Friday, March 30, 2007

Frugal Fridays: Save Money on Meat

It's Frugal Friday! Here's my tip:

As I've mentioned before, my husband is a meat guy. Not your typical meat and potatoes guy, just meat. And so, around here, a meatless meal is not appreciated much. But those of you who make it your aim to be frugal with the money the Lord has given you (a Biblical concept, stewardship, 1 Corinithians 4:2) know that meat is the most expensive part of your meals. It eats up a lot of our grocery budget, actually. So how can you please the meat-loving hubby and still retain some resemblance of a budget? Here's some tips for fellow meat-lovers:

Buy whole chickens and boil/crockpot them until done, de-bone the meat, and freeze in meal-sized portions in freezer bags. Shredded chicken is great for Mexican dishes, BBQ chicken sandwiches, casseroles, soups, chicken salad, and lots more. And it's very economical, at usually $.63 - $.79 a pound!

Buy in bulk when there is a good sale going on. For instance, Price Chopper is having a 4 day sale (ending Sunday) with boneless skinless chicken breasts and tenders at $1.33 a pound! This is an amazing price! If you have the freezer space, stock up. Potentially you could get enough to last you until the next sale, and then you won't have to spend the upwards of $2-$4/lb that you normally would.

Shop for manager's specials on meat that needs to be eaten soon or frozen. Two stores that mark down meat frequently are Dillons and Sam's Club. Dillons places orange stickers on the packages, and frequently the prices are 50% reduced or more! I have most often found these when I've shopped early in the morning (before 9 am) or after 9 pm. Sam's Club also uses orange stickers that read, "Reduced for Quick Sale." I have a business membership, so I typically shop at 9:30 am (regular hours start at 10 am). They always have lots of marked down meat when I'm there, so I'm sure there would still be some if you got there right when they open.

Process your meat when you get home from the grocery store. This tip has helped me a ton! Since I buy in bulk, my freezer is frequently so full I can barely shut it! :) When I get home from buying a lot of ground hamburger, whole chickens, etc...I usually put it all in crockpots (say, 5-6 lbs of hamburger/pot) and let it process on low all day. After you wash and drain it, divide into meal-sized portions. These usually take up less space in the freezer and are easier to stack. Plus, it gives me a head start on making dinner! I usually put a little less than a lb of hamburger in a freezer bag for our family of 4. This stretches the meat a little further, and we never notice the difference.

So these are my tips. What are yours?


bandanachick said...

Great tips!
I also have a husband who LOVES meat, as I am sure you know. He typically doesn't like a meal if there is no protein.
I love the tip for buying a whole chicken, that is great savings! I need to start doing that. Thanks again!

andyandjenica said...

You're really inspiring me Rachel! Now if I could just be as diligent as you are with all this frugal stuff.

What do you mean by "processing"? Cooking?

dave & rachel said...

Yes, I just mean cook it up BEFORE you freeze, instead of the day you're going to consume it. It saves freezer space and time! And by the way, I do not feel at all diligent... you are probably way more frugal than me and just don't realize it. Seriously! I am just learning all this stuff, little by little. :)

Scott and Lynn said...

Since we've always gotten inexpensive meat - for us the costly part of a meal is veggies! You know, you spend $1 on hamburger or turkey, and then one red bell pepper costs $1.50 !!! Maybe next Friday you can post your tips for fresh produce :)

dave & rachel said...

Lynn, I doubt I can help you much there! I buy a big container of spring mix at Sam's for around $3.70 something, which gives us salads for 2 weeks. And then I just buy manager's special marked down fruit and veggies at Dillons or resort to Aldi prices, which are cheapest. But I rarely buy peppers (for that very reason!), and often use frozen veggies which I can get on sale with a coupon at Dillons for $.50 or less per bag.

I want to know where you are buying hamburger that cheap though! I guess I've seen it for about $1.30 marked down at Price Chopper, but you just shop at Aldi, right? Tell, tell!

MagenRanae said...

I always freeze my hamburger into 1lb bags too, but I've never thought of skimping on them a little! You're right about not noticing, and being able to get an extra meal out of the same amount is great!

Scott and Lynn said...

I guess I was thinking mostly of the turkey I buy - I know Aldi's hamburger has gone up - it WAS 99c frozen when I started shopping there, but I think it's over $1 now. I hardly ever buy hamburger though, or if I do I mix it with turkey.

maryanne helms said...


I found your blog through a world of connections and really enjoy your thoughts. I have been blogging about many of the same frugal things as you lately- how funny is that? Isn't motherhood a trip? I love learning more and more how to live on less and less....thanks for your tips!


andyandjenica said...

I should definitely start cooking whole chickens...

Pretty much the only g.b. we eat is burgers.

You'd be proud of me at S. Target yesterday I found roasts and steaks on manager's special + I used $2 off coupons (I printed 5 of these a few weeks ago). Also, got lobster tails orig. $12 per pkg. for $3. I stocked up! It was very exciting. =)

We are blessed in the summer to have my parents supply us from their garden. They sell almost anything you can think of at farmer's markets. I froze some last year and hope to again.

dave & rachel said...

Sweet, Jenica! Way to go!