November 19, 2014

How to Save Money on Meat

Sep1

 

This past weekend, I spoke at Lysa Terkeurst‘s  (President of Proverbs 31′s) conference.
You all know how I love to find great deals, so it was only appropriate that I spoke  from my “Becoming a Grocery Guru” workshop. I ran out of time and only briefly mentioned ways to save money on meats, so I thought I’d follow up here.

Of course, we all know that some of the most obvious ways to save money on meats are to eat less of them, add more grains and beans to your diet etc., but what if your family mantra declares “Meat is King” and serving a delicious Asian Citrus Salad on couscous is just not an option? My three teen sons would not go for that on a regular basis.

The #1 way that my family saves money on meats is by looking for the wonderful yellow tags that indicate it’s being marked down due to a “quick sale.”

This means that the sell/freeze by date is within a day or two and they want to move it on out. When that happens, I stock up, rethink my meal plan for the week and put the extras in the freezer immediately.
I have enjoyed my shopping experience so much more by getting to know the management. The meat managers are my buds.

Ask your butcher/meat manager when they mark the meats down. Quite often, they have a regular routine.

The store I shop at initiates their first mark down by 8am, the second mark down by 3:00pm, and if anything is left by the time they go home at 7:00 – whew, you get a steal and I recommend you snatch it all up. That’s what I did last night.

On Sundays, whole rotisserie chickens are on sale for $4.99 (reg. $6.99).
At 7:00pm, if there are any left, an additional $3 is taken off and I splurge for a whopping $1.99 of moist, already cooked, seasoned chicken.

If I snag more than one, I pick off the chicken, bag it up in quart size servings, and I’m ready for instant 10 Minute Dinners.

These pre-marinated pork tenderloins are regularly $8.99 (18 oz). I got there in time for the third mark down and was thrilled to purchase these for only $2.99, as well as free range ground chicken for $1.99.
Don’t just assume your store does not do this – ask!

They may not, but they also may make an exception. You wouldn’t believe all the deals I get on all types of foods just by asking politely.

Some of you have what I call a “flinch factor.” Purchasing marked down meats might not be an option for you since you only like the freshest of the fresh, and I completely respect that.
Coupled with buying marked down meats, our family also buys the freshest of meats by purchasing an entire cow (with other three other families).
It doesn’t get more fresh than that – from the range to the freezer in less than a week.
Twice a year, we order 1/4 of a cow, and it is always delicious.
It’s free range, no hormones and averages about $2/lb for every cut of meat imaginable from Fillet Mignon to soup stock. Since it’s location specific, ask a local farmer or butcher if they can recommend a place for you.

It’s really worth it. In the Piedmont Triad area, we order from Mitchell Meats and they do everything right at their meat packing plant.

Some of the other ways I save are by taking advantage of holiday deals.
Purchasing ground turkey after Thanksgiving always leads to a great deal. Our local Fresh Market grinds their left over turkeys after the holidays and sells their free range, high quality ground turkey at only $0.99/lb. Every years, I buy organic whole turkeys for PENNIES a pound. YES, it’s true!
I stock up on ham before and/or right after Easter and Christmas holidays.

I’m also not afraid of buying the cheaper cuts of meat and letting the crock pot tenderize it til it’s melt in the mouth good.

Stretch your ground beef by mixing it with ground turkey. It’s not only healthier, but more cost effective. Other ways I stretch my meat are by adding bread crumbs, potato flakes, oatmeal and….
TVP.

What in the world is TVP?
Below I am mixing it with my meatloaf mixture. Yes, I know it might look like dog food, but it’s a healthy low cost alternative that is wonderfully versatile. It stands for Textured Vegetable Protein, and it’s a meat alternative made from soy flour. It comes in chunks and flakes (I only use the flakes) and I slide it into my ground beef quite often.
It is sold in a dehydrated form but easily reconstitutes when mixed with beef.
You can find it sold in any health food store or food chains that carry a “bulk food” aisle.

Here I am stealing all the fun on Tasty Tuesday….there are many more ways that I save on meat.
Why don’t you throw out some of your tried and true tips in the comments and see if we can conquer this price war together.


Comments

  1. Meal Planning with Connie says:

    Great tips on ways to save on meats! I usually purchase ground chuck, chicken breasts and pork sausage on sale. I brown the chuck and sausage in a large batch. Drain in a colander lined with paper towels. After a few minutes remove paper toweling and run a hot water rinse over meat in colander. Move colander to the side and run hot water and dish washing detergent through drain for a few minutes. If you have sensitive pipes, you might need to skip the rinse step. Allow water to completely drain from meat. Scoop two heaping measuring cups of browned, rinsed and drained meat into small zippered bag. Flatten bags, squeezing out as much air as possible. Flattening the bags helps save room in the freezer, and the meat thaws quicker, too! Place bags in freezer and freeze. Once frozen, put all these smaller bags into one larger zippered bag you've labeled with contents and date. I do the same thing with boiled chicken. I just boil, shred/chop, bag and freeze. Having my meats pre-cooked has revolutionized my cooking at home!

    Thanks for hosting Tasty Tuedays!

    Many blessings!!

    [Reply]

  2. Amanda @ Serenity Now says:

    THANK YOU, Jen!!!! I was just today thinking about ways I could save on meat, and the only thing I could come up with was comparing the circulars on Sundays. I like your way much better! :) Thank you for hosting!

    [Reply]

  3. You have such a wonderful blog! Thank you for some useful info!

    [Reply]

  4. ~3 Sides of Crazy~ says:

    I love those labels and 2 for 1 sales! Great tips.

    [Reply]

  5. Diann @ The Thrifty Groove says:

    Our tags are red here and I even have the hubby trained to do a "perimeter" check before heading into the aisles! He now gets so excited when he finds some awesome markdown meats! He actually bragged to some guys the other day about the fact that all the meat we ever buy is reduced. They were all talking about how much money their family grocery bill is.

    [Reply]

  6. I try to watch for markdowns on meat, but I've never gotten the scores you find *L*

    [Reply]

  7. Janie at Sounding Forth says:

    I really think you need to come to my house and cook. And teach me more about how to save money.
    And probably a million other things. Because you rock!!

    Peace out!! ;)

    [Reply]

  8. Thanks for the great ideas!

    [Reply]

  9. You gave some great tips! I'm going to start looking for those yellow tags in my store.

    [Reply]

  10. I know it might sound funny, but I {love} marked down meat. I get a thrill if I can get something for nothing.LOL Thanks for all the tips, Jenn.

    And let me just say… is there anything you can't do? I just listened to the video you have at the bottom left here. You have a beautiful voice! And you are rocking those jeans! I love when people come as they are and just {worship} God!

    [Reply]

  11. Blushing hostess says:

    This is a fabulous post, so needed in these times. My Husbands family did the whole-cow thing for years and it worked out really well for abig family. Great tips.

    [Reply]

  12. thanks for these tips Jen – I look for the yellow tags too – but I don't find them that often – do the stores do this daily? or only on certain days?

    I do the bulk of my shopping at super Walmart, and I rarely ever see meat marked down there, but I do at the other grocers, which is where I prefer to buy my meat any way.

    Thanks again
    ~TidyMom

    [Reply]

  13. Hoosier Homemade says:

    Great post! There is lots of great info that I already do, but lots that I don't. I've been trying to cook a meatless meal once a week or so and my house full of men don't seem to mind it.
    Thanks for hosting!
    ~Liz

    [Reply]

  14. I try to make the most of my money with meat by using 2/3 to 3/4 that is called for depending on recipe. I also make chicken broth from the chicken bones. :D Leftover roast or shredded chicken I use for a variety of recipes that normally call for meat like I'll put chicken into alfredo, fried rice, etc. Beef into stroganoff, fried rice, etc.

    [Reply]

  15. Great to see you again this weekend!! I am sure you inspired everyone who listened to your talk! I will have to ask at my store about their markdown timing. I have also scored some free/nearly free meet by using chip coupons they had a while back… $2 off beef when you buy chips… on some great marked-down steaks for my hubby. He loved that! Saving $$$ on groceries is my big thrill in life. Blessings!!!

    [Reply]

  16. Kristen, The Pajama Mama says:

    Jen-so funny for me to add my link today of all days when you post on money saving with meat! I'm a vegetarian and have been asked over and over what people can make when hosting vegetarians! Crazy! Thanks for hosting and the chance to link up!

    [Reply]

  17. Christi @ A Southern Life says:

    Great tips! I find that I can server smaller portions of meat if I have some great sides to go along with it.

    Christi

    [Reply]

  18. Jane (Frugal Fine Living) says:

    These are some great tips. Thanks for sharing them.

    Jane

    [Reply]

  19. southerninspiration says:

    Jen, thanks for sharing some great tips!

    Suzanne

    [Reply]

  20. Amy Green (Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free) says:

    Meat…I buy it in bulk. I honestly have to weigh the time/money factor because when it comes to this. I do my grocery shopping at 3, sometimes 4 different places because of my dietary needs. If I find it on sale, I buy more and freeze it.

    I've started a new blog carnival – Slightly Indulgent Mondays – fabulous food made a little bit healthier. I'd love for you to join in the fun!

    [Reply]

  21. Since I don't eat meat…, I just send a big thank you for hosting this party to you!

    [Reply]

  22. my best tip is for my husband's fave meat: RIBEYE….Now you ladies know that ribeyes, no matter where you live, are not cheap. It's a RARITY. But after I learned one tip from the girl at the Meat Counter, I can easily afford to have steak night as much as I want.

    Buy the CHUCK EYE cut. It's the slightly fattier cut RIGHT BEFORE they start cutting the Ribeyes. And it's about 70% cheaper than a ribeye. two Ribeyes cost me about $20.00, Two chuck eyes cost me about $4.00, see the difference? And there is NO DIFFERENCE in taste. Only the slightest bit more fat but I cut that off after grilling.

    When these go on sale, I buy EVERY package and season them and stick 'em in the freezer. My husband LOVES his steaks (so do I) and I like being able to afford them!

    I want to learn more about TVP….

    [Reply]

  23. forgot this: the VERY BEST dry rub is from Aldi, it's simple called Steak Seasoning. It rocks!! And it makes an ordinary steak turn into an OH MY GOODNESS tasty steak.

    And it's $0.89 a bottle, one bottle lasts me two months.

    [Reply]

  24. really helpful – I need to have a talk with my grocery butcher today :) My rule of thumb is to plan meat meals for the week based on what is on sale for $1.99 per pound or less…but it is rather limiting some weeks

    [Reply]

  25. Great tips!!! Thanks for sharing.

    [Reply]

  26. Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates says:

    Excellent money saving tips! I have been forgetting lately to check for marked down meats. I'll remember!

    [Reply]

  27. PrairieCottageRose says:

    Yes, it pays to make friends with the meat department people:) A great way to save!

    [Reply]

  28. These are great ideas. I have a freezer so I pretty much only buy meat on sale, I save a ton that way. But it looks like you are getting much better deals than I usually do!

    [Reply]

  29. We save on meat two ways:
    1. One of my husband's employees moonlights in the meat department. WE often get first pick of the markdowns.
    2. My husband deer hunts. There is some money invovled (hunting equipment/time)but we can eat on the meat all year!

    [Reply]

  30. Some great ideas- I also use my crockpot alot. I love the idea of ground turkey post Thanksgiving- can't wait to see if any of my stores do that.

    [Reply]

  31. Melissa Miller says:

    Hi Jen,
    It's nice to meet you! I'm joining you here for the first time.
    Thank you for hosting! You have a wonderful blog and I'll be back again real soon.

    ~Blessings to you, ~Melissa :)

    [Reply]

  32. Lisa@BlessedwithGrace says:

    Lots of great tips. I appreciate the info. Thanks for stopping by and linking to my Tempt My Tummy Tuesday. I enjoyed visiting your blog, today.

    [Reply]

  33. Lisa@BlessedwithGrace says:

    You are going to think I am crazy. I just realized you did not link to my blog. Another person linked your URL to their entry on my Mr. Linky. How funny. I thought that was weird. I just figured it out. Ha ha. Anyway, please don't think I am crazy.
    Anyway, glad they did, now I was able to discover you great blog!

    [Reply]

  34. Great tips! We're looking at getting half a cow this fall too.

    [Reply]

  35. Mary Ellen ~ Carolina Momma says:

    We're saving by buying grass-fed in bulk straight from the farmer! The couple we buy our grass-fed beef from at our farmer's market invited us and the kids out for a day at their farm. While we're there, we're going to pick up a large order of beef at a discount. So we get to stock the freezer and have a fun day out a farm!

    [Reply]

  36. Smelling Coffee says:

    Thanks for these great money saving ideas! Always a welcomed blessing.

    [Reply]

  37. Real Life Sarah says:

    We save on meat by buying from local farmers, especially beef. It is about $2.50 a pound even for steaks. We buy it once a year and keep it in the freezer. That way, even if I can't spend on groceries, we can always have steak or burgers!

    [Reply]

  38. Grassfed and finished all the way! check out http://www.eatwild.com and see if you can find a local farmer near you.
    Grains and beans are inferior sources of protein and gluten is not good for anyone! Any soy product is dangerous unless it is fermented, like miso. It is really bad for kids! Check out more information at
    http://westonaprice.org/soy/index.html

    Hope you don't mind me sharing! This is my God given passion and I have to share! ;-)
    Blessings!

    [Reply]

  39. HeathahLee says:

    I will have to ask if they do those markdowns. And I have used TVP in the past and no one was the wiser. Until I spilled the beans and my husband said that he just KNEW something was different. Uh huh.

    I thought of you Monday. I went to the store and got 9 boxes of cereal for $1 a box. I was so proud of myself! I did think, though, "Jen would have probably gotten them for a quarter!" : )

    [Reply]

  40. Nicole Feliciano says:

    What is TVP? Don't know that one. Sorry I am so late to link…vacation. Hope you had a great Labor Day. And I did link back to you here:

    http://momtrends.blogspot.com/2009/09/friday-feasts-summer-squash.html

    [Reply]

  41. I always look around for specials on meat, but didnt realize there was a system to when they mark things down. On Sunday, i got 2 sirloin steaks for $0.94, a 4 lb chuck roast for $3.43 and a 2 lb london broil for $2.85. I was so excited and actually almost couldn't believe it. I was looking around to see why noone had snatched them up! ha!

    [Reply]

  42. Kelly @ The Miller Mix says:

    I have been trying to find a local place to buy a whole cow, or at least farm-fresh meat, but keep coming up empty. Any suggestions for finding it? I'm actually in the central area of the state.

    [Reply]

  43. How did I not know this was you! I have gone to church with you for years until we moved just outside of town. I am such a big fan of your blog. Love reading your posts on saving money.

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    That is such a small world.

    Yes, I always joke that I have an entire “second life” (my blog) that no one at WEstover knows.

    [Reply]

Trackbacks

  1. […] 2. Limiting beef consumption. We usually eat beef only 2-3 times per week because of the expense, but I’m also experimenting with beef-stretching ideas that incorporate healthier ingredients while keeping the cost low. I really love Crystal Paine’s recipe for stretching taco meat, and I’m also looking into adding cooked rice to beef to cut both costs and cholesterol. Other ideas for saving money on meat can be found here. […]

Share Your Thoughts

*

Current ye@r *