6 Ways to Save Money on Meat
Trying to trim your grocery budget? Since meat is one of the biggest grocery expenses, it only makes sense to try to cut costs there. Here are 6 ways that I save money on meat.
1. Replace ground beef with ground turkey.
Not only is this healthier it is also cheaper. I find that I can get ground turkey for at least $0.50/lb. cheaper than what I can get ground beef. Ground turkey does taste a little different than ground beef and you may find, like we did, that you just can’t quite reconcile saving money and having food that you really do NOT enjoy. Here’s what we have found works for us.
Instead of doing a 100% switch, I simply buy a package of ground beef and a package of ground turkey and then separate them out into individual 1lb. packages- 1/2 lb. ground beef, 1/2 lb. ground turkey. Honestly, we have not been able to tell any difference even when using it for burgers and meat loaf. And while it doesn’t save us as much as using all ground turkey would, we can enjoy our food and it still save a little too.
2. Never pay full price
Every kind and cut of meat goes on sale usually at least every other month. If you have a freezer, you can stock up on your favorite meats when they go on sale and freeze them so that they will last you until the next sale. Once you start doing this you’ll likely also start to see a pattern as to when your local stores run sales on each meat, which will help you plan more effectively.
Grocery stores will also often give you savings of up to $1.00/lb. for purchasing larger quantities (5 to 10 lbs.) of meats. I like to purchase these and repackage them into smaller portions and put them in the freezer for future use. Sometimes I take it a step further and cook the meat and then freeze it.
Don’t have a freezer? Take heart, you can still save! Simply plan your menu around whatever meats are on sale that week. You can also watch for meats that are close to their sell-by date and marked down. Stores often give a $1-$3 discount on those packages. You’ll be able to save a lot just by doing these two things.
Tip: Zaycon Foods sells boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.84 lb. in hundreds of cities across the United States. You simply order online and then go pick up the meat on the set date. It super simple and the meat is great quality!
3. Reduce the amount of meat in your recipe
I bet some of you are raising your eyebrows about now. And to be honest, when someone first suggested this to me I was rather skeptical. I’m a meat lover and I was sure we would notice the lack of meat in whatever dish I made. It took me a little to get up the courage to try it, but I finally did. And guess what? We barely ever notice it!
If you simply switch to using 3/4 lb. instead of 1 lb. in most recipes, I assure you that you will rarely notice a difference. Now obviously this won’t work in things like meat loaf, sloppy joes, or ham balls. But soup, casseroles and dishes where meat isn’t the main ingredient will do just fine with a little less meat.
4. Replace meat with beans
Again, this won’t work in just any dish, but I have found that most Mexican dishes taste wonderful with beans replacing all or part of the meat. In fact we prefer the one super quick Mexican skillet dish that I make with beans instead of the ground beef the recipe calls for. When I make chili soup I double the beans and half the meat because that is the way we like it. And reader Michelle said she adds beans and rice to the Mexican Chicken Roll-ups and makes them go farther that way. The great thing is that by subbing beans for meat you can still get your protein, just at half the cost.
5. View meat as a side dish
Instead of having meat as your main dish, switch it around and have salad, potatoes, beans, cooked veggies etc. as your main dish and meat as your side. Interestingly, the recommended serving size for meat is only 3 oz. or about the size of a deck of cards. If you are like us, it’s often easy to eat more than that per meal.
6. Serve at least one meatless meal a week
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that by simply not serving meat sometimes, you will save yourself money. We like to do at least one meatless dinner a week. I often serve a breakfast type meal such as pancakes & eggs or Easy Egg Stacks (use mushrooms and you won’t miss the meat much at all!). Or we’ll have rice and bean wraps, tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches, vegetable soup, Bean and Sour Cream Enchiladas, Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup, Country Potato Soup, Crustless Zucchini Quiche or other delicious meatless dishes.
What about you? How do you save money on meat?
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