After participating in a Whole30 challenge last fall I’ve been following a (mostly) paleo lifestyle. When I focus on eating a whole foods diet and cutting out all of the processed food I feel so much better. My energy is significantly up and my mood feels more in balance.
The problem, though, is that eating healthier can mean spending a whole lot more money. One of those big expenses is meat.
Here are some of the strategies I’ve found to save money on meat.
Buy in Bulk and Repackage at Home
While it’s convenient to purchase meat in pre-portioned packages that are perfect sizes for most recipes, it’s usually not that economical.
Instead of buying the same meat every week I wait until there’s a sale and buy in bulk. (This is one instance where buying in bulk actually pays off!) When the price is right I’ll buy a large pork loin and separate it into pork chops and roasts. I’ll also purchase large packages of ground beef when on sale and separate them into smaller packages at home.
This little bit of extra work can really pay off in savings.
Buy a Part of a Cow or Pig
My husband and I recently decided to purchase a whole pig off of a family member. In total we’re only spending around $2 per pound of meat, which is huge savings considering the superior quality we’re getting compared to what the grocery store offers.
If you don’t have enough cash or room to purchase a whole animal you can buy a side.
If you can find a good farmer this is the ideal solution since you’ll be getting a higher quality at a better price. (And you’ll know the animal was treated fairly.)
Eat Wild Game
I come from a family of hunters and my husband is an avid hunter as well. I’ve grown up eating venison and am always happy when deer season comes in.
Wild game is just about as healthy as you can get. When you eat wild game (for my family this would be duck, goose, and deer) you are getting an animal that is eating its indigenous diet and isn’t fed GMO corn.
Raise Your Own
Since I’ve recently become very concerned with both the price and quality of my meat, raising my own food sources has become increasingly important. I’ve always had a garden, last year we brought in laying hens, and we’re getting ready to bring meat chickens home.
While I understand that raising your own isn’t an option for everyone, if you have the space and interest it may be a good fit for you.
(Side note: the other benefit to raising your own meat is that you appreciate it SO much more and don’t want to waste anyting!)
Just like everything else, you’re going to find sales on meat that come in different seasons at the grocery store. When a certain cut of meat is on sale stock up on it.
For instance you’ll normally see turkey at the best prices near Thanksgiving, ham on sale around Easter, and hamburgers and steak on sale near the fourth of July.
Pay close attention to prices so you can recognize when there’s truly a good deal available.
Do NOT Buy Pre-Cooked, Pre-Packaged Meat
One of the biggest money sucking culprits when it comes to meat is buying pre-cooked, prepackaged items.
If you won’t chicken breast to go on top of your salad don’t buy the already cooked little packages. Instead buy chicken breasts, cut them up and cook them at home. The same goes for precooked bacon and sausage.
If you really want to save money you’re so much better off just buying and cooking yourself.
Eat Less Meat
I’ve got to state the obvious here – if you want to save money on meat consider eating less meat.
While my husband can’t fathom not having meat at every meal my daughters and I normally only eat meat with supper. Here lately my breakfast has been a couple of eggs with a banana, a salad for lunch, and then a larger supper with meat as the main dish.
Look for creative ways to make your meat stretch further or skip it altogether in many of your meals.
Find What Works For You
Everything on this list might not work for you and that’s OKAY. Pick 2-3 different strategies you’ve yet to try and see what kind of savings you can get.
Also try planning out your meals before you go shopping. By doing this you’ll be hyper aware of exactly the type of cuts you use most often and will know what to look for when shopping.
Do you have any tips for saving money on meat?