This is a guest post from Rachel of Mashup Mom . Thanks Rachel!!
Most articles and blogs on eating more frugally emphasize the financial and health benefits of cutting back on meat and filling up instead on alternatives like beans or tofu — or suggest using meat as a flavoring, rather than as a main dish. If, like me, you live with a committed carnivore, this type of advice becomes hard to follow/swallow — your meat-lover or Atkins-follower will just ignore your healthful alternative and raid the fridge for piles of cold cuts or hot dogs.
In the interests of family harmony and frugality, here are some tips I’ve picked up over my years of living with a carnivore.
Make the most of cheaper cuts of meat
When pot roast or London broil (or even, ugh, hot dogs) go on sale, I stock up. Marinate well or use your slow cooker, and that $6 pot roast can stretch across at least a couple of family meals — even with a resident carnivore.
Watch for BOGO sales on meat — pork loin, for instance, often goes BOGO at $9.99 (and when it’s Hormel pork loin, you can actually sometimes find coupons to combine with this) — giving you 2-3 meals of meat for $5.00. Watch out, though — some stores enjoy jacking up the price on a BOGO so you’re not really saving as much as you’d expect. You need to build up a sense (or create a pricebook) of the normal prices at your usual store(s) to know what is really a deal. Get to know the cheapest price certain meats go at in your area, and stock up when they’re at that price. (When boneless skinless chicken around here drops under $1.75/lb, I buy a lot!)
Invest in a freezer
If you’re in the Chicago area, think about this Jewel deal that goes on every year. Wherever you are, though, give yourself the ability to stock up when meat is cheap. Last week I found 93% lean ground beef for $1.99/lb, and snagged their last two 4-lb packages. This will let me make, say, 12 burgers and 2 pots of chili from $16 worth of meat. (More burgers than you get from the fattier beef which you normally can find at that price, since the leaner meat doesn’t grill down as small!) I used one package to create dinners for several days, and froze half for another week. On weeks when meat deals are few and far between, eat out of the freezer.
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