Save Money In The Meat Department And Lower Your Grocery Costs
Meat prices in Canada have gone through the roof as many of you may have noticed and likely will continue to rise.
Canadian consumers are realizing that their grocery expenses have increased following the price hike.
Just last week I noticed a pound of lean ground beef was hovering around the $9.00 mark.
Price Mark-Up On Meat At The Grocery Store
When I was standing in line to cash out I noticed the lady in front of me buying lots of no-name products.
As I continued to eyeball her shopping cart there was a pack of minced beef that looked about 2lbs for $25.49
I shook my head and thought there had to be ways to save money on meat other than paying such high prices.
There is a mark up is on meat which like any product you purchase so the middle-man can make a profit.
That middle-man is the grocery store and the consumer is the end of the line.
Price fluctuation depends on farming, slaughtering processing, and transportation costs prices which the grocery store pays.
From there the customer pays the grocery store for getting the product to the shelves.
Either way we look at it meat is costly to eat but there are ways we can stretch our dollars to make sure we can add meat into our meal plans.
You could skip the grocery store entirely and go to the butcher or directly to the farm to negotiate better pricing.
However, not everyone is interested in that process which is why grocery stores sell mass amounts of meat and seafood.
Perhaps many of you might say suck up the prices and buy it if you need it, however, it’s not always that easy.
For many people on a tight budget, they can’t afford meat to begin with so sourcing alternative ways is worth the effort.
I want to share with you ways Mrs. CBB and I save on meat so you CAN save money without having to eat canned meat or leaving meat out of your diet, especially if you are a meat lover.
1. Know Your Meat Department Pricing
If you don’t know how much it typically costs to buy the meat your family enjoys this is where you need to start your education.
In order to know if you are getting a meat deal you need to know three things:
- Regular Price
- Typical Sale Prices (each grocery store in your area)
Make a list of the meat products that you love and then go to the grocery store and find out the regular prices and write them down.
Our free grocery price book may help you to keep your prices organized so you know exactly what deals are worth it to buy.
Now when you get your weekly flyers you can create your grocery list according to the sales or when you are shopping and see a meat sale you will know if it’s a great deal or not.
Be smart with your savings!
2. Buy Meat Products In Bulk
Buy meat in bulk provided you have the cash up front and the freezer space to house it all.
Prices may vary depending on where you live.
If you don’t live close to your butcher or the grocery store buying meat in bulk is something that you may consider.
If you simply want to stock your freezer so you don’t have to worry about grocery shopping for meat this is the way to go.
Most people who buy meat in bulk enjoy the savings but also the convenience of having cuts of meat in their freezer all year-long.
The good thing about this is you get a discount price for buying in bulk BUT you will also get some of the best quality cuts of meat available to you.
Also, consider splitting a bulk meat order with friends or family if it’s too much for your family.
3. Buy Large Cuts of Meat
One thing many of us overlook is buying bigger cuts of meat because we think we won’t eat it all in one meal
. You don’t have to. If you can save money buying a large cut of meat once you figure out the prices buy it if your budget allows.
When you get your cut of meat home portion it up in freezer bags to use for different meals.
Don’t buy stewing beef for those outrageous prices when you can buy a gorgeous roast and cut the meat yourself.
Most times if you can cut the meat at home or process it yourself you will see huge savings. Y
ou pay for this convenience from the in-store butcher or butchering services that are included in the price of pre-cut portions.
If you have a stand mixer at home look into getting the meat grinder attachment which isn’t too costly.
This way you can buy large cuts of beef, pork, and poultry and grind it into mince on your own for less.
4. Reduced Cuts of Meat
We hardly ever buy meat at full-price simply because it’s too expensive for our grocery budget.
Going to the butcher in the past has proven to save us some money which we do on occasion but for the most part, our meat buying happens in the grocery store.
When we get into the grocery store we know exactly where the meat department puts reduced cuts of meat and that is one-stop we will make.
We typically find coupons attached to the product or new pricing labels attached.
You might even see discount stickers such as in the photo above.
If we don’t find reduced meat we buy what meat is on sale in the flyer that week or price match.
Some people may think there is something wrong with these meat products and walk away from them.
However, most often they are just coming up to date and the store would rather sell them for a reduced price than throw them in the garbage.
If you do buy reduced meat you can use it right away or simply portion and freeze it until needed.
We’ve never had any issues with buying reduced meat.
Like any other product you buy inspect the meat for any discoloration as this may mean it’s already started to turn.
We’ve found products like this that are still with-in date so don’t judge reduced meat as off-limits just for this reason.
Meat that is starting to turn or that has already gone off will have a light grey/green tinge and if you open it at home it will have a slight vinegar smell.
5. Other Protein Sources
You don’t have to eat meat all the time for protein as you can substitute other products in its place.
We like to use beans such as lentils, pinto beans, kidney beans, chick peas, split peas, etc.
,As well, whole grains are another great source of protein and other added nutrients and vitamins.
Tofu is another great source of protein that acts like a sponge and soaks up flavours that you incorporate into your dish, similar to a mushroom.
If you aren’t a fan of beans or tofu many vegetarians enjoy mushrooms in place of meat.
Portobello mushrooms are meaty and commonly used as a burger which you can stuff and add lots of delicious cheese to.
There are so many varieties of mushrooms on the market your options for different dishes are endless.
There are also other meat substitutes such as Seitan which is made from wheat but has nothing to do with bread or flour and called “Wheat Meat” and Tempeh which are both used by vegetarians across the globe.
What is Tempeh? According to Wikipedia
It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty.
Read the packaging on what you buy for the nutritional information so you understand what you are putting into your body.
6. Opt For Meatless Meals
We don’t tend to eat lots of meat in the CBB house which means many of our meals are meatless meals.
One of our favourite meatless meals is our Meatless Sloppy Joes made with lentils.
They pack a punch and you don’t even miss the meat.
We also love to eat fish so we use fish to create different meals such as fish cakes or simply baking fish in the oven for a nice light meal.
If you are a smart shopper you may also find that fish can be cheaper to buy than red meat, poultry, and pork products.
I’m not talking about breaded fish products that are pre-made either.
I mean frozen or fresh fish that you can get from a fishery or in-store at the fishmonger.
7. Use Coupons To Reduce Meat Costs
From time to time you may find coupons for meat that come in the mail or in-store.
It may be for x amount of dollars off of a meat product or you may get dollars off a pack of sausages which we’ve had in the past.
Don’t think there are never coupons for meat as there are some on occasion.
Ideally, if you use coupons to save money on other grocery items it frees up grocery money to spend in other departments.
That means if you save a few dollars with coupons you can afford to buy a pack of meat that is a bit higher in price.
8. Visit Your Local Butcher
If you have a butcher in town don’t be afraid to go in and make friends with him or her.
Meat prices may be a bit higher at the butcher as you pay for the service BUT you will also get what you want.
They may have weekly or monthly specials as well because they want to get customers through the door.
It may seem like an extra trip however, don’t shy away from as the butcher can have some amazing pricing deals.
When you buy packs of meat at the grocery store you are at the mercy of the slaughter-house which processed it or the in-store butcher.
This may mean that you find yourself paying for lots of fat that you end up throwing in the garbage.
Depending on what meat the fat came from we drain and keep some for cooking purposes.
Duck fat and Goose fat is well-known for making the best roast potatoes, but using chicken fat from the skin works wonders too.
We also re-purpose turkey or chicken carcasses by making soup.
Instead of throwing away, try to use the product in different ways to extract the most from your purchase.
The butcher will 9 times out of 10 accommodate what you want as a customer plus you support your local small businesses and farmers.
Hopefully, some of my ideas will help you save money when buying meat the next time you shop.
Discussion: What other ways can you think of to save on meat?
Leave me your comments below as I’d love to read your experiences.
April grocery game challenge posts
If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up for the month each week here in this section for you.
Join in the Grocery Game Challenge fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each blog post… here are the GGC rules!
Grocery Saving Tips
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Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide
Everything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is below with new information added monthly.
If you are new here and haven’t had a chance to read past posts grab yourself a beverage, sit down, relax and enjoy some educational reading material on ways to save money in your grocery budget.
If you missed a Grocery Game Challenge post some of the most popular posts are listed below or you can now find the posts listed on their page called The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email.
2015 Grocery shop results
If you are a foodie like I am you will enjoy going through my Free Recipe Index.
Check it out!
Yearly grocery budget for two 2015: $2820
(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $240 per year or $25 per month.
Shoppers Drug Mart
- 1 x Neilson Milk 4 Litres $3.97
Total out-of-pocket $3.97
- 2x Chicken Breasts $8.77 and $8.17 (stockpile $16.94)
- Power Quencher Case $10.74-pink sticker 50%
- 3x PC Greek Yogurt Lime $4.29-pink sticker 50%
- PC Yogurt Vanilla $3.19 -50%
- Liberte Yogurt Coconut large $6.49-pink sticker 50%
- Strawberries 1lb 2/$4.00
- Ground Pork Sale $2.68
- 3 x Oven Roast Turkey $5.79-50%
- 2 x Spinach Power green $4.99 ea-50%
- PC Kale $4.99-50%
- Broccoli Coleslaw raw $2.50-50%
- Carrot Coleslaw raw $2.50-50%
- Manns Snap Peas $3.99-50%
- 3x Alpen Salami $8.49-50%
Total out-of-pocket $59.41 ($16.94 stockpile)
Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
- Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $235.00
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $20.00
- PC Points Plus Earned to date: 28786
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Snap Groupon to date: $1.50
- Zweet to date: $1.50
- Cart Smart to date: $0
- Checkout51 to date: $1.50
GROCERY SHOP THIS WEEK (add any other sections you need to show expenses and savings)
- Total to spend this month $213.47 ($26.53 overage from March applied)
- Stockpile budget 2015 ($25.00): (Jan/Feb) $50.00 +$0 (Mar)+$16.94
- Stockpile budget used this month: $16.94
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $13.00
- Total in-store discounts this week: $52.73
- Total in-store discounts to date: $193.25
- Total spent this week: $63.38
- Total spent so far this month: $63.38
- Total over/Under spend this shop: -$10.02 over
- Total over/Under spend for the month: $
- Total left to spend for the month: -$150.19
- Total Spent To Date 2015: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $166.49+ Feb $261.51+ Mar $231.02 + April $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts):
What a great week of pink sticker savings.
It’s always nice we can score some great products that we would never pay full price for on sale for half the cost.
Hopefully, we can stay under budget this month as we were over in March and have to make up for it this month which is always tough.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?:
YesNo, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap, etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year so we can plan accordingly for our budget. We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food anymore. It’s just one way to help cut your budget to save money.
- Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
- What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
Over time you will gradually learn where you should and shouldn’t go in the grocery store or at least how to say no, I’m on a budget I need to buy this or that.
You may also substitute items to stick to your grocery budget to make it work.
Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget as many people do.
Feel free to read all the above posts that I linked to above which I feel are relevant to learning about the grocery budget and grocery shopping in general.
If you are brave and want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide!
You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
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