Guest post from Sarah of Sidetracked Sarah
Unless you’re a vegetarian, you most likely buy meat on a regular basis — and those meat prices can add up quickly! It can be hard to find ways to save money on meat, as you typically just have to pay the going price.
We have a busy and hungry family of 9 people, and buying enough meat to feed us all can be VERY expensive, especially now that we have a few teenagers in the house. Here are a few ways that we’ve saved money on meat for our family throughout the years:
1. Buy in Bulk
While this can be pricey up front, it will likely save you lots of money in the long run. We’ve bought meat in bulk in a number of ways.
- Shop Sam’s Club
You can buy a case of ground beef at the meat counter and the price is reduced more than it normally is. You just have to have a plan in place of how you are going to store it and/or use it. For instance, you could plan to have a Crockpot Freezer Meals cooking day, using these hamburger recipes. Or you could plan to separate it into 1-2 pound packs and freeze it.
- Buy a Side of Beef From a Local Farmer
You can purchase a whole cow, half a cow, or even a quarter of a cow from a farmer and have it processed at a meat processing plant.
Typically, the beef you get from this tastes much better than the store bought kind AND you get those expensive cuts of meat that you typically don’t buy because of how outrageously priced they are. I recently ate T-bone steaks for $3.50 a pound!
2. Shop the Sales Circulars
Stores tend to go in cycles of when they lower the price of certain cuts of meat. Watch the cycles and prices and buy them when they’re at their lowest.
3. Find Creative Replacements
Here are two simple ideas for replacing expensive meat with less expensive options:
Do you have a deer hunter in the family? Or maybe a hunting friend? Ask them if you pay for their hunting tag if they would let you keep the meat from the deer and have it processed.
If you have a hard time with the wild game flavor, mix it with hamburger meat or use it in dishes that require heavy seasoning, like chili.
Here in Southeast Kansas, if you call the Sheriff’s office, they will put you on a list of people who would like to pick up roadkill deer in good enough condition to be processed. If you get the call, you simply go out and pick up the deer right after it happens and then transport it to the local meat processing plant.
5. Use Food Buying Clubs
Recently, I was able to buy 40 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts from Zaycon Foods for $1.69 a pound. They don’t offer deals like this very often, but it’s well worth it to stock up when they offer it.
There may be other food buying clubs in your area that you could join that have great meat prices, too. Ask your friends and family to see if they’ve heard of anything in your area.
6. Raise a Cow
I hear what you’re saying,”But, we don’t have land!” I realize, I live in Kansas, where there are lots of farms all over the place, so this may be much more applicable to me than to you, but I couldn’t leave it out.
I’m writing this list because I want you to think a little outside of the box. Some of our friends live on 80 acres and they have cows on it. They offered to let us put a cow out there, too. All we really have to do is provide any feed that it may need.
Now, I realize you may not have a friend out there who will do this, but is there a farmer who would accept a fee from you to do this, still making the meat less expensive? It’s worth a shot.
7. Go Fishing
My husband loves to fish but he doesn’t love to clean the fish. If, however, someone offered to take any fish that he caught and clean them, so they could eat them, I’m sure he would gladly hand them over.
There are probably plenty of fisherman who would do this. Of course, you could be even more adventurous and go cast your rod in and catch the fish yourself. Yes, that would be much more fun!
8. Shop the Markdowns
Every store handles their soon-to-be expired meat differently. I’ve seen Dillon’s freeze it and offer it for sale for cheaper in a special section. Walmart immediately marks it down when it’s getting closer. Other stores probably do similar things.
Get to know your store. When do they mark their meat down? For us, it’s first thing in the morning, so it pays to be an early shopper. If you can’t figure it out, go and ask the meat manager when the best time to buy meat that is close to expiration. I’m sure they’ll happily pass this information on, as it will help them get rid of the meat faster.
How do YOU save on meat?
Sarah Robinson, busy mom of 7, blogs regularly about feeding her busy family on her blog Sidetracked Sarah. She’s discovered the secret to having stress-free dinner times by regularly using Crockpot Freezer Meals. She would love to give you a free Freezer to Slow Cooker one week meal plan when you visit her here.