The cost of EVERYTHING is going up, have you noticed? I have! With the price of gas going up, the price of groceries are going up. One of the hardest things fans tell me they have a hard time saving on is meat. I’m with you! It has always been the largest part of my budget but I have been working really hard to reduce that part of my budget this year and am finally making some headway. Here are some tips that I have learned along this journey:
1. USE LESS MEAT: Ok, my first tip might be one that you didn’t expect. The biggest way that I have cut down our budget for meat has been by cutting down our serving sizes. Yep, I used to think that I needed to cook a whole chicken breast per person or that I needed to cook a huge roast. No more! Now, I cook 1/2 chicken breast per person and most of the time I buy a small package of cubed stew meat instead of a large roast. I was finding that my family doesn’t like to eat leftovers as much as I thought they did and we were throwing away too much food. Now, we don’t have as many leftovers (usually, just one serving at most), so we aren’t being as wasteful. It took a while for my two youngest to adjust to the smaller portions of meat as they both LOVE meat, but now they are used to it and now I’m no longer fussing at them to EAT THOSE LEFTOVERS!
2. BUY DISCOUNTED MEAT: Find out when your store marks down their meats. The picture above was taken at my Kroger. There was a huge pile of meat that had been discounted from $2.13 to $10.12 or so. Some of it was a 50% savings while others were 40% or 30%. I dug around for the 50% off savings. I stock up once a week on the meats that my store marks down. So, as the meat manager at your store and make your shopping day the morning that the meats will be marked down to help you save!
3. BUY CHEAPER CUTS OF MEAT. I have found, especially with roasts, that cheaper is actually tastier. For steaks, find different ways to season and cook it. I cooked some steaks in the crock pot with cream of mushroom soup and it was delish! I use CARNE PICADA to make burritos or taco meat. So much cheaper than ground meat and my kids like it better in their burritos, especially.
4. REPLACE MEATS WITH BEANS! This is one that my husband has been encouraging me to do. Beans are so much cheaper than meat, so find some recipes on Pinterest or other resources and try to cook more with beans. I like cooking with black beans because they are small and cook faster and better for me. Plus, beans are healthier for you!
5. BUY IN BULK: If you have a Costco or Sam’s card, then buying in bulk is definitely the way to go. Just remember to divide the meat into smaller packages BEFORE you freeze. I did that the other week with chicken and divided the chicken into 5 packages. Such a huge savings! I have friends who purchase 1/2 cows and so forth. That is something I would like to do when I get another deep freezer. *Someday*
6. BUY CHICKEN ON THE BONE: My adopted kids like to ask for “Chicken on the bone”. They totally did NOT like boneless, skinless chicken when we first adopted them from Colombia and they will love chicken legs. So, I buy and bake chicken legs and it’s a lot cheaper than boneless, skinless!
7. USE CATALINAS & GIFT CARDS: I also like to use my Kroger Catalinas to buy meat. Or ask family/friends for gift cards to Kroger or Walmart or Sam’s as gifts. When times are tight, family might not think of giving you something practical like that so it’s ok to suggest. I also use any gift cards that I earn for meats like the Publix Running Out? Run in! gift card deal that they have right now.
*Note, Publix doesn’t ever mark down their meats from what I understand. Kroger & Walmart have been the two places where I have found meat discounted.
This is what I have in the crock pot right now! I’m making stew. Here’s a breakdown of cost:
Crock Pot Beef Stew
1 package of stew meat for $2.13 *Kroger Discount Sale
6 Carrots Chopped up $.50 *1/2 bag from Aldi which was $.99
6 Potatoes Chopped up $.50 *1/2 bag from Aldi which was $.99
1 Onion $.20 *1 from bag of onions from Aldi which were $1.49
1 Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup $.40 *on sale at Kroger with coupon
1 Carton of Beef Broth $1 *On sale at Publix with coupon
= $4.73 Meal for a Family of Six