Buying meat can be mighty expensive for Canadians trying to balance their monthly budget.
Below I’ve come up with as many ways that I can think of so you can fit meat products into your grocery shopping.
Save Money In The Meat Department And Lower Your Grocery Costs
Meat prices in Canada have increased along with every other food product at the grocery store.
Canadian consumers now realize that a recent price hike has increased grocery expenses.
Related: Meat prices and supply could change as the industry grapples with COVID-19.
Last week I noticed a pound of lean ground beef was hovering around the $9.00 mark.
Grocery Store Price Mark-Up Buying Meat
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 on meat, like any product you purchase, so that the middleman can make a profit.
That middleman is the grocery store, and the consumer is the end of the line.
Price fluctuation depends on farming, slaughtering processing, and transportation costs, 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.
Buying The Meat At Any Cost
Perhaps you give in because buying meat; even minced beef, is vital to the recipes your family enjoys.
Often that means removing other items from a grocery list to accommodate the higher-priced foods.
Alternative sourcing ways are worth the effort for those on a tight budget who can’t afford to buy meat.
Although we like canned Spam and corned beef, we buy a few cans when we can’t stock our freezer with cheap meat.
You don’t have to buy meat in a can to enjoy a diet that includes various meat products.
Let’s look at ways you can save cash buying meat in Canada.
1. 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.
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 you love, and then go to the grocery store to find the regular prices and write them down.
Our free grocery price book may help you keep your prices organized, so you know what deals are worth buying.
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.
Although if you live close to your butcher or the grocery store, buying meat in bulk is a game changer.
This is the way to go if you want to stock your freezer, so you don’t have to worry about grocery shopping for meat.
Most people who buy meat in bulk enjoy the savings and the convenience of having cuts of beef in their freezer all year long.
The good thing about this is you get a discount for buying in bulk, but you will also get some of the best quality cuts of meat available.
Also, consider splitting a bulk meat order with friends or family if it’s too much for your family.
3. Buying Larger Cuts Of Meat
Many of us overlook buying more significant cuts of meat because we think we won’t eat it all in one meal.
However, you don’t have to, especially if you have a freezer. You can save money buying a large cut of meat if your budget allows.
We have a $25 grocery stockpiling account which we budget for each month.
When you bring a cut of meat home, portion it into freezer bags for different meals.
Don’t buy stewing beef for outrageous prices when you can buy a beef roast and cut the meat yourself.
You will see huge savings if you can cut the meat at home or process it yourself.
You pay for convenience from the in-store butcher or butchering services with prices included.
If you have a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, consider buying the meat grinder attachment that isn’t too costly.
With the meat grinder, you can buy more significant cuts of beef, pork, and poultry and grind them, saving money.
4. Reduced Cuts On Meat
We hardly ever buy meat at the total price 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 occasionally do, 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, which 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 heart is on sale in the flyer that week or price match.
Some people may think something is wrong with these meat products and walk away from them.
However, they are often just coming up to date, and the store would rather sell them for a reduced price than throw them in the garbage.
If you buy reduced meat, you can use it immediately or 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 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, chickpeas, split peas, etc.
Whole grains are another great source of protein and other added nutrients and vitamins.
Tofu is another excellent source of protein that acts like a sponge and soaks up flavours that you incorporate into your dish, similar to a mushroom.
Many vegetarians enjoy mushrooms instead of meat if you aren’t a fan of beans or tofu.
Portobello mushrooms are meaty and commonly used as a burger which you can stuff with delicious cheese.
There are so many varieties of mushrooms on the market that your options for different dishes are endless.
Seitan Meat Substitute
There are also other meat substitutes, such as Seitan which is made from wheat but has nothing to do with bread or flour and is called “Wheat Meat.”
Tempeh Meat Substitute
However, Tempeh is both used by vegetarians across the globe.
What is Tempeh?
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.Wikipedia
Read the packaging on what you buy for the nutritional information, so you understand what you are putting into your body.
6. Meatless Meals
We don’t tend to eat much meat in the CBB house, which means many of our meals are meatless.
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 an intelligent 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. 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 a meat product, or you may get dollars off a pack of sausages we’ve had in the past.
Don’t think there are never coupons for meat as there are some on occasion.
Ideally, using coupons to save money on other grocery items 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. Buying Meat From A Local Butcher
If you have a butcher in town, don’t be afraid to go in and make friends with them.
Meat prices may be slightly higher at the butcher as you pay for the service, but you get what you want.
They may also have weekly or monthly specials because they want to get customers through the door.
It may seem like an extra trip; however, don’t shy away as the butcher can have amazing pricing deals.
When you buy packs of meat at the grocery store, you are at the mercy of the slaughterhouse which processed it or the in-store butcher.
This may mean you find yourself paying for lots of fat you throw in the garbage.
Depending on what meat the fat came from, we drain and keep some for cooking purposes.
Duck fat and Goose fat are well-known for making the best roast potatoes, but using chicken fat from the skin works wonders too.
9. Using The FlashFood App
If you live in Canada and aren’t sure about the FlashFood App, it’s a must for every family.
Sign up now for Canadians who want to save money buying meat and other products.
You’ll get access to Loblaws stores, including Zehrs, RCSS, No Frills and others who post products reduced up to 50%.
We’ve even seen products reduced up to 70% off, which is a massive saving.
Once you make your first purchase using the app, you get a cash reward for your next purchase.
You can read my FlashFood App review and see how our family has saved thousands.
10. Using All Parts Of Meat
We also re-purpose turkey or chicken carcasses by making homemade bone broth for soup.
Instead of throwing it away, try using the product differently to extract the most from your purchase.
The butcher will, nine times out of ten, 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?
Please, leave your comments below as I’d love to read your experiences.
Grocery Game Posts 2015
I would post the line-up for the month if you missed any grocery game posts for the month each week here in this section.
Join 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 monthly information.
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 blog posts listed on the Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide page.
2015 Grocery shop results
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, 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 have such things in our grocery budget, so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year and 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. Many great Canadian Couponing websites 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 unsure, 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 correct answers, just smart choices.
Over time you will gradually learn where you should and shouldn’t go in the grocery store or 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. We struggle with this part of our budget, as many people do.
Feel free to read all the posts I linked above that 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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