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11 Ways To Save Money on Meat

Updated on July 10, 2014

Ways to save money when you buy meat for your family

Have you ever looked at the meats in the grocery store and suffered from sticker shock? I once saw a package of chicken breasts priced at $20 and nearly fainted. We have a large family, so I am always looking for good ways to save when I buy meat.

The contents of this page is interspersed with helpful videos on how to choose the best cuts of meat for the money and how to save money on meats.

If you have any tips, please be sure to share them with others in the Guestbook at the bottom of this page.

Jenny from SouthernSavers.com on how to save money on meat

Jenny mentions some interesting ideas and things to think about as you work to save money on meat. After you watch the video, be sure to read over the rest of this page for other ideas/suggestions -- as they are different!) :)

1. Buy less meat.

Well, derp!

Have you ever tried going without meat? I tried a vegetarian diet for 12 days, which I outline here. I'm not really being a smart-aleck, I promise. But think about it. The quickest way you can save 50% on meats is to buy half as much meat as you've been buying! You make this work by doing this next suggestion...

2. Combine meat with rice, potatoes, pasta, and beans to make it go farther.

And think creatively!

Look for dishes that combine the meat with a starch. Beans have the added benefit of making up the protein you are losing by eating 50% less meat, plus they are cheap! Have you looked at a bag of dry beans in the grocery store lately? You can get a bag that will feed your whole family for $1.30. Another idea is to swap your meat and main dish around -- "Make meat your 'side dish' and your side dishes your entree," says Snellville Today reader Margaret Moore.

3. Ask about and for deals

"My Kroger almost always has manager's specials... and I pretty much plan my meals around them." ~ Renee Ricciardi

Ask the people in the meat department of your grocery store if they have a day or time that they regularly mark down meats. Make a point of being there to get those "Manager's Markdowns." For example, today I bought a package of 100% beef hot dogs (national brand) for only .59 cents. There's nothing wrong with it -- perhaps 2 hot dogs in the package don't look perfect, but the packaging is intact and doesn't expire until next month!

How to eat healthy and save money when you buy meat

In this video, there is advice on how to choose between different cuts of meat to make good health choices while saving money!

4. Invest in a deep freezer

Preserve your food purchase

Notice I didn't say "buy" a deep freezer. Yes, you buy it, but it's more of an investment because it pays you back -- because when you DO find those deep discounts on meats etc, you won't have to pass them by. You'll be able to take advantage of them and stock up. It's not only meats that I save on -- but even basics like bread freeze so well. I can often get $2 packages of bread for .59 cents. These small savings really rack up over a years' time.

Susan Durham of Puttin' Up With Suzy, has another suggestion for meat preservation. "If a person is into pressure canning, you can also can the meat in sauces, soups, in broth, etc. Another great way to preserve, especially if the freezer gets full. Plus, in a lengthy power outage, it won't spoil. (Be sure to follow safe canning practices though.)"

5. Look for discount cards

When the Boy Scouts or church groups sell their yearly fundraising discount cards, check to see if a butcher is listed. I saved 10% on meat at the butcher for an entire year for an easy $10 donation. Not to mention the other savings we gained from the card all around town.

Don't forget to sign up for the free shopper's cards if your grocery store has them. Registering allows you to get sales prices and some stores send you coupons.

6. Look for "Family Packs," if you don't see them, ask.

If you don't see a "Family pack" of ground beef at the grocery store, be sure to ask the meat department clerk. When I've asked, they've often fixed up a family pack for me on the spot and I've gotten a reduced price for buying more. When I get home, I can separate the beef into approximately 1 lb size packages and freeze them.

Look for deals and use coupons on Ziploc and other freezer bags to make this process easier and convenient. I love being able to grab a pound of beef and easily defrost it in my microwave for use. Always have fresh meat this way. You can also brown the ground beef and allow to cool in the refrigerator before packaging and freezing.

If your family enjoys hamburgers, it's a time saver to go ahead and form the patties. I make a stack of hamburger patties, using approximately a 5"x5" piece of waxed paper between each patty, then put the entire stack inside a quart-size or gallon-size Freezer Ziploc bag (depending on the size of the stack you make).

I now have a wonderful FoodSaver vacuum sealer. I absolutely love it! Fun to use and because it seals out the air, the food stays more fresh -- no more "freezer burn."

"I buy my meats in bulk, then I come home and divide them into smaller portions and put them in foodsaver bags. It saves a significant amount and keeps the meat fresh," says Snellville Today reader Jill McClure.

8. Buy local and support farmers

Where I live, we have a Farmers' Market in season. Many of the vendors sell meats. At least a couple in particular sell grass-fed beef (less calories, less fat, naturally -- because the cattle didn't eat corn.) Cows were meant to eat grass and graze, not eat corn. So you are getting a healthier food for your money.

More money will come out of your pocket, but think of the value you are getting for your meat purchase, not just what it costs. It's not always cost, but value and good taste matter too. By buying from farmers near you, you are supporting agriculture and small business near you, which has the payoff of helping your local economy.

9. Consider tuna - An inexpensive meat option

Tuna can be made into cold sandwiches, made into Tuna Casserole or Tuna Tetrazzini (both great recipes, click to see them.) These recipes use the advice from #2 above, to combine meat with a starch to make it go further. Sometimes tuna is about .50 cents a can. Look for sales, use coupons.

Thermometers for your refrigerator

Help keep your food and beverages at the proper temperature with a refrigerator thermometer. If not maintained at the correct temperature, food will not keep as well or as long. By using a thermometer you will get more out of your meats, vegetables and fruits.

10. Use Coupons

I can almost hear you protesting, "But -- there are hardly ever any coupons on meat!"

That is true, but what you can do is use coupons on other things you are buying. The "overage" created when you buy something that is on a good sale, along with coupons doubling, can make items free...sometimes there is actually a little profit! For example, if a non-meat item is on sale for $1.50 and you have a Manufacturer's coupon for .50 cents off (and your store doubles the face value of the coupon) and you have a Store coupon for .75 cents off, you will be getting the item free plus .25 cents profit.

That profit/overage can go toward the items in your cart that you don't have coupons for -- meats, fruits and vegetables. The more items you have like this, the more money you can have removed from your total. Some people do this even if they don't need/use the product they are getting free. They donate the item to a local food bank or other charity, but they still get the benefit of the overage helping their own food bill. This one is a bit of work, it's true, but it IS an option to consider.

11. Become best friends with your Crock Pot

A Crock Pot Slow Cooker can be your BFF simply because of all the time it saves you -- how nice would it be to come home to your dinner, all done, warm and waiting for you to just sit down and dig in?!? But this relationship gets even better when you realize how much money it can save you. Because a slow cooker cooks long and slow (usually 8-10 hours), this allows you to buy the less tender (and therefore less expensive) cuts of meat.

To cook a roast, clean and quarter about 4 potatoes and put them in the bottom of the slow cooker, along with some chopped carrots (or you can use the mini carrots). Then lay the roast on top of those. Sprinkle sea salt on both sides of the roast. Slice an onion and lay the slices on top of the meat. Pour 1 can of stewed tomatoes on top. Put the lid on securely and make sure the slow cooker isn't touching anything on the counter. Set to Low for 8-10 hours. You can eat this as a roast and turn leftovers into other things -- like shred it (it will be soft and easy to do this, and add BBQ sauce for a nice sandwich.)

Money Saving Mom on 3 ways to save money on meat

Crystal from MoneySavingMom.com shares 3 ways to save money on meat. Her suggestions include serving meatless meals about 3 times a week, thinking of meat as more of a garnish rather than the center of the family meal.

Digital Meat Thermometer

The OXO Good Grips Digital Leave-In Meat Thermometer is the ideal tool for cooking roasts and poultry to perfection. The digital display dually functions as a thermometer and 24-hour timer, and it is angled for optimal viewing on the counter. Simply insert the probe into the meat and run the cable outside the oven door to easily monitor what's cooking. The Thermometer provides the option of selecting USDA or chef recommended temperatures for all types of meat, poultry and fish, and will signal when the preferred temperature is reached. In addition, a 10-degree warning alert helps prevent overcooking. When not in use, the Thermometer probe fits easily into the display and the cord wraps around the base for compact storage.

More tips to save money on meat

"When I buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts (on sale, of course), I cut each one into three pieces: I whack it in half lengthwise and then cut the thick part in half through its width. This gives me 3 cutlet-type pieces that cook quickly, cost less than cutlets or tenderloins and are about the right portion size." ~ Margaret Moore

"I buy ground beef in large quantities from the butcher shop (fresher and cheaper) then brown it, divide into portions and freeze it in zipper freezer baggies. It's easy to defrost in the microwave and doesn't get freezer burned. " ~Susan Boswell

"My Kroger almost always has manager's specials... and I pretty much plan my meals around them." ~ Renee Ricciardi

Please leave a comment or a tip on how to save money when you buy meat

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am a latina homemaker and what really helps me is price matching the meat...usually at walmart...and the places i usally price match are from latino grocery stores..there meat is always on sale....the reason i dont buy from them is because there meat tends to go bad really fast...and its fresher at walmart....hope i help...trust me the meat is on sale all the time...

    • frugalfinance lm profile image

      frugalfinance lm 5 years ago

      These tips are great, I didn't know about some of these so I'll definitely be looking at implementing them next time I head to the supermarket or butcher!

    • Bluemoongoddess1 profile image

      Lisa Musser 5 years ago from Kansa, USA

      Thanks, these are some great tips. I do some of these myself and it really helps.

    • Darla Dixon profile image
      Author

      Darla Dixon 5 years ago

      @Oneshotvariety LM: Thanks, I'm glad you found something you can use here :)

    • Darla Dixon profile image
      Author

      Darla Dixon 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks, I appreciate you stopping by

    • Darla Dixon profile image
      Author

      Darla Dixon 5 years ago

      @BestLaminateInc1: Thanks! I really should get one of those!

    • profile image

      BestLaminateInc1 5 years ago

      Good ideas! I love to buy while its on sale in bulk and then separate and freeze. My vacuum sealer is my best buddy!

    • Oneshotvariety LM profile image

      Oneshotvariety LM 5 years ago

      Nice tips! Definitely worth bookmarking! :]

    • Darla Dixon profile image
      Author

      Darla Dixon 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Realy helpful tips!

      Great Lens