Meat is probably one of the most expensive aspects of your family’s grocery budget. If you aren’t interested in cutting it out completely with a vegetarian diet, there are still a few ways to provide your family’s favorites inexpensively. We have previously mentioned planning your menu around the weekly ads so that meat and produce costs are lowered, but you should also plan ahead. Buy regularly used cuts of meat when they are on sale to freeze. You will always have what you like when you want it.
You know we don’t typically recommend buying bulk, but meat can be the exception. Value packages are often lower priced but are probably more than you need for a meal. Separate it when you get home and, again, freeze as needed. Think ahead—most meat freezes well for up to 6 months. It’s okay to buy your Thanksgiving turkey in August if you find a sale and have room in your freezer.
Watch for special 50% off sales on high-priced cuts of meat. It is not uncommon for the meat department to markdown packages a day or two before its use-by date. If you can’t find a deal on the higher end cuts of meat, use substitutions whenever possible. For example, rather than purchasing expensive boneless pork chops, take a whole boneless pork loin to the meat counter and ask for 1/2-inch slices.
Stretch your meat purchases by cutting it with rice, beans or pasta to make a meal. A cup of cooked rice combined with one pound of ground beef will double your meat mixture for tacos with little noticeable difference in taste. Skip the meat completely for a pasta or rice and beans dish once per week to really cut your meat costs. Even if you don’t cut out meat completely, we’ll help you find ways to cut your costs along the way.