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I get asked a lot if my family buys meat. I guess it is assumed to have a budget of $50 per week for all expenses that we must vegetarians. We are not! Though you will rarely find coupons for meat there are ways to cut your costs. Since most of these tips are about stocking up, most meats can be stored frozen for 3-4 months (longer than that starts to distorts taste and texture).
8 Tips for Saving on Meat
1. The best tip to save on meat is following our guidelines for groceries. Wait for sales and stock up. Once you are stocked, continue to watch sales and break up your meat purchases so that you are buying chicken one week, beef another week etc.. You don’t want to ruin your budget with a week of just meat purchases.
2. Find when your store does meat markdowns. The meat is still fine to eat or freeze, it just needs to be stored that day. The Kroger in my area does this every Monday morning. This is when I buy steaks. I can usually get 50-75% off high dollar cuts of steak. If it is a good markdown then stock up on as many as they have or as many as you need.
3. Buy a Cow. Not kidding, really. Go in with 4 or more other friends and contact a local farm to see if they sell cows to individual groups. You will pay a per pound rate for the cow and will pay a butchering cost. Tell the butcher exactly what you are wanting, mostly ground beef, ground beef and steaks, roasts etc. Then split it all up. You will end up with probably around 80-90 pounds of beef per family. The savings ads up when you realize that for expensive cuts you paid the same per pound rate as your ground beef. A group at our church does this every year. Last year we paid $2.66 per pound and that included roasts, ground beef, and steaks.
4. Be your own butcher (not for #3). If you are willing to spend a little time with your meat you can save $2 per pound or more.
- Buy a pork tenderloin and make your own boneless pork chops. A tenderloin sale price is $1.99, boneless pork chops sale price is $3.99. (Most grocers will do this for you for free if you ask.)
- Remove the breast bone yourself from split chicken breasts. Boneless chicken breasts on sale are $1.99 lb, split breasts are 99¢ lb.
- If you are cooking steak for a few people, buy a London Broil and then cut it into thinly sliced strips. You will feed twice as many people than serving individual steaks.
5. If you are making casseroles or other meals with cut up meat use the cheapest form of that meat. No one will know you used chicken leg meat in your chicken casserole, or that you cut up a cube steak to make fajitas or stir fry.
6. Use leftover meat to make another meal. Christy at Southern Plate used 1 ham to make 4 different meals. Don’t want to eat ham 4 nights in row? You don’t have to. Make the casserole and freeze it to eat in a week or two, soups can also be frozen. The point is don’t cook the ham and just throw away the rest.
7. Use other purchases as “coupons” off your meat. If you see an item on the grocery deals list for that week that is a “FREE plus overage” item, you need to buy it. Buy as many as you have coupons for. If you can make $1 to buy Revlon tweezers, that is really $1 off your meat, milk, and other non coupon purchases. If you buy 10 Revlon tweezers that is $10 off your meat. Keep the tweezers you want and donate the others to shelters, or women’s ministries. I love my tweezer savings!
8. Buy meat in bulk. When there is a great deal grab what you want and freeze the rest. Ordering meat online from Zaycon.com is a great way to get super great prices on bulk meat as well. You can always go in with some friends or stock up your deep freezer when you see great prices. Zaycon also regularly has coupon codes and deals going on, but even their regular prices are great! They don’t deliver right to your door but you can find a location near you where you can pick up you order.
For more tips read other Extreme Couponer 101 Column posts.