Since 2009 the average cost of ground beef has raised 81%. (source).
I can’t believe how much meat is these days, I actually get a little depressed when I check the grocery ads. I like to stock my freezer when good deals come up, but they are simply getting fewer and fewer these days.
That said I still do believe that your grocery budget is one of the easiest places to save money. Our family regularly eats a lot of chicken because it’s one of the least expensive cuts of meat per pound (I usually can get it for under $2 a lb) and a lot of ground beef using this surprising easy tip (I get my lean ground beef for around $1.50 a lb!).
While you can save money on dry goods, and other items with coupons, that’s not really an option for meat most of the time. Meat can easily take up a huge chunk of your budget. If you’re tired of spending too much money on meat and you need to stretch your dollars, we’ve got some tips for you!
If you just buy what you need each week, your menu or purchases will be dependent on the grocery store’s sales and current prices. Instead, find good deals each week at the grocery store. Buy enough to last you several weeks and freeze it! By the time you use up your freezer store, it will be time for another sale and you can stock back up again. This trick allows you to buy different meat each week and slowly build up a diverse freezer. (tip: make sure to buy turkey and ham around the holidays, it’s SO cheap.)
Buy Bone-In Meat
Boneless cuts of meat are definitely convenient, but you can pay a lot for that convenience. Buy bone-in cuts and cut the bones out yourself after cooking. As a bonus, bone-in cuts of meat often have better, richer flavor. You can use the bones to make stock for soup or sauces too!
Use Tougher Cuts of Meat
We’d all love to eat beef tenderloin every night, but you can save money by buying tougher cuts like flank steak, chuck steak, and cube steak. If you braise or slow cook your meat, rather than frying or cooking on the stove top, tough cuts of meat can become as tender as delicious as more expensive options.
Be honest with yourself about how much food you throw away. You likely have meat left at the end of each meal. Stretch it out and make it last! If you have extra taco meat, make taco-style baked potatoes the next day. If you have pot roast, use the shredded meat for lunch sandwiches. Extra ham slices? Dice them and toss them into an egg scramble. Not only will you spend less on meat, you’ll feel good about using up everything you get. Casseroles, soups, and other one-pot meals are always a good option for leftover meat.
Use Less Meat
I know this can be hard but start checking out Pinterest for new meal ideas that don’t need as much meat. Double up veggies or add more rice or beans. One easy way to stretch your taco meat is to add cooked beans, rice or lentils (or mix and match). It still tastes great and it meaty, but only takes half the meat. (Read my post on how I save 50-75% on Lean Ground Beef for another tip)
Use More Pork and Chicken and Less Beef
Beef is just really expensive. I regularly can find pork roast and bone in chicken breast for $.99 a lb when beef roast is $4 or more (on sale) a lb. Many recipe that call for shredded beef could just as easily use shredded pork or chicken.
You can save 50% or more on your meat budget and still eat well every day. It might take you some time to get into the habit of buying the right meat and using it up, but once you do, you’ll see a big difference in your grocery budget.
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