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.

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