The price of meat has gone through the roof, in case you didn’t notice. I’m going to tell you what you can do about it, so you can still have money for important things in your grocery budget (like ice cream and chocolate).
Of course, the surefire way to save money on meat is the same as the key to saving money on fur coats or Ferraris. Don’t buy any!
But in case you like meat (which I do), I will let you in on a secret that really keeps the meat portion of our grocery budget down. This is one of the reasons we are able to feed our family of 6 on $300 per month.
Before I tell you my key for keeping meat prices down, I must assure you that this is in no way related to my April Fools Day post this year. I had a fun time making that post as ridiculous as possible, I know that it probably didn’t agree with everyone’s stomachs.
While those tips might work great for some folks, we don’t do any of them. At all. Promise. (But it’s okay if you do. We can still be friends…. just don’t invite me over for dinner.)
My big tip for saving money on meat is simple:
Don’t make meat your main dish!
It’s that simple. You can include meat in your meals without making meat the main event.
Make it a side dish. Make it a part of the main dish. You could even have it for dessert if you like!
Ground beef or chicken will go a long way when it’s in something as opposed to being the star of the show.
I never buy steak or ribs or any of those “stand alone” cuts of meat. Honestly, though I love to eat steak, I don’t know the first thing about buying (or cooking) it. Though, now that I’m thinking about it, maybe I should learn so that we can buy and make steak for our upcoming debt-free celebratory meal.
Instead of eating meat solo, I usually incorporate meat into a soup, sauce, casserole or other clever disguise like a burrito.
Let me show you what I mean
If we were eating grilled chicken breast for dinner, each person would eat at least one chicken breast, likely more if they’re small. However, if I’m making a crock pot of chicken curry, a couple of chicken breasts will feed our whole family and we’ll have leftovers for lunch.
We still got meat in our meal, but it cost a fraction of what it would have cost if meat were the main course.
Need some more ideas?
Here are some of our go-to meals that include meat, but don’t make it the star of the show:
Even when we have burritos (which is a broad term in our family which means anything wrapped up in a tortilla), we always have beans, rice, and other fixin’s in addition to some ground beef with taco seasoning. With beans to accompany the meat in the burrito, we get plenty of protein without paying an arm and a leg!
Speaking of stretching meat
I have another sneaky tactic I use to make meat, ground beef in particular, go further. What’s even better is that it gets us to eat more veggies without even realizing it. I use pureed veggies to stretch ground beef when I brown it. It’s a pretty neat trick!
If this sounds hard for you…
I’m sure demoting meat from main dish to regular ingredient won’t go over well with everyone. Meat to some is like coffee to others (or ice cream to me). While this tip will save you money, it will be a sacrifice.
Whether it’s worth it or not is up to you. If you’re skeptical or just not up for a big change like this, try it for a limited time. What about just while you’re working toward a certain financial goal? Or you could challenge yourself to see how long you could go without having meat be the main dish. I bet your grocery budget will look better than ever!
What do you do?
- What are you favorite ways to use meat without making it the main dish?
- What other ways do you stretch your meat?