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Saving Money on Meat

Category Meat
Whether buying in bulk or the reduced section at the grocery store, there are many ways to save when purchasing meat. This guide is about saving money on meat.
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Tips

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By 13 found this helpful
September 18, 2014

We all know that buying meat in bulk is cheaper. I used to bring it home, divide it up into servings and re-wrap each serving. It cost me time and money for re-wrapping materials like plastic wrap or bags. Not anymore!

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Now I just slice open the top and peel it down carefully, then pre-cut the servings while it's still in it's packaging, replace the plastic wrap and place the whole thing in a sealed bag (usually a bread bag that I save and reuse for this purpose.)

When I need one or more servings, I take it out of the freezer and can usually get the serving separated with one or two good whacks on the counter edge. No defrosting to remove just a pound of the package for a meal.

I placed 3 knives into the three pound slices I made in this ground beef to show you what I mean. You could slice them into individual hamburger patties even for easy suppers where anyone could pull out one or more hamburger 'slices' for a quick dinner!
Lots shorter time to prep and less material waste since I don't individually bag each serving anymore!

This can be done with other cuts of meats like chicken breast too! I hope it makes your mealtimes easier and more efficient.

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March 16, 20072 found this helpful

Tips for saving money on meat from the ThriftyFun community. Post your own ideas below.

Mix Ground Beef With Turkey

To stretch my mealtime budget, I buy ground chuck on sale and combine it with twice as much ground turkey that I get for 69 cents at my local Save a Lot. I add in two packets of onion soup mix, which costs 50 cents at the same store. This makes it taste more like all beef. If I combine 2 lbs. of chuck with 4 lbs. of turkey, I get 6 lbs. of meat for spaghetti sauce, tacos, chili, etc. for less than $6.00.

By Kelley

Turkey Burger

If you have a local Aldi's, turkey burger is 69 cents for a pound and is healthier for you.

By imaqt1962

Eat More Beans Than Meat

Eat less meat, eat more beans. I always bought canned beans because I thought dried beans took too long to cook. Now, I buy a bag of dried beans, any kind, and soak them in clear water overnight. Drain and refill with water (do NOT add salt, it will toughen the beans). Bring to a boil and boil for 20 minutes or so. Drain. Cool slightly and divide up into portion sizes in baggies, freeze flat.
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To use these, thaw quickly under running warm water or on counter, cook to taste. The freezing changes the cell structure and the beans cook up really fast after being par-cooked and frozen.

Also, when I make tacos, enchiladas, or other Mexican food, I always add beans to the filling, using less meat.

By Linda

Buy Sale Meat In Bulk

Some stores here have "red sales", they sell hamburger meat and bacon at 79 cents/pound, but you have to get 10 or more pounds. Buy some of the bacon (it's thick country style slices, not paper thin) and section it into pound or so packs in plastic. Then you can use what you need at a time! If it isn't salty enough, salt it.

Don't forget eggs as a protein source! Try this when they are on sale next time: In greased muffin tins, break one whole egg into each hole. Add 1/2 slice of day old bread, broken into small pieces, to the top of each egg and cover the bread with milk as full as you can. Salt/pepper/butter and bake for about 35 mins at 325 degrees F. Test doneness with fork. Serve with salmon patties, green beans and maybe a salad! But, by themselves, these sometimes are plenty!

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By melody_yesterday

Buy the Biggest Roast

When I buy a beef or pork roast, I buy on sale and get one of the largest they have. We are a family of 4 and the roast will last us for 3 of 4 meals that way. Usually this is even more economical than buying the cheapest hamburger.

By Robin

Buy Discounted Meat

I like to stock up on different varieties of fresh meat but hate paying the sometime expensive prices of fresh meat. While shopping at Safeway once, I noticed red manager price off stickers on various packaged meat. The reason for this is that the meat is getting close to the expiration date (but not past yet) and the store wishes to get rid of the meat, if possible.

I find that these packages are great bargains for me. Once I even managed to get over $15 worth of meat for about $5.50. As I have a freezer, I freeze all my meat for future use and thus extend the expiration date of the meat. By watching for these manager specials, I not only save money, but am also able to get a variety of fresh meat.

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By Marlene

Cheap Meat on Monday

I've noticed that Mondays are a great day to find reduced meat at Wal-Mart. I asked the butcher about it and he agreed, that's when they do their markdowns. At least thats how it is where I live.

By sierraskyesmom

Half Price Deli Items

I work in the deli of a local market on weekends. At 7:00 p.m, our hot side sells meals at half price. At 7:30, everything in the hot case is half price. On the cold side (deli meats), we close at 9:00 p.m, so at 8:30 anything that is already sliced and in the case is half price. Ask at your local store and see what they do. I know that at a rival store, they just wrap their meat and sell it the next day.

By Ms April

Shop Early and Save

I always find if I get to the store before 9 AM. There is always something discounted because it is the sell by date. I then buy it even if I don't need right away. I'll just freeze it for another day.

By j8jackel

Buy Meat First

Our grocery budget is frequently tight, and I have found that we tend to run low on meat sometimes. The solution we found was that if we get all of our meats first at the store and then figure what we had left to spend, we could usually get enough meat to last a week and still be able to get all the other things we need.

By Stephanie

Cut Back On Meat Portions

The way I spend money on meat is to cut back on the portions that I add to the different dishes I make. Meat is expensive, even hamburger! When I buy hamburger, I have the men at the meat counter package it all in one package. Then I bring it home and sort it into my own small storage bags in the amounts that I want to use and I put it into the freezer. I can get 7 or 8 meals out of a 5 lb. package of hamburger!

By Robin

Fillers To Stretch Hamburger

Add fillers like oatmeal, wheat/taboli mix, ground soy, rice, stale bread crumbs, to hamburger to stretch the amount. Healthier and thrifty.

By SNIGDIBBLY

Heartland Share

In the area I live, they have what is called "Heartland Share". You can get several meats, vegetables and fruit, plus sometimes dessert. It costs $17 plus 2 for transportation. You have to do 2 hours of volunteer work for 1 share. They also have meat specials. Those prices vary. See if they have it in your area.

By vikingprincess1955

Meat-Free Night

Try having a meat-free night at least once a week. It'll save a lot in the long run.

By BrookesMommy

Buy Direct From The Butcher

I buy a meat order, from my butcher. It costs us $129 (Canadian) and we get our chicken, steak, pork chops, ground beef and many roasts. It lasts us, a family of 4, 6 weeks. When I was buying from the store, I could easily spend $40 a week on meat. Usually your butcher has way better deals and you don't pay shipping costs.

By Willow2930

Shop from the Sale Flyer

Since we have only one store in our town (Copps), I shop only from their sale flyer. When they have a great deal, I buy enough to stock up. Meat or anything else. I liken us to treasure hunters. We really have to search to find the gems!

Cook And Freeze Ground Beef

Time is precious for working woman, so to save time when I buy ground beef. I buy extra and cook it right away then I freeze it in one pound containers. When you need a fast meal like sloppy joes all you need to do it take the meat out of the freezer and add you other ingredients. It's a time saver for me

By Darijavan from Grant, MI

Mince Meat Stew

We wait until Ground Beef (called Mince Meat in Australia) is on sale then freeze in meal size lots. Another way is to make a Mince meat stew to which we add lots of different veggies and usually cook two meals worth of potatoes. We then have the vegetables in the stew and make a shepherds pie with the remainder, putting in and oven dish and covering with the remaining half of the potatoes. Run a fork over the top of the casserole and sprinkle grated cheese on top. Bake in medium oven until cheese is browned and melted.

By John

Family Packs

I like to buy the big family packs of chicken parts, legs, thighs, drumsticks, etc, when they go on sale. I par-boil them when I get home and freeze in amounts good for dinners. It saves me a lot of time and money. I do the same for sales and markdowns on other meats. Anything that is marked down to sell, I cook up immediately to be safe and freeze or use in a meal for the next couple of nights.

I save so much money this way. We also have incorporated many vegetarian meals which we think is healthier. We don't need meat every night. Our grandson so far, at one year old, won't touch meat so there is some savings there!

By frugalelf

Keep Track Of "Good" Prices

Be sure you, and anyone else who might go shopping, know what price you want to pay. One time, I sent my husband to the store to buy some things in order to stock up. One of the things on the list was boneless chicken breasts. He brought home a largish package at $6.99 a pound!!! Unless it is a very special occasion, we only buy meat at $3.00 or less a pound. When I send him to the store, I'll mark the top price or say "chicken or whatever is on sale" because I can usually substitute meat in almost any recipe.

Buy Large Cuts And Cut Or Grind Them Yourself

I highly recommend buying large cuts of meat and processing it at home. If I want, say, ground chuck, I look for a chuck roast on special and grind it myself. Not only is this much less expensive than buying pre-ground, you can determine how much (and what kind of) fat you grind with it.

On stew beef: I'd rather buy a chuck roast and cut it up myself, removing any gristles and such. It's cheaper, and I get it the way I want it. Also, I haven't seen this in a while but I used to buy boxes of bacon ends and pieces really cheaply. Seems like the supermarket had 4-lb boxes for three bucks or so. Some of the pieces were too thick to fry for breakfast but they worked great to season beans, soups, stews and such. The thinner pieces were fine to fry, and the fat could be ground up with beef chuck or deer meat. No waste!

By Alph

Round Steaks

When I find round steaks on sale, I will purchase a full one and divide it into cubes for vegetable beef soup as well as cubes for beef stew. I cut the cubes for soup uniformly into small pieces but cut the meat for beef stew into larger pieces. If the round steak is large enough, I also slice the meat for beef stroganoff. Generally, I can get at least three meals from one full round steak by utilizing smaller pieces of meat instead of using the more traditional larger cubes.

By Ronsan from Southern Missouri

Look For Family Packs

We have 3 grocery stores in our area that offer 5 family packages of meat for $20. I pick out the 5 biggest packages, take home and divide them up and freeze. This usually feeds my family (of 3) for almost 2 weeks. I get creative with different ways to prepare the meats so we don't get burned out on them. And for the veggies, and sides I shop at Aldi discount grocery, or the dollar store. This helps out greatly on our grocery budget.

By jmz2005 from illinois

Discounted Beef Is Well Aged

One other thought: beef is actually often better after it has been marked down. There is a brief period of time, as beef begins to decompose, at which it is at its peak of flavor and tenderness. One of my passions is ribeye steak, and if I buy it fresh, I usually let it age in my fridge for a few days before grilling it. Obviously there are advantages to letting the market age the steak and then discount it! The only disadvantage is (assuming your fellow shoppers are beef-savvy) the well-marbled cuts have been taken and what's left is not very good. Shop wisely, but bargains can be found.

By Alph

Stir Fry Meat

Stir-fry is great. You use a little meat and a lot of vegetables and rice. We are not vegetarians by any stretch, but I don't get enough food stamps to last all month so we do spaghetti with sauce right out of the can without adding meat (but sometimes adding chunky vegetables). Pancakes, toward the end of the month. And hot dogs as a treat.

Use Coupons

Coupons, coupons and more coupons. Buy the reduced meats and then take off a coupon as well. I can feed the two of us steak, chicken, pork and shrimp for less than $30.00 a week and the meat is good quality. There is always enough left for the two of us to have a nice lunch as well and we save lunch out cost.

By Cheryl

Techniques From A Professional

Chicken: Cut up your own, it's easy, and you can use every part, including the neck, giblets and fat for soup stock.

Pork: Use less expensive cuts; sirloin chops are a good value and tender, pork steak has a trillion uses, you can even learn how to roll your own pork roast.

Beef: Use the tube hamburger vs. store ground. It is produced in ultra sanitary conditions, has better flavor, and it's cheaper. I've seen it produced in packing plants, it is excellent!

Don't buy 'thin cut' , 'tenderized', 'butterfly' or other such refined cutting methods, they charge 30 cents or more to process what you can do yourself.

Want a great steak cheap? Find 'Chuck Eye Steak' at your grocer, or at many WalMarts. This is a cut next to the ribeye. Less attractive but equally as good, very tender, great on the grill!

I was a meat cutter for 30 years, glad to answer any questions - just email me!

By Pops

Beef Chuck Eye For Steak Lovers

My daughter loves steak but the price makes it impossible to afford. But for a special occasion, I buy beef chuck eye steaks. They taste exactly like rib-eyes. I buy them on sale for $3.98 a lb. Compared to $10.98 for rib-eyes, what a deal. Sprinkle with seasoning salt and grill. Delicious!

By Lisa

Dollar Tree For Frozen Meat

The Dollar Tree stores in our area (western NY) have started carrying frozen foods. I have purchased meatballs, polish sausage, turkey bacon, brown-n serve breakfast sausage, chicken legs, crab cakes, fried clam strips, and sarimi. The packages are enough for the two of us, and everything so far has been satisfactory. Dinner meat for $1.00. Not bad.

By Jean

Using Leftover Meatballs

To save money, I take leftover meatballs and chop the meat to use for sloppy joes. That way you don't have to buy or use more hamburger.

By Pam from OH

Stretching Chicken Breasts

I buy boneless/skinless breasts of chicken when on sale. Freeze each breast separately for a recipe for 2, or 2 breasts for 4 people.

Take the out chicken to thaw and when partially thawed I filet those thick breasts straight across, creating large plentiful servings sometimes they are so large you can cut them horizontally. WOW!

Great savings, Great food. Enjoy!

By Patricia Vrooman from Peoria, AZ

Use Venison

To save money on red meat, we use venison exclusively. With lots of hunters in the family, they kill the deer and we pay for the processing. We buy 5-7 deer a year and it feeds 7 of us for a whole year for about $400. Try doing that with red meat of any kind. I only buy fish and chicken once in a while and the venison is 3% fat so it is just as lean as can be.

By Kay Mathias from South Fulton, TN

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By 4 found this helpful
October 21, 2014

I love saving money, as I'm sure most of you do. You buy in bulk at the market when specials are on. Well, I look at what's on sale, make a menu, then have the butcher cut my meat up to my specs.

countertop meat grinder and bowl of ground meat

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By 2 found this helpful
June 25, 2015

Just a reminder, when meat goes on sale, ask if the butcher if they will cut and pack the portions separately for you. I did and got four individually packed pieces for future meals.

Packaged ham ready for the freezer

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By 4 found this helpful
August 12, 2010

When buying ground hamburger for my family, I have found that buying in bulk and freezing is a great way to save us money. I have learned that if you buy a package of hamburger that is about 6 pounds, you can separate the meat into quart size ziplock bags (a pound a piece).

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By 1 found this helpful
August 24, 2006

We buy briskets on sale and cut them into roasts and steaks. You may wish to marinate the steaks before cooking.

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November 8, 20050 found this helpful

When I can ad match hamburger for around $1.38 I buy the 5 lb containers, then bring it home and cook one package at a time in my crock pot on high for about 5-6 hours, while I'm doing other things around the house.

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By 1 found this helpful
January 25, 2015

I rarely purchase lunch meat at the deli. Instead, I buy whole turkeys or hams and ask my butcher if they can cut them into half, thirds or even fourths!

Buy Large Cut Instead of Lunch Meat

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December 14, 20000 found this helpful

If you use a lot of bread and/or meat, it's a good idea to ask the butcher and baker what time they put out discounted items.

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February 14, 20000 found this helpful

When shopping in the meat section, I only look at the loss-leader meat featured that week, and then only that which has been marked down due to discoloration.

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May 4, 2007

Whole hams are on sale for only .99c a lb.! So now is the time to stock up a little bit and have the butcher quarter your whole ham.

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October 26, 20060 found this helpful

Save money on chicken by buying them whole and cutting them yourselves. It's easy to learn how to quarter your own chicken. All the leftover bones make great soup stock.

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December 15, 20050 found this helpful

Check out your butcher's specials--sometimes you can get a better deal than their advertised special. I always ask the butcher if I can get a better deal if I buy a larger quantity.

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September 9, 20050 found this helpful

When buying meat, always calculate how many meals you think you can get out of the purchase. From past experience you should have a pretty good idea of how much meat your family consumes in a meal, divide the number of meals you can make from the cost on the package.

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January 2, 20050 found this helpful

Look at meat package date. If the expired date is the day you're in the store, ask the manager for a discount. They usually will mark it down, otherwise, they have to throw the package away & pay for the loss.

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August 25, 2017

We wait for sales on meat before stocking up. This past week, we bought a boneless pork loin for $16.00. We cut it up then ground it up and made 1 pound packages that we vacuum sealed and froze. We also bought another boneless pork loin and cut it into chops and tenderloins, vacuum sealed and froze.

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October 22, 20050 found this helpful

If you live in a community around some restaurants, you might want to check with them for any leftover meats or other foods they might have leftover that they might not want to reheat and sell the next day...

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Solutions

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February 22, 20120 found this helpful

This is a guide about freezing ground beef. When ground beef goes on sale it is a great time to buy extra and freeze some for later use.

Bagged ground beef ready for the freezer.

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January 9, 20170 found this helpful

This is a guide about shopping for meat by the seasons. You can save money on the meat portion of your grocery budget by shopping holiday meat specials, such as ham around Easter.

A deliscous spiral ham.

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September 25, 20150 found this helpful

This is a guide about saving money on steak. Steak can be quite expensive, but there are ways to save money and still serve steak.

steaks in a supermarket meat case

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By 0 found this helpful
August 18, 2012

Two things help you save money on meat:

  1. A good kryovac machine.

  2. A local restaurant supply store.

Our local restaurant supply store has specials on meat. We get Angus beef for less that $2.20 a pound. The catch is you need to cut your own steaks. We take the slab home, cut the steaks to our liking and then kryovac one or two steaks per package. We do the same thing with their chicken breasts. The breasts come as a frozen block. We thaw enough to pull apart, then kryovac them. Another way is when your local store has a mind blowing special on roasts, have them grind up some of it and cut the rest into steaks. Best burgers in town!

By Donald from Caldwell, ID

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August 12, 20100 found this helpful

Buy large quantities of meat (hamburger or chicken). It is usually cheaper this way. Then separate it out into 1 lb amounts or however much your family eats and label and freeze it.

By Nicole from Eden Prairie, MN

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February 2, 20100 found this helpful

I cook up 10 pounds of ground beef at a time and then I divide it up into one pound packages (our family's size) and just freeze it. Then when I get home from work, all the hard stuff is done and I can make tacos, casseroles or whatever fast.

Valerie

Answers:

Buy More Meat

I also add onion and green pepper when I cook the meat. (05/19/2009)

By Anonymous

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