Savvy shoppers know that coupons for meat are few and far between — but that doesn't mean we still can't save on this grocery budget buster! To make your dollar stretch farther, here are some great tips on how to save money on meat:
1. Look for “Special Deal” stickers.
Grocery stores will discount their meat that is close to the sell date by as much as 75% or more depending on stock and the date. These deals are always marked by a brightly colored “Special Today” or “Save Today” stickers and are usually put on the shelves in the earlier part of the day.
2. Shop the sales.
This is true with any food item but particularly with meat. When you see a B1G1 sale on a type of meat your family buys regularly, it's probably a good time to stock up. Keep note of the regular price/lb. – the store may raise the price/lb. slightly but chances are you are still getting a discount of 30 – 50%.
My local Big M offers a promotion of buying 5 specially marked packages of meat for $19.99 — you usually save around $1 per package. Check your local store for similar offers.
3. Stock up during meat season.
In line with shopping the sales is to shop during meat season, a.k.a. summer! Beginning of Summer, graduations, 4th of July, family reunions, etc. are all great reasons for grilling out and stores will run huge meat sales to help you out. Watch the store flyers and if you have the opportunity, stock up!
4. Do the prep work yourself.
It may be a time saver to buy the pre-sliced chicken tenders but it will definitely cost you — about $2 more per lb!! The same goes for meat that is already marinated in the package. The truth is, you pay for convenience.
Try to set aside some time to pre-slice whole chicken breasts yourself and then freeze them so that they are ready to go for the next meal. Marinate your favorite meat before you go to bed at night — it will only take a few minutes and you won't have to worry about what's for dinner when you get home ( not to mention it will be super delicious!)
5. Buy cheaper cuts of meat.
Along with saving money on unprepared meats, the same goes for choosing different cuts of meats. For instance, chicken thighs or drumsticks are much cheaper per lb. than breasts. Similarly, cube steak is much cheaper than a porterhouse. You can marinate and/or slow cook your meat to make it taste great and save you money!
6. Buy big, save big!
Most stores will offer bigger packages of popular meat such as hamburger and chicken at a discount price per lb. than smaller packages. If you have the resources to store the extra, you can save around $1- $2 per lb. from the smaller packages!
7. Consider alternatives.
My husband is a BIG deer hunter — in fact, I would say 90% of the meat our family eats is venison. Venison is a leaner meat that does not have a big gamey taste and can be made into several cuts of meat including hamburger, sausage, steaks, bologna and jerky.
If your family is not the hunting type, consider working out a deal with someone who is to process a deer for you. Processing can cost as little as $60 if you are getting simple cuts such as hamburger and sausage and can yield a large amount of meat for your family — a typical deer can yield about 50 – 60 pounds of meat!!
You can also consider other wild game choices such as turkey, duck, etc. or contacting a local farm for your beef and/or chicken.
8. Meatless Monday.
Enjoy a night or two per week where your family doesn't eat meat in their meals. Not only is this healthy for your budget but for your family as well! Green bean casserole, meatless chili, veggie pizza, etc. are all great examples of meatless meals that your family can enjoy!