Saving Money On Meat

by GettingFreedom on April 15, 2010

Meat expenses can really kill a grocery budget.  When we first started analyzing our grocery expenses, meat was our number one expense.  I would be okay living off of salads and fresh fruits and vegetables, but my husband won’t have it.  Instead, we found some ways to still enjoy our meat, without breaking our grocery budget.

  • Eat a meatless meal once a month (or even weekly).

This wasn’t as hard of a transition as I thought it would be.  My husband really enjoys Lentil Brown Rice Casserole, as well as Lentil Tacos.

  • Have a salad as the main coursewith a little meat included.

Our favorites are Taco Salad and a Grilled Chicken Salad.  You can up the protein in your salad by adding in hard boiled eggs, or even nuts.  This way you can cut down on the meat used even more.

  • Use less meat than what your recipe calls for.

For instance, I used to always use a minimum of 1 pound of hamburger to make tacos for my family.  I’ve been able to successfully cut that amount back to 3/4 of a pound without noticing any difference.  While that may not seem like a big difference, it really does add up. Think of it this way–If you serve ground beef 3 times a week, you will save yourself 3 pounds of meat a month.  Or enough to serve your family just over another week’s worth of ground beef meals.

  • Take advantage of meat sales.

When you see a good price on meat (either from a weekly sale, or a manager’s markdown), Stock up until you can come across that price again.  I’ve been able to find ground beef for around a dollar a pound and boneless skinless chicken breasts for as low as $1.33/pound.

  • Pay attention to actual portion size.

As a general rule, a meat portion is about the size of a deck of cards–or 3 ounces.

  • Buy a cheaper cut of meat.

Sirloin is going to be more expensive than cubed steak.  Some cheaper cuts will indeed be a bit tough or chewy, but if cooked slowly–you’ll end up with a great piece of meat.  I’d rather spend time, than money.

  • Make your own cuts.

Obviously, the more work they grocery store does for you, the more you will pay.  You are paying them for convenience.  Make your own Boneless, Skinless Chicken breasts by buying a regular chicken breast and removing the bones/skin.

Dice up your own stew meat.

Invest in a meat grinder {to grind up your own hamburger from roast}, and a meat slicer to slice your own cold cuts.

How do you manage your meat expenses? Have any meatless recipes to share?

Be sure to check out even more frugal tips over at Frugal Friday.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Janna @ The Adventure of Motherhood April 15, 2010 at 9:35 pm

I love my HyVee b/c they always have two freezers with great deals on meat.

Thanks for the tips!


niki April 15, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Hi there! Niki here, dropping in from over at Free 2 Be Frugal. I really enjoyed your Frugal Friday post…it really is the truth about your family not noticing you scaling back the amount of meat in a recipe. Over time I cut back our ground beef amounts from 1 pound to 3/4 lb. to 1/2 lb. Hubby’s never said a thing!

Stop by and see me sometime.



Crystal April 16, 2010 at 6:38 am

I feel the same way but my husband is a true carnivore! I always buy my meat when it has been reduced and we usually have a meatless meal once a week like bean and rice. I’ll be able to seriously cut back on groceries starting in June though when my hubby deploys. I’ll only eat meat once a week then. Great frugal friday post!


Sherry April 16, 2010 at 6:51 am

I do the same thing with reducing meat to 3/4 pound. Unfortunately dh and kids don’t eat beans. :( We do have a meatless meal once a week still like cheese quesadillas, tomato soup w/grilled cheese, baked potato bar..

Have a great weekend!


Sonshine April 16, 2010 at 8:32 am

My family is fully carnivores, gotta have meat at every meal. Meatless meals are very hard to do at my house. Most of my family also will not eat beans, I have tried several ways with the beans to no avail. I finally have been able to do chili with beans by mashing up most of the beans.

With my family needing meat at every meal, what I have done is worked on the portion size of the meat. I have cut the meat back that I use. I also have started cutting chicken breasts lengthwise so it looks like I have two thin cut chicken breasts. :)

I also watch meat sales and check for manager’s markdowns. Sometimes meat is a “loss leader” so I will stock up and put the extra in my freezer. :)


Jen April 16, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Thanks so much for the post! My husband has acted in the past as though he might actually die (!!) from a meatless meal once or twice a month, but he is finally coming around! The kids are fine with it. I’m trying to appease everyone and the lentil casserole looks yummy. A major substitution for us is that I do some of my shopping at Aldi and they carry frozen turkey breast in the freezer area for $1.49/Lb, comes in a tube type package (I think that’s the price). I use that in place of ground beef for just about everything now. Tacos, meatloaf, meat sauce, minestrone soup etc. No one can tell the difference, and it’s about half the price of the ground beef I was buying.


Johnlyn April 16, 2010 at 2:40 pm

We eat a lot of Mexican food here. I will add a little bit of leftover roast to our refried beans and it seems like we’re eating meat.

Here’s my refried beans recipe:

My family (including my husband who doesn’t like quiche) likes this recipe:

I add 6 eggs though because we don’t like it soggy. Someone mentioned using canned salmon in a quiche. Might be a good way to get some Omega 3′s!


Shalet April 17, 2010 at 1:10 pm

We buy in bulk then break the meat down into smaller portions and freeze it. I also prepare meatless meals a couple of times a week. Some of my favorites are breakfast for dinner such as huevos rancheros and eggs benedict.


Loretta April 26, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Whenever I use ground beef in a recipe, add some texturized vegetable protein (TVP) granules. I use it in tacos, spaghetti, shepherd’s pie, meatloaf, etc. and no one complains. It’s soy so it’s very rich in protein, has no fat and is inexpensive.


Jamie June 4, 2010 at 9:18 am

Soshine, would your family agree to “brinner” (breakfast for dinner) every once in a while? We have it once a week or so. I’ll make pancakes (whole wheat, usually with berries or pumpkin or bananas in them) or eggs or french toast. You can make a quiche or omelets with leftover meat and veggies in it. My hubbie used to be a serious carnivore, but he would agree to brinner because it was like a treat.


Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: