Meat can definitely make or break a grocery budget. Cutting back on meat is a sure way to reduce your spending on groceries, but with a carnivorous husband like mine, this is hard to do! I can throw in a meatless meal every once in a while but he enjoys his meat.
The main way I save on meat is by buying in bulk when it is on sale and freezing it. Here are my tips for how you can do this as well.
#1- Figure out your price limit.
For the cheapest meats- chicken, ground beef, ground turkey- I know that below 2$ is a good price. If any of these meats are above that, I will avoid buying them. If any are substantially below this mark, I will buy extra and stock up.
I also pay attention to average prices for things like sausage, bacon, pork, pricier cuts of beef etc. Typically I do not freeze these things because I only plan a meal or two around them and use them up first.
#2- Keep your freezer organized.
To be able to store a bulk amount of meat you need to have the freezer space for it. Even in my apartment sized refrigerator-freezer I can store several pounds of both beef and chicken along with other things I have stocked up on, like vegetables.
I freeze my meat laying down and stacked on top of each other to save space. I elaborate on my method in the next tip.
An organized freezer (and refrigerator, and pantry…and life) is also important for saving money because you can keep track of what you have more easily and avoid buying something unnecessarily.
If meal planning is something you struggle with check out my Fall Dinner Challenge!
#3- Grab a helper.
The process of packing up meat to freeze can be difficult with only two hands. The cheapest price for meats typically comes with larger packages. I generally buy ground beef in a three pound package and would never need this much at one time. I always grab my husband to help my divide up the meat and package it up to freeze.
Grab some decent quality freezer bags. I keep both quart and gallon on hand.
Look at the meat and decide how you are going to divide it up. Chicken breasts individually, beef by pound, etc.
For chicken breasts I will typically freeze a package or two with just one large chicken breasts and one or two with two smaller chicken breasts in it. For larger families you may need three or four chicken breasts per meal. Freeze it this way so you can grab just what you need to thaw.
Grab the amount of bags you will need and have your helper open them up for you to place the meat in and close it up. This avoids any meat germs on the outside of the bags.
For the ground beef package I make indentations right on the package dividing it into thirds before I cut it open. Then I use the indents as guidelines for dividing the meat. I just eyeball it but you could weigh the bags. I then have my husband flatten it out pretty thinly. It thaws very quickly this way.
Have your helper push as much air out of the bags as possible and seal them tightly.
Stack the packages of meat all together in the freezer to save space and be able to keep track of how much you have.
That is it. No fancy freezing equipment required! This method works absolutely fine for freezing meat for a several months. If you buy enough that it will need to be store for six months or more I would recommend a fancier freezing method. I have found that the meats I use go on sale every 6 to 8 weeks so there is no need for me to stock up that much for that long!
For access to meal planning guides, budgeting worksheets and more free goodies plus bonus info not on the blog, subscribe to my newsletter!
I hope these tips will help you save on your grocery bill! Buying expensive ingredients like meat when it is at it’s lowest price is a sure way to cut food costs!
Let me know below if you have any questions!