Anne, one of our readers, asked me the question, “How do you save when your husband is a meat and potatoes man and meat prices are going up so high?”
Anne, I know it is frustrating that prices are rising a bit. I told Tawra the other day I never thought I would see the day when I would crave hamburger. It is so expensive now that I hate to buy it.
Here are a couple of things you might try to stretch your meat dollar and spend less on groceries in general.
- Stretch any meat farther by using it in casseroles, soups or stews instead of serving it as its own individual serving. If you serve two casseroles and two soups or stews, you instantly have four meals you can use to save money on meat. Then serve your regular slice of meat and potatoes the other 3 nights. That should help save quite a bit.
- Add filler foods. In some recipes, add filler foods. For example, you can add beans to chili and use less meat. I would break up spaghetti noodles to stretch my chili. Use refried beans for your burritos instead of meat or use a combination of both so you don’t use as much meat.
- Stretch your meat even more by cutting the pieces of meat smaller than you usually do. In your stews, soups and casseroles you don’t need huge chunks of meat. You could start by cutting the meat pieces half the normal size and, after your family gets used to that size, cut them smaller again if you need to.
- Use less meat than the recipe calls for. Most families don’t notice if you use half a pound of meat or a full pound of meat in things like lasagne, spaghetti or casseroles. Cut back a tablespoon or two when you make something like tacos or burritos.
- Buy cheaper cuts of meats and either slow cook them or marinate them. If your husband is not picky about what meat he eats then serve meats like turkey or chicken much more often than you serve roast or steak.
- Buy whole chickens and cut them yourself instead of using chicken breasts. I know pre-cut chicken breasts are handy and easy to use but the bottom line is they are also more expensive. You can start using thighs instead of chicken breasts to save money, too.
- Make your meat portions smaller, especially for children. If you do use chicken breasts, cut them in half for younger members of the family and let your family fill up on potatoes, veggies and other things. Cut down on portion sizes for all meats.
- Watch what other foods you do buy and make sure you use everything. Don’t let food go stale or spoil. Watch portions and adjust them to reduce the food left on plates that gets thrown away at the end of a meal. Looking at how much gets thrown away after dinner is the best way to judge if you are wasting food.
- Cut back on the amount of food you cook. I knew a woman who was always bemoaning her high grocery bill but she always cooked two or three times the amount of food that her family could eat. Instead of freezing it or otherwise saving it, she would simply throw it away. Look carefully at your food, eating habits and grocery shopping and see if there is anyplace where waste is happening.
That same woman’s family almost always left 1/4 – 1/3 of a plateful of food per person that they tossed in the trash at the end of the meal. You may say, “I cook double and then freeze the rest or send it in lunches.” She said that, too, but never got around to sending it in lunches and rarely used most of the things in her freezer. Freezing it only to throw it away later is still wasting it.
- Find another meal or food item that you can cut back on. If trying to cut back on meat at dinner isn’t as successful as you’d like, you might also see if your meat and potatoes husband would be willing to give up something expensive he eats at breakfast like bacon in exchange for something less expensive like oatmeal.
Hopefully these suggestions will help you find ideas that will work well for you. If you’d like more details, I have included a lot of ideas just like this in our Groceries On A Dime e-books.
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