Of course, the easiest way to save money on buying meat is… to not buy any meat at all. Beans and rice are cheap and tasty, a dietary staple in many cultures around the world. But if you consider yourself and your family to basically be “obligate carnivores” as my family does, you may struggle to keep meat in your diet while keeping money in your bank account as well. Here are a few tips on how to buy meat on a budget.
Buy large portions. Large pieces of meat generally cost less per pound than smaller cuts—after all, there’s less work involved in wrapping up a whole roast, compared to chopping it up and packaging several steaks in multiple containers. You may end up spending more money up front, but if you can freeze what you don’t mean to eat right away, you will spend less in the long run.
Buy discounted meat. Use some caution here, but this is generally a good tactic in chain supermarket stores. When unsold meat gets about a day away from its “sell by” date, supermarkets often mark down these packages to sell them quickly. If the meat is still unsold on its “sell by” date, those packages are marked down even more, 50 or even 75% off. The supermarket would rather sell the meat cheaply and still make a little money instead of having to dispose of it! If you buy meat on its “sell by” date, be sure to use it immediately, so it doesn’t spoil.
Buy ends and pieces. Not making a centerpiece meal for your company’s CEO any time soon? Often, markets and delis sell “ends and pieces” at a discount. These might be irregularly shaped bits of bacon, or the round ends of deli meats that won’t be on a magazine cover any time soon, but are still perfectly good to eat. And if you are just stuffing them in a sandwich or chopping them up to put in a stew anyway, no one will even notice!
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