How to save money on meat

I hear meat is a side dish in many third world countries. Unlike in the United States and Canada, meat isn’t the centerpiece of practically every meal.

Although I admire some of the customs and values ingrained in other societies, I’m not prepared to pay homage to them by forsaking my love for beef, poultry, pork, and seafood.

First off, when seasoned and prepared properly, meat tastes AMAZING.

And second, I need animal flesh to build and maintain the lean muscle necessary to keep my body at the desired level of tightness. I respect my vegetarian and vegan brethren’s diet choices, but they’ve failed to convince me protein from vegetables and legumes alone will satisfy my vanity motivated fitness goals.

Steak on BBQSince meat takes up a large chunk of many food budgets, let’s take a look at how we can cut costs in this category without cutting consumption.

Buy family sized portions of meat. One of my local supermarkets frequently offers a $0.50 per pound discount if you buy meat in three pound or larger packs. To speed up the thawing process and reduce waste, I break down oversized quantities of meat into single serve portions and store in quart sized freezer bags.

Customize your portions. Even though meat has a relatively long useful life when properly stored, it doesn’t last forever. If you’re prone to allowing your meat to freezer burn or spoil, then buying in bulk obviously won’t save you any money. Tell your butcher precisely how much meat you want.

Use a slow cooker. I can’t remember the last time I bought a t-bone steak. And at $9 plus per pound, raw, I also can’t tell you when I’ll buy another one. Fortunately, I discovered long ago that a slow cooker can transform a chuck roast, which generally sells for less than half the cost of a t-bone, into a tender, juicy beef that’s equally satisfying.

Perform a taste test. After seasoning a batch of meat, quickly cook a tiny piece by frying it in a pan or zapping it in the microwave. You don’t want to cook an entire meal only to discover that it’s bland or salty. There may be starving children in China, but that fun fact won’t motivate you to choke down disgusting food.

Skip boneless and skinless chicken. No, I’m not suggesting you eat the bones and skin. Although, I think the skin is often the best part. It might take all of ten seconds to rip the skin off a piece of chicken prior to cooking it. As for the bones, don’t eat ‘em.

But don’t overpay for bones. Meat containing large bones offer less edible flesh. The bargain you think you’re getting may not be so. I always get really excited about $3.00 per pound pork ribs. But I quickly calm down when I realize that half of what I’m paying for are bones.

Stock up. When you find meat you know you’re going to eat on sale, rack up. Just make sure you don’t buy so much it goes bad before you eat it.

Cut your own meat into strips, chunks, steaks, etc. You can do the same with a large cut of meat such as a pork loin. To make the process easier, slice it when it’s partially frozen so that your meat and knife aren’t sliding all over the cutting board.

Freeze eggs. Just crack, whip, and pour into an ice tray. Once frozen, empty eggs into a freezer bag for safe keeping.

Buy fish from the frozen food section. Honestly, the only differences I can decipher between fresh and frozen fish is that one is frozen and cheaper and the other is thawed and more expensive.

What tricks do you use to lower the cost of meat?

About the Author

Shawanda Greene is a free thinking, frugal gal whose only vices are boxed wine, lip balm and money grubbing. You can find more of Shawanda's musings at You Have More Than You Think – a productivity focused guide to maximizing the money you have to obtain more of what you want.