Saving Money on Food Series: How to Save on Meat

It’s important to provide healthy meals for our families, yet the grocery bill each month can really add up. Besides the mortgage bill, groceries are one of the highest expenses in a household. If you watch, you can find good sales, as well as coupons, on produce, dairy, grains, and meat–items used to make healthy meals for your family. Over the next month, I’ll be outlining specific ways to save money on meat, dairy, produce, and grains.

Ways to Save Money on Meat

Meat is usually the most expensive part of any meal, and it really can add up on your grocery budget. Here are some tips to save money on meat without having to go completely meatless.

1. Plan Your Meals Based on Meat Sales
Look through your grocery store circulars before you plan your meals. If chicken is on sale, then plan a few chicken dishes. It’s not the week to make a pot roast unless you already have one in the freezer.

And most grocery stores mark down meat that is coming close to its “sell by” date. Check with the meat department to see if there is a specific day or time of day that the meat is marked down. You can purchase and freeze the meat or use it before it goes bad.

2. Buy in Bulk
Family-sized packages of meat usually cost less per pound than smaller packages, so buy one big package and divide it into the portions that you need and freeze it.

3. Use Less Meat
Many times you can cut the amount of meat used in a recipe. For instance, if the recipe calls for 1 lb. of meat, just cut it in down and use 3/4 lb. meat. You probably won’t even notice it’s missing. Now this obviously won’t work for recipes like meat loaf and sloppy joes, but you can cut down the meat for soups and casseroles.

4. View Meat as a Side Dish
Instead of serving meat as your main dish, try making a meal where a salad, cooked vegetables, or a potato are the main dish. You’ll be able to feed your family on less meat and save money.

5. Have Meatless Nights
You don’t need to completely go meatless, but take one or two nights a week and make it a meatless night.

6. Buy Less Expensive Cuts of Meat
Choose more affordably priced choice cuts of meat, then marinade, tenderize, or slow cook them. You’ll often get the same great flavor as a more expensive cut of meat at a fraction of the cost.

7. Separate the Tenderloin
Boneless pork chops, pork loin, and chicken breasts come with a small piece of meat hanging off the side. Cut off the tenderloin, trim off all the visible fat, put it in a freezer bag, and place it in the freezer. Add to the bag each time you prepare your meat. Eventually, you’ll collect enough to create a dish that calls for small pieces of chicken breast or pork.

8. Replace Meat with Beans
This won’t work for everything, but you can replace meat by adding extra beans in your meals, such as mashing black beans in burgers, adding extra beans to chili, or mixing refried beans into taco meat.

9. Use Leftovers in a Different Way
If you have roast beef left over after dinner, don’t eat it for lunch the next day. Instead, use it to make a vegetable beef soup, which will serve the entire family for dinner, plus it will create more leftovers.

10. Check Butcher Shops or Farms
Check out local butcher shops or farms for great deals on fresh meat. Sometimes their prices can be lower than bargain grocery stores.

What are other ways you save money on meat?

Here are more ways to save money on food:
Saving Money on Food Series: How to Save on Meat
Saving Money on Food Series: How to Save on Dairy
Saving Money on Food Series: How to Save on Produce
Saving Money on Food Series: How to Save on Grains

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