How to Save Money On Meat



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How to Save Money On Meat

How to Save Money On Meat

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.

-Jill

You might also check out these articles:

Children, Wasting Food and Portion Control

Save Money in the Kitchen

 

Comments

  1. grizzly bear mom says

    Cutting meat into smaller chunks and browning it INCREAES the flavor. The carmelization of the browning covers a greater surface of a small meat cube than a larger one, which make sit taste better.

  2. says

    Here’s an out-of-the-box solution that is well worth the time and preparation. Several months ago my husband bought a steer from a friend who runs a feed lot (my husband raises cattle so has lots of connections!). This meant the friend fed and cared for the calf until it was ready to butcher. Part of the deal was that then the approx. 1600 lb. calf was taken to a butcher shop of our choice, butchered, and cut up and packaged according to my requests (for example, I requested a few steaks, a few roasts, more stew meat and hamburger, etc.). Tim picked up the meat a few days ago, and organized it in our chest freezers.

    The calf originally cost about $1400. We paid just over $600 for the processing. We put over 900 pounds of beef in our freezer–at a cost of just over $2/lb. I rarely see ANY type of meat for less than $2/lb!

    To do this you need a connection w/someone who owns a feedlot, you need to find a good butcher shop, etc. AND of course have the room for the meat (our chest freezer is approx 16 cubic feet–it’s COLD in the garage so I’m not going out there to measure!) and I think cost about $400 6 years ago. It wouldn’t have held the whole 900 lbs of meat but we have another freezer and shared w/my in-laws. To make these connections ASK AROUND! Many people do this; I know families who split the meat (and the cost) 2 or even 3 ways.

    It’s a HUGE blessing and a great feeling to have that much meat as close as my garage–the prices in the store are appalling and the quality is nowhere near the high quality of getting it done locally. People also do this with hogs and sheep. I often share a few packages of hamburger, stew meat, or even steaks with friends who are going through tough times–or just appreciate not having to buy meat at high prices.

    • says

      Yes, this is a good way to save on meat IF AND ONLY IF you really get a good deal. I hear people give this tip all the time but in the end the end up paying $4.00 + per pound for the meat. Yeah, I know it’s good meat and all but I just can’t afford to pay double of what I normally do even if it is steak.

      Since you have connections that a GREAT way to save!

      • Grandma says

        Years ago a friend of ours always bought half a cow cut up and raved about it. We decided to ask him to get us 1/2 as well. $200 total. All cut up with liver and the heart thrown in. Great deal right?
        Wrong! It was the toughest meat I have ever tried to cook. I used it but steaks had to be marinated for almost days just to be edible and we got so tired of stews by the time I used it all up.
        Was told about a processing plant in the city that has great meat you can buy in bulk. Will try it out next week if we have time. You don’t have to buy 1/2 the cow just the cuts you want. Hope it is a decent place but have heard from 3 people that the meat is great.
        So yes if you know the standards of the people you are buying from it is a good way to go just buyer be ware is a good rule to think about.

  3. Nancy says

    I make my own spaghetti sauce from scratch. I used to use about a pound of hamburger per batch. Now, I make a triple batch, in my large crock pot, and use about 1 1/2 pounds instead of three. My family doesn’t even notice the difference. The sauce freezes well. The sauce is easy to make. For one meal, I use one large can of tomato sauce, and one small can of tomato paste. Fill each can 1/2 full of water and add to the tomato sauce/paste and the cooked seasoned hamburger. Add oregano& basil, or Italian seasoning, garlic powder and onions or onion powder to taste. Simmer on the stove, or cook in the crock pot. For a double or triple batch, double/triple ingredients, except for the meat.

    We love French dip, and when I find bottom round or London broil, on a great sale, or on clearance, I stock up on it, double wrap it in plastic wrap, in meal size portions and freeze it. When I want to make French dip, I partially defrost a piece of the roast, remove any fat and slice thinly and put it in the crock pot with beef broth, made from a couple bullion cubes, or a can of broth, bought as a loss leader. Season to taste, and serve on warmed up rolls, bought on the clearance rack, of course! With the leftovers, I pour the broth, and whatever meat is left, and a little water or more broth, 1/2 cup of barley, and some carrots and simmer until the barley is cooked well. It makes wonderful soup. If you can afford it, put in a can of Campbell’s vegetable beef soup, and a can of water, and it gives the soup a wonderful flavor.

    Getting more than one meal out of your meat purchases really lowers the food bill.

    • Grandma says

      Nancy, I have never tried the french dip. How exactly do you serve it?
      Do you put the meat into the sandwich with the sauce or just the meat and the sauce separate?
      Sounds interesting and I would like to try it at least once.
      Any suggestions or advice would be helpful.
      Usually I try it at a restaurant first but no restaurants around our town have this.
      thanks in advance.

  4. Bea says

    I don’t understand why food prices keep going up! If I don’t shop at Price Rite, Aldi’s, or Walmart and go to another store I’m shocked at the prices. A pound of bacon for 6.99!!! Are they crazy? Who is benefitting from this. Wall Street! I can understand the “Occupiers” protesting greed. It’s so true. Have you noticed that in order to confuse people, a lot of supermarkets will have signs by the food on their shelfs that say ” 4 for $11″ or “5 for $10″ instead of telling people the individual price, because they know most people won’t bother to figure the price out for one item, so they think they are getting a deal when they’re not. Disceptive tactics because prices are so high.

  5. says

    We do our best to buy our meat when it is on sale and in bulk cuts. When bone in whole pork loin is on sale for $1.29 a pound, we buy at least one, and have the butcher cut it into chops. We buy 16 pound boneless loin when it is selling for $1,49-$1.79 and cut it ourselves. When whole hams are on sale for $.99 I buy a 20+ pounder, have the butcher cut out 11-12 1/2 slices from the center for quick dinners, and I still have the 2 ends to bake. Same goes for turkey. And when cut up chicken thighs and legs are $.69 a pound and bone in breasts are $1.29 I spend $20 on each. The 1/2 breasts at our local store are so big, one is big enough for a casserole with leftovers for lunch for the 3 of us adults. The whole chickens at our store are 5-6 pounds each for $.89 and I can get 3 dinners for 3 adults with leftover lunches Pretty much ground chuck is the only meat we buy every month, and try to buy it only when it’s under $3.00 a pound.

    We have been doing this for several years and generally only spend $20-$40 a month for meat each month because I have a stock in the freezer that I “buy” from when I’m making my menus.

    I also make my menus up for a month at a time. Sometimes for 2 months. I shop only once a month, although milk, bread, fresh tomatoes and similar are purchased as needed. We spend about $300 a month on groceries which includes toiletries and papergoods. But doesn’t include pet food.

  6. Breana says

    The price of ground beef here in San Diego has gotten to be higher than that of steak or roast; we’re talking $5 or more per pound. And the package states that it comes from US, Canada, Mexico, Australia & NZ. Crazy!! So, I asked for the meat grinder attachment for my mixer for Christmas.
    Now, I can buy whatever roasts are on special about once a month, get about 3 of them at $2 or $3 per pound. I cut the nicest one into steaks, and portion them into how much my family will eat at one meal. I then grind the rest up and again, portion it out into the correct amount. I save a lot of money this way. As an added bonus, I cook the trimmings up, and save them to use as doggie treats, which is a huge savings, since pre-made treats for animals are rediculous.
    I’ve done it twice now, and saved at least $20 each time. That’s shoes for two of my kids!

  7. Desiree says

    I have found that my local grocery store marks down their meat in the morning. If you can get there between 8:30 & 9:30am there is a good variety of reduced meat. So, I shop then for meats, and bring it home and freeze for later. It saves me lots on meat.

  8. Tanisha says

    Thank you for all of the tips!! I wanted to share something I just started doing. When we run out of ground meat for tacos, I use a can of corn and brown rice. I season the rice (1 cup) with homemade taco seasoning and fry my taco shells. The taste of the taco shells and seasoning “fools” my family and they forget I left out the meat. I don’t get to do this all the time because my husband likes his meat. However, he will eat it. Oh, I still season my corn (butter, salt, sugar, Tony’s C., pepper). Then I mix everything together (rice and corn). We add cheese (it is so flavorful, that if I don’t have any cheese left, I don’t really miss it), avocado. Add whatever you can to make it as flavorful as possible so they will not miss the meat. Sometimes I will just buy half a pound of meat and mix with the rice for tacos. My husband really likes this!

  9. Diana V says

    I’m saving on meals by using smaller serving spoons, smaller plates and salad bowls.

    Color of dinnerware: When the food contrasts on the dinnerware it appears to be a larger serving that it actually is.

    I made the changes slowly so as not to attract too much attention to the changes.

  10. Angie M. says

    Has anyone noticed the high prices of deli/lunch meats these days? My husband wanted some deli roast beef to make sandwiches for work the other day. It was $7.97 per pound at WalMart. It’s funny because I was thinking when I bought it that steak was on sale at Kroger for $5.99 per pound. Then when my husband was making his sandwiches for work he saw the deli sticker price and said lunch meat used to seem like a cheap meal but now it’s higher per pound than steak. I can sometimes find deli turkey or ham on sale for $5.99 a pound but not often. One day I wanted a cheap, quick meal for us and picked up lunch meat, cheese, buns and chips and spent almost $20. Then I thought for a couple of dollars more I could have treated us to McDonald’s. I know home cooking is almost always cheaper than eating out. Lunch meat is expensive though.

      • Grandma says

        Another way to save on cold meats is to buy the entire package. It is usually at the end of the meat section. Then take it home and slice it and freeze the ones that freeze well. ham balogna. If the ones that don’t freeze are your favourites maybe find a friend who also uses that type and each take half.
        If the deli doesnt’ have to slice it you do get quite a savings. One ex. I bought the entire salami and paid what I usually paid for 2lbs. Since it was 4lbs I think it was worth it.

          • Grandma says

            nice to see you back Jill.
            We are in the process of the painting.
            right now I am sitting on my couch on two bed pillows so I am high enough to use the computer. We just pulled the big furniture into the middle got rid of the coffee table and that sort of stuff upstairs into the guest room. the dining room is almost done and so is the living room. 1 hour more and then he will do the kitchen. figures to have it all done tonight by 9 or maybe an hour more tomorrow.
            My dining room table has all my appliances that were on the counter and my one open shelf.
            We have been having hamburgers and french fries for dinner most nights because all my spices are gone into hiding and the electric grill is handy and so is the deep fryer. Not healthy but too tired to try and find the things Don helped me move around.
            Not painting the inside of cupboards since we are leaving tomorrow for 2 days and I don’t really want to come home to more painting.
            Will be bad enough trying to put the rooms back together.
            But it is a nice suede coloured brown and the walls are not perfect but that makes it look like soft leather with the texture.
            Maybe the next job will be painting the upstairs but I think another year to do that.
            He has said he will help Don replace the roof on the garage in the spring and he is going to do the yard work all summer. Hope he is still our neighbour for years.
            Like I said it is so nice to have you back again.
            Lynda

          • says

            I have been debating painting all my kitchen cabinets and after reading your post have almost talked myself out of it. I know what a job some of these simple redos can be and don’t know if I am up to it or not especially because I will have to do it all on my own.

          • harriet says

            I will say that when I painted my kitchen cabinets it wasn’t so bad since I could sit on the floor for the lower ones! I’m starting to think I want to paint them another color though.

          • Grandma says

            one small mistake and it will take another 2 days after we get back to finish the rooms.
            The girl mixing the paint had the computer add a bit more yellow to a can that she attempted to fix so the colours matched. She didn’t mark it as iffy so Andrew cut in around the dining room and then started painting the living room.
            It has too much yellow and is totally different. So we started doing the kitchen with a new can of the proper colour but have to wait until we get back to do the 2 other rooms. It will cost us another $200 as we are paying Andrew for his work. It wasn’t his mistake and he is doing a fantastic job so we won’t have him suffer. It was just we would leave then come home and get my house back to normal and now we will have to come back to the disorder and live with it for another day or so. Along with the smell of oil paint.
            It will be done by Friday and on Sat. I have invited him and his wife and 2 children over for a bbq supper. I figure they lost their dad for 2 extra days they should have a nice treat.
            So my advice is when painting make sure you watch the person mixing the computer that is doing the measuring and don’t take your eyes off the important steps.
            It will be nice when it is all done but frustrating when it doesn’t go according to plan.
            Andrew is so upset but Don and I figure it is murphy’s law and figure what the heck. He is on holidays so we want to relax not sit around and blame the store get angry with everyone involved so we are going with the flow.
            really what else can we do except raise our blood pressure or sit and eat every bad bit of snacks we can find. Neither would be productive so we relax and I enjoy talking with my neighbour and Sat. I get to play with little ones. Nice end to what could be considered a big mess.

          • says

            This is so true Grandma. I always tell people when doing any remodeling at all it will always take twice as much time and money as you originally plan. You have to just go with the flow and know this is part of something like this. That is partly why I’m not sure I want to tackle my kitchen cabinets yet.

    • Grandma says

      Angie and Tawra I hardly ever buy lunch meat any more.
      A few years ago Don bought me a meat slicer and it has saved me so much money.
      Don takes sandwiches to work 5 days a week and likes sandwiches on the weekends.
      I buy a roast or a ham cook it and then use the slicer to make the cold meat for sandwiches. You can shave it or make it thicker which ever you like.
      Takes me about 15 mins. to slice up the meat. I put it into sandwich bags enough for 3 sandwiches and toss them in the freezer. They thaw in about an hour so no big deal.
      Turkey and chicken are ground up into chicken salad sandwiches which are a lot moister than just turkey or chicken with a swipe of mayo and I don’t have to butter the bread.
      Have done this for about 6 years now and about the only cold meat I buy regularly is mac and cheese loaf. So I have saved a fortune over the years.
      A good slicer is expensive but I have seen them at yard sales a lot around here. Might be worth the money and the time finding one.

  11. Lisa M says

    When I buy a 20 oz package of ground turkey (or other gound meat), I use 1 lb (or less) in my recipes calling for 1 lb. The “excess” 4 oz is made into a patty and put in a freezer bag I keep in the freezer to collect these. Then I can use them for hamburgers or when I have 1 lb I can use in recipes calling for 1 lb of meat.
    Thanks for all of the great tips.

  12. Margaret says

    All good tips. Thanks for sharing. I have a friend from Vietnam who says she was overwhelmed by how much meat Americans eat when she first came here. Her family would look at Americans eating steak and think, each steak is enough for a whole family for two days!
    With that in mind, I buy steaks off the reduced price rack, slice them very thin, marinate in soy sauce, ginger, and garlic, and stir-fry them. I take the meat out of the wok, then cook the vegetables, then add the meat back in and serve over rice. We have this or chicken cooked this way over rice but last night we had this with home made naan bread which I just learned how to do by watching some Indian ladies on YouTube! Delicious! My Lodge made-in-America iron wok is my favorite kitchen cooking “pot.”

    • Grandma says

      my dil is chinese still living there and when she visits I do cut down on the meat meals but she is still shocked by how much meat we eat.
      She looked at my open shelves where I keep things I use regularly at the stove and asked my son if that was the grocery store.
      She did like the way I had labels on all the jars so she knew what was what.
      She is facinated by the large grocery stores. We went to walmart with them and she got lost 6 times and we would spread out looking for her. We usually found her in the grocery department and it is not that big but she said the stuff there was so much.
      Kind of fun to shop with her especially when she talks to me in english but to herself in chinese.

  13. melissa says

    @Desiree

    That’s what we do, and have been doing for way over 10 years. Plus we’ve cut down the amount we use, AND make stews and soups etc, add fillers, I don’t know what else we can do LOL We end up eating way too many carbs, and both of us have stage 2 diabetes. I try to add more veggies in season, prices on those seem to have gone through the roof, too. We’d grow more of our own except where we live the growing season is very short, with unpredictable late and early frosts, with dry high heat inbetween AND nasty clay soil. We’re lucky to get tomatoes and squash, so in the summer those are our main go to foods.

  14. earline says

    I use hamburger in veg. soup it will make a big pot have corn bread one day crackers the next just about any thing will work with it and in chili the kids like pork and beans for the sweet tast we all do

  15. melissa says

    @Tanisha ~ That’s a good tip, thnx! I have already cut way down on taco meat, we use refried beans with some cooked ground beef added. I have one dau who is vegetarian, but we all like the beans on our tacos now. Not sure how she’ll do with the rice mixed in, plus it’s adding carbs with less protein, but I’m going to try it :)

  16. Mary Lynda O'Neal says

    Do like I do in grocery store watch for Manger’s Special and current special sales on meat at certian times like when Holidays is coming up. You will find good meat on special sales!

  17. Steffanie says

    I add 1/2 cup of rolled oats to my ground meat when browning. It works for taco meat, spaghetti sauce, anything ‘saucy’. This way I can use 1/4 – 1/2 lb LESS of meat. My family actually prefers the recipes this way!

  18. Maggie says

    I used to buy chuck roast for my crockpot but the pieces are really huge and I don’t like the texture of the meat when cooked in the crockpot. Recently, I have been buying a small London Broil that I also cook in the crockpot. It really holds its shape and can be sliced vs the chuck which just falls apart. I try to get it on sale – this weekend I got a 2 lb roast sized piece (about 2″ thick and approx 10″ long x 4″ wide) for $6.00. This will make about 4 dinners for 2 each, plus a lunch or two. Very much worth the extra money it costs per lb over the chuck, even on sale.
    We have also started eating chicken drumsticks and thighs (although we like the drumsticks best) instead of breasts. If you really must have breast meat (and some recipes are better with the breast),I found frozen chicken tenders at Trader Joe’s for $5.95 a 2 lb bag. They defrost quickly in the microwave (if you forget to take something out for dinner) and we eat two of those (one each) vs more with a whole breast and nothing to save or toss. If I do cook chicken breasts, I will split them horizonally (making thinner pieces that cook faster) and one makes plenty of meat for 2 people. Children love these because the piece looks really big but the portion size is really smaller and very little waste. For small kids, cut them again in half and there is still enough meat.
    As for price, I am amazed at how expensive beef and chicken are these days. I used to buy a store brand whole chicken for about $3. No more. As for buying in bulk, a lot of people just don’t have the means to purchase such a large quantity at once even though over the long haul is saves money.
    When our kids were home, we used to buy 1/4 side of beef every winter but we couldn’t eat that much meat now. I’d love to find someone to split a 1/4 side with but don’t know anyone local who wants to do that. I should ask at the Farmers’ Market.
    I hope the farmers are getting some of these high prices but am willing to bet that is not the case.

  19. Maggie says

    One more note – there is a taco salad that I make for picnics which has a layer of refried beans on the bottom, then a layer of sour cream mixed with a pkg of taco seasoning. I use a glass pie plate. Then layer chopped tomatoes(if you don’t have fresh, use diced canned but drain the liquid first), then lettuce, grated cheddar cheese. Make several layers of the lettuce, tomato and cheese, then top with picante sauce or salsa (your choice of flavor) and shredded cheese. Serve with large tortilla chips. People always ask me how did I get the meat flavor without meat. It is the taco seasoning and the refried beans. This is great to serve with tacos, too and could almost be a meal. I serve with a rice flavored with tomatoes and this combo is definitely a meal.

  20. Maggie says

    Do love the manager’s specials, too. Our sales used to be 50% off but now I find most meat is only 30% off. Still good bargains but you have to make sure to check the sell by date and get it in the freezer right away if you are not using that day or the next.

  21. grizzly bear mom says

    I mix oatmeal with my ground meat too and make mini meat loaves or hambugers on my George Forman grill. Then I freeze and eat as desired. The oatmeal stretches the meat and helps pull fat from your blood stream.

    If we are going to reduce the amount of meat in recipies, its wise to put in crushed tomates, beans, corn, etc so our families have something to chew. Its more nutritious for them too.

  22. Grandma says

    I made meatloaf the other day mixed my extra lean with regular and when I went to soak the crackers in milk like I always do I was out of milk. Could have used powder but I saw an open can of tomatoe sauce so used that with a bit of water. Instead of sage for the spice I used Italian seasoning. Figured it would go well.
    I made little loaves and baked them on a wire rack. Tasted great and Don ate 2 of them since he had worked that day. But one was fine for me. Have now got 6 of them in the freezer for when I don’t want to cook or I can put them in the warmer for his supper when he is night shift.
    Added mashed potatoes and pork and beans and that made the meal.
    Nice simple and hardly any work at the last minute.

  23. Teresa says

    Hey if you aren’t picky you can check with your local butcher shop during deer season and perhaps score some “cheap” meat. Hunters often donate their deer and all you pay is for the butchering of the venison. I just got 90 lbs at 60 cents per lb. Check around you might be surprised at what deals you can find.

    • Grandma says

      You are probably eating some of the most expensive meat you ever have.
      Hunters spend so much getting to the hunting area and then on supplies to make it liveable the hunters here figure each lb runs about $30 if not more.
      It is illegal so sell game meat here in Ontario probably most of Canada so if you get it given that is ok. Even at a charity dinner with moose and deer they don’t sell the food you have to buy the plate with the food given for free. A plate runs about $50 but the meal is really tasty and the charity makes money.
      Can’t sell your fish either just give it away and that is another really expensive meal.
      Can’t get out hunting anymore so I really miss the meat and the fun of shooting it.

  24. Bonnie says

    A neighbor had a cow with a broken leg he had to kill. He uses a small butcher (butcher for the big grocery store by day and sidelines in his own shop- state inspected) and the price was very good. A younger downer cow need long slower moist cooking, no grill outs, and offers great ground beef, and stew meat. Our delicious rib eye steaks were pan braised the other night, then used in a sandwich last night. After browning, I used worchestire sauce and onions with plenty of water for a slow cook. Delicious twice, at about $2.00 per pound!

  25. rose says

    bea .. the walmart in our area has bacon for $4.99! .. and that is the cheapest .. too high for us .. oh we love bacon too but at that price, its a once a month treat and i cut the bacon in half to get twice the meat for the one price .. hubby asked what happened to the size of the bacon strips and i told him it was bacon from the new skinny packages .. he just laughed and said “it has come to that!” .. not sure what he meant but by doing this, we certainly do not need the extra meat and on the blt’s i make, its a perfect size ..
    nancy, i have done this in the past too .. also, took tawra’s advice with the too much zucchini idea, and added zucchini in the sauce .. it makes a nice flavor to the sauce..
    grandma, sorry about the quality of the meat u had .. i can certainly relate to that .. many a times i have gotten meat on sale and it was so tuff i had not choice but to try to soften it up but cooking it into some kind of liquid .. i asked my mom about how to handle something like this and she said when she was growing up in the great depression years and they would get the “shoe leather meat” as grandma and grandpa would call it, grandma would cook the meat in her pressure cooker .. but i dont have one of those and thats when my mom suggested to try to cut up the meat and cook in gravy or broth ..
    just sharing ..

  26. Bea says

    I know Rose, bacon and all meats are so expensive. The cheapest places are Price Rite and Aldi’s, and then Walmart, which is still cheaper than most other grocery stores. It’s just so sad that prices kept rising on food. They know people HAVE to eat, so they think they can get away with it, while they watch people lose their homes and jobs. Sad.

  27. Bea says

    Here is a recipe for cookies using oatmeal I thought you might like. Jill it’s a “Gingerbread Cookie” recipe.
    Oatmeal Gingerbread Cookies
    1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or butter, softened
    3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup molasses
    1 large egg
    3-1/3 cups flour
    1-1/2 cups oats (quick OR old fashioned, uncooked)
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 teaspoon ginger
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

    Beat margarine and sugar until creamy. Add molasses and egg; beat well. Add combined flour, oats, spices, baking soda and salt: mix well. Cover; chill about 2 hours.
    Heat oven to 375 degrees.
    On floored surface, roll dough out about 1/4 inch thick for a chewy cookie or 1/8 inch for a crisp cookie. Cut with cookie cutters. Transfer to ungreased cookie sheets.
    Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely.
    Frost and decorate with candies, homemade icing or ready-to-spread icing. Store loosely covered at room temperature. Makes about 20 5-inch cookies.

  28. rose says

    so true bea .. its truly sad .. in another post i said that i had found the grass fed beef .. last week it was on sale .. this week it was either $7.99 or $8.99/lb .. and well .. i just couldnt afford it .. i got the ground sirloin . that was on sale at $3.99/lb (i only got a lb) and it went into the chili type soup i make for hubby .. (it also has 1/2 lb of ground turkey).. hubby was upset but i told him oh well .. cant get it all .. i can get this or some extra fish this week for him and i chose the fish .. the meat manager at the supermarket said the grassfed meats will be going up again soon .. and i told hubby this and told him .. if we can afford we will get him 1/2 lb and a lb of turkey if need be ..
    yes it is very sad bea .. and what gets me so riled up is that if the meat and even the produce doesnt sell b4 they go bad (even the fresh fish too), they just throw it out .. i have gotten into some really heated arguments with these managers .. and told them i thought they were crazy and should be committed .. altho i am told the meat sells faster than the produce and fish if its expiration date is soon .. but still ..
    same thing with this chicken restaurant we have here .. it is sooo good but by the end of the nite if there is any chicken leftover it goes to the trash .. what a true waste! ..

  29. Marcia says

    One thing I have discovered about meat is that Wal Mart and places like that are not necessarily the best places to buy it! Our neighborhood store is a small place but they have much better ground beef than the supermarket does and when it’s on sale it’s even cheaper and better than the ground beef I have gotten at a supermarket. I don’t like Wal Mart ground beef anyway and neither does my husband. Those spaghetti like strands of beef are tough and stringy. I’d rather support my local store and buy their ground beef any day.

  30. LAC says

    YES! The news the other night on rising beef prices were just plain scary!!! I couldn’t help however imagining what BBQing this summer will be like without my juicy hamburger cooked on the grill! I will have to wait and see! But think about how this affects ALL food prices. The reason they say beef is going up is because of the loss of cattle in the US Southwest particularly TX where they have gone through a horrible drought! So this will probably affect the price of dairy as well! I go shopping this week after a no spend January. I am sure I will faint from sticker shock! By the way thank you for such a neat recipe on cake mix and rice krispie treats I will be making this for our small Superbowl Party this coming weekend!

  31. Sandi says

    I’ve always made meatloaf with dry oatmeal mixed in, but I never thought of using it in spaghetti sauce or other fried ground meats. I’ll try it next time I make spaghetti. I’m using a lot less beef now than I used to, using more frozen chicken or fish, and smaller portions at that. When we do indulge in beef, we get a small package of a higher quality beef and split a small steak between us. I try to get the packages of frozen ground beef patties when they are on sale, since the meat is already portioned into quarter pound patties I just fry one or two in water for spaghetti sauce or tacos. They last a long time, and they are already packed to use small amounts. I haven’t tried the London broil in the crock pot yet, that sounds good. Even though it’s a bit more, I use whole grain pasta and brown rice. We have no health insurance, and it’s cheaper than doctors and laxatives, and tastes a lot better. These are things I never even thought of when I was younger, but necessity can change a lot of things we used to take for granted. I can only guess what changes the future will bring.

  32. Bea says

    Rose, It’s a sin to throw food away like that. They should at least give it to a Church or soup kitchen. My Church is always looking for food donations because they say that more and more people are struggling financially.

  33. donna b. says

    Unfortunately, in many areas, restaurants and markets have to throw the food away because of Board of Health laws. It is a sin. My daughter works in hospitality and there is only ONE local shelter that will take her leftovers from functions. Luckily she can taken them leftover roast beef, sandwiches, large pans of mashed potatoes, whatever she can. These are leftovers from weddings, funeral lunches, etc.

    Right before christmas she had food left over for 170! only 30 people showed up for a funeral lunch. The shelter was darn glad to get it also. Can you imagine throwing away enought to feed 170 people?

  34. rose says

    i agree with u bea .. its a sin to be such a wasteful nation .. what we throw away, we could feed alot of people .. and yes there are standards and laws and etc but at the end of the day, in my opinion, its better to donate than to throw away and feed the rats/mice..
    its just like when the supermarkets charge so much for tomatoes in the summer .. its shameless .. it really is .. and then the tomatoes sit there and get all yucky .. and out to the trash they go .. so sad! ..
    my son found a farmer (i guess thats what u would call him) .. sitting on the side of the road selling his produce he grew .. and my son said for $20 he knows he can get alot of different fruits and vegis .. the man is giving the stuff away .. so this weekend, i told him i will give him the $20 and get some fruits and vegi’s .. why not? .. i havent seen the produce but a friend of ours did with my son and said they look awesome .. and even if he spends less than the $20 i told him to give the man the money .. he’s giving hte food away .. he’s doing a good thing .. i would spend that or more in the supermarket ..
    ok .. off my soapbox now .. hehe ;D .. sorry .
    it just riles me up of the wastage i see around me ..

  35. Maggie says

    I stopped in Kentucky Fried Chicken one night a year or so ago late in the evening. We were getting a 4 or 6 piece chicken box. Because they were getting ready to close, the manager gave us the rest of the chicken, about 10 more pieces. A mixture of breast,wings and thighs. She said since it was the end of the evening, they were going to throw it out or just give it to the next person who came in. She said it was their company’s requirement that they had to throw away what wouldn’t sell or what was left at the end of the day or be subject to lawsuit if someone got sick from what they gave away – even if it just came out of the fryer. So, it was my lucky day. I put some in the freezer for another dinner and some for lunch the next week.

  36. says

    Does your husband like sausage? Using coupons and combining them with a sale, I can usually get very cheap Ehkrich smoked sausage or Bob Evans rolls of sausage. Whenever I find an amazing deal, I stock up well and that seems to keep my husband happy.

  37. Swampfamily says

    $2 per pound for meat, you are so lucky! Here in New Zealand the cheapest meat (minced – I think that’s what you call hamburger meat?) is $10 per kg (that’s about $5 per pound!). We never buy steak as that is around $20 per kg and to buy a lamb leg roast is about $30 to $40 so it never happens (and NZ is well known for it’s lamb!)

  38. DiANa says

    Hi swamp family! We in Nz too!
    I don’t know why I beat myself up trying to liken my budget to sites in the us because as you’ve done the math there’s not a hope of trying to get prices like they get!
    Nz seems to be getting pricier every week but all the more reason to hit the Ali holst books I get for cheap in the op shops! But I’ve been enjoying this site so so much lately !

    • says

      Diana one thing that might help you is to not focus so much on the price of things or the budgets of others because that can change for even town to town but check out the basic principles we talk about and concentrate on those. I am posting an article that I think will be posted on Feb. 29 that covers this same thing. A reader wanted to know my budget and I go into great detail why I don’t give dollar amounts and how each area, family is different. I mention things too like the main purpose for buying food is to keep our bodies from starving. If I say I spend $10 on groceries that may sound impressive but if my family is starving I am not doing it right. Also I can’t just say I feed my family of 4 on $500. I may have a family of 1 baby, 1 toddler and a husband who eats like a bird where someone else may have two teenage boys and a lumber jack for a husband.

      One of my pet peeves is when people say this is how much you should spend because there are way to many factors involved.

  39. donna pierce says

    I learned to not look at price per pound. Instead I look at package price & see how many servings & meals I can set . Prices are jumping fast here in the US.I grew up poor so I have always watched what I spend. My husband & I live on less. We garden as much as we can. We planted fruit trees.Love your sight. Thanks to all for their ideas. We are all in this together where ever we live. Have a great day.

  40. MommyGio says

    I have a family of 5 (6 soon) and my goal for dinners is for it to cost me around $5 for the whole meal. To do this, I try to make sure the meat portion is no more than $3. We eat chicken, pork, beef, and fish. I spend approx. $300 a month on groceries. I don’t deprive my family of snacks or any of their favorit cereals. I have price marks in my head and I just try to stay below that when I go to the store. :)

  41. getforfree says

    My kids qualify for free breakfast and lunch at school. I used to feed them breakfast at home. Now I get them to school earlier so they have time to have free breakfast there.
    We also eat lots of soups, beans, pasta and potatoes which don’t cost a lot.
    We have chickens, so we eat lots of eggs now and not a lot of meat (until it’s time to kill the chickens). I use lots of coupons combined with sale–that saves a ton.
    I also stockpile on things when I find a good deal, so I don’t have to settle for a high price when I am out of something and need to have it and it’s not on sale. I have a chest freezer and a special space in my pantry just for that purpose.

  42. KIm says

    I’ve been able to save money on my meat by buying from Zaycon Foods. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts for less than $2 a pound. The catch is that you pick up your chicken from a truck and it only comes in 40 pound lots. THey also have excellent bacon and ham. I’ve not tried the ground beef yet. Look for them on the web; http://www.zayconfoods.com

    It’s a great way to keep the freezer full.

  43. Deb J. says

    This summer our local Farmer’s Market had a cooking demo and made sandwiches with eggplant–they were awesome and tasted like a hamburger! The eggplant was sliced about 1/4-1/2 inch thick, dipped in egg, then dipped in a combination of Italian bread crumbs/parmesan cheese and then fried. Served on a ciabatta bun with lettuce and tomato.

    • getforfree says

      I did similar thing with my squash last summer. First, peel it, then slice it, and dip into flour-salt-spice mix and fry. Do you need to peel the eggplant? I never cooked an eggplant before, because every time I see it at the store, they are too expensive, so I planted some this year. I noticed that I started to have a strange habit: if something is too expensive to buy, I am looking for the ways to make/grow my own.

  44. Ann says

    We raise cattle so I wanted to comment about the cost of food. The price has gone up because the price of corn to feed the cattle has literally tripled in the last 20 years. When we got married it was less than $2 a bushel. We had a dairy herd and cattle on three farms as well as poultry. Now corn costs $6 to $7 per bushel. We have only the kids’ 4-H calves left, and 5 old “survivor” hens. We sold off everything else because we made more money by selling the grain instead of feeding it to livestock. Another factor in the rise of food prices — fuel costs. For instance, we live and farm in “fly-over country” but most of the population of the US lives on the coasts. Trucking adds to the cost, of course.

    • says

      Ann this is so true. Things too like people demanding things should be grown a certain way, raised a certain way all raises the cost for the farmer and rancher who then in turn has to raise their prices because of the higher cost to do things. Things like saying tractor companies and small feed lots will be taxed higher and have to have medical for all raises the prices not only for them but then in turn for the farmers/ranchers and then us.

  45. Maggie says

    Jill and Tawra,
    So glad you ran this article again. There were two recipes here that I had forgotten about and am printing them, this time, so I can make them. One is using the tomato sauce for the meatloaf with Italian seasoning and the other is the gingerbread cookie recipe using oatmeal. I just purchased a HUGE box of oatmeal thinking I would bring it for breakfast at work but discovered that the potassium count is very high – and I have to watch my potassium – so will make cookies instead of having it for breakfast. I’ll probably eat fewer cookies at one sitting (:)) than a big bowl of oatmeal.

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