. I check the meat and if it looks a strange color, I don’t buy it, but usually it looks no different than the full priced meat. Take it home and put it in the freezer. The sticker says “Use or Freeze by” this is not the same as an expiration date and the meat is not going to instantly go bad on the date of the package.
Use less meat than recipes suggest.
Get in the habit of using less meat than recipes suggest. It is usually way too much anyway and no on is going to notice the difference between 1 1/2 pounds of meat versus 1 pound.
Cut meat into smaller portion sizes before serving.
Practice portion control before it’s on the plate. Once food is on someone’s plate, you probably won’t want to save what they don’t eat. Just because a chicken breast seems like it would be a portion for one person, you don’t need to serve an entire chicken breast to one person. It is actually more like two or even three servings with some large breasts. I’m talking about the boneless skinless breasts, which are actually only half a whole breast. For the three of us, I usually make two of these half breasts. We each eat half of one for the meal and then there is a half left over for a lunch the next day or to freeze to have precooked chicken available for another meal.
Serve filling side dishes.
Serve vegetables, grains and bread with your meals. Filling up on these items is cheaper than filling up on meat.
Don’t eat meat every day.
Meatless meals are not only frugal but healthy too. I have a Meatless Main Dishes board on Pinterest where I pin ideas of recipes to try. A couple of our favorites are Parmesan Garlic Cheesesticks from Life A Little Brighter and Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Pasta from Pop Sugar. We eat the cheesesticks as a meal with salad, not just as an appetizer or snack.
Buy in bulk.
While the initial cost may be more to buy a large cut of meat, you save on the per pound cost. I recently bought a whole boneless pork loin at Sam’s and cut it up myself. I paid $13.33 for the entire thing and cut it up for seven meals. It will actually make more than seven as one of the “meals” was a roast I will make Barbecue Pork Sandwiches, which will make several meals. Probably more like ten meals will come out of that $13.33. This is ten meals for three people, so thirty individual meals! That comes out to about 44 cents per person per meal. Compare that to the cost of eating out!
If you’ve never cut up meat yourself here’s how simple it is:
How to Cut Up a Whole Pork Loin to Save Money on Meat
Lay the whole loin out on a large cutting board. You will notice one side usually has a layer of fat on it and the other doesn’t. There will also be one end where the meat looks darker in color. I use this end for a roast and the opposite end and middle sections for chops and other cuts.
Place the side with the fat on top. Using a sharp knife, run the knife just under the layer of fat to remove it in long strips. Experiment with your cutting technique. I find it easiest to pull up on the fat with one hand as I make swipes with the knife with the other between the fat and the meat. A sharp knife will make this quick and easy.
Then cut the loin into three equal portions. The portion on the right, is the one I set aside for a pork roast. I like to make ours into Barbecue Pork Sandwiches in the slow cooker.
Cut up the remaining two portions into chops, strips, or chunks and divide into meal size portions for your family. I made mine into two meals of thick chops, two meals of thinner chops and two meals of thin strips for stir fry, plus the roast. You could also do chunks for kabobs.
At this time, you could make some easy marinades to put in plastic bags with the meat. This is a big time saver. When you get the package out of the freezer to thaw, your marinade will start working. All you have to do is throw it on the grill or in the oven.
I only made one package with a marinade this time for Teriyaki Pork Chops with some teriyaki sauce I had in the refrigerator. Here is my Teriyaki Freezer Marinade which can be used with chicken or pork.
I wrap the meat in plastic wrap and then place in freezer plastic bags or wrap in freezer paper. I didn’t time myself, but I would say it took me about thirty minutes to cut up and package the meat. The savings is well worth the time.
I hope you try these ideas and recipes. By employing these tips, you’ll be able to reduce your grocery bill significantly.
Follow me on Pinterest for for more money saving tips and recipes.
What ways do you save money on meat at the grocery store?