6 Simple Ways To Save Money On Meat
STORY: Priyanka Elhence
10 January 2023
Basic groceries are already getting quite expensive and adding meat to that can seem like you’re hemorrhaging money away. But instead of resorting to cheaper meat options of questionable quality, there might be a few savvy ways for you to have your meat and eat it too.
Check out these fuss-free tips to help you spend less money on meat:
1. Make your meat stretch further
Dumplings, pasta, meatballs and burgers. What do they all have in common? Ground meat. Ground meat is always an economical choice, and by mixing your meat with low-cost ingredients like bread crumbs, onions, herbs, and eggs, you save a lot of money on the quantity of meat you need to buy for an entire meal.
2. Use more of the animal
If you want to pack the most nutrient density bang for your buck, nothing's better than organ meats. Organ meats are nutritional powerhouses and are cheaper than regular, more popular cuts. But they are a bit of an acquired taste and can take some time to get used to. If you’re squeamish about eating liver, start with something simple like a liver mousse or by grating a small piece of frozen liver into ground meat to make burgers or pasta sauce. You won’t taste it, and just a little bit adds plenty of nutrients while stretching the meat.
Likewise, buying a whole chicken instead of individual parts is always cheaper. After you’re done using the regular parts you usually do (breasts, thighs, drumsticks and wings), roast the bones to make broth, and pull off any leftover meat for chicken salad.
3. Use the fat
We use butter and oil for cooking, so why not lard and animal fat? For instance, after cooking bacon, save the fat and use it for cooking. Not only are you making the most of your meat purchase, but bacon fat also adds a lovely extra umami flavour to your cooking. But please don’t forget health considerations - too much fat of any type is not healthy for your heart.
4. Opt for more affordable cuts
Of course we all like prime cuts of steak such as ribeye and sirloin, but when it comes to spending less on meat while still not compromising your lifestyle, slow cooking or braising more affordable cuts like short ribs, skirt steak, shanks, pork shoulder, and brisket are great options too. When slow cooked or stewed with enough time, these normally tougher cuts can transform into tender and flavorful dishes, all with minimal effort on your part too. Get out of the ‘cut rut’ and benefit more from longer, slower cooking methods.
5. Buy in bulk, especially when items are on sale
Frozen meat is usually much cheaper than fresh meat, and if frozen, stored, and thawed properly, it can be just as enjoyable as fresh meat. Stock up on all your meat when it's on sale and freeze it until you’re ready to use it. And whenever possible, go for bulk-buying or buying family-sized packages of meat, as it tends to be cheaper than smaller portions. Likewise, you can save money if you’re able to cook reduced price meat packs the day you buy it or by the date on the package. If not, freeze it and use another day, but don’t leave it sitting in your fridge for long.
6. Skip the deli counter
Buying lunch meat at the deli counter is always more expensive than buying cold cuts at the grocery store. Also don’t throw away the ends when cutting lunch meat for sandwiches, and use them in salads or omelets.
But if you do like buying your meats at the deli counter, shave instead of getting your meats sliced. This way, when you stack your shaved meats, fold them first and they will feel more voluminous when you add more fresh vegetables such as lettuce and tomatoes, helping you offset the meat cost by adding in cheaper (and healthy) things to the meal.