Meat. It’s a centerpiece of most American meals, including ours. While at one time I was a vegetarian and now only eat small amounts of poultry, my husband is a meat eater. Every meal needs to have meat. But being on a budget, sometimes a very tight one, I’ve had to learn some strategies to keep our meat costs down.
First off, we have our staple meats:
- Whole chicken
- boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders
- lean ground turkey
- lean ground beef
And then we have our splurge meats:
- beef roast
- beef tenderloin (filet mignon)
Now others I have talked to about this think I’m slightly crazy to buy the lean ground meat and the boneless, skinless chicken, but I have found that by strategic shopping and buying the meat on sale or from the grocery store that offers the best price, I get more actual meat (vs fat & bone) from which I can make a wide variety of dishes; My family is eating healthier; and I can still make my budget.
For chicken, both whole and boneless, skinless, I watch the sales. Grocery stores (in the U.S. anyway) have their sales on about a 12 week cycle. And I know that there’s a surplus of chicken in the Spring and the Fall, so prices are consistently low for a few weeks during that time.
I also know what my “buy price” is per pound. A buy price is the price that I know is low enough for me to buy it. For example, if I know that the stores around here usually carry boneless skinless chicken breasts for $2.99/lb or more. But when it goes on sale, the price is usually $1.99/lb or less. So when I see boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.99/lb or less then I know it’s time to stock up.
Now, each area is different and each item (and family) has a different buy price. But by paying attention to what we are buying and paying, we’ve been able to strategically lower our food bill, especially for meat.
In my next post, I’ll share how I prep meat for the freezer so that when it’s time to cook, I don’t have hardly any prep time.
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