Meat prices in Canada have gone through the roof as many of you may have noticed.
Meat lovers across the land are seeing a rise in their grocery expenses because the meats they love are not as cheap as they once used to be.
Just last week I noticed a pound of lean ground beef was hovering around the $9.00 mark.
When I was standing in line to cash out I noticed the lady in front of me buying lots of no-name products then there was this pack of beef that looked about 2lbs for $25.xx.
I shook my head and thought there had to be better ways to save money on meat than paying some of these outrageous prices that the grocery stores are asking these days.
I don’t know what the mark up is on meat but judging by the price fluctuations it depends on farming, slaughtering processing and transportation costs.
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.
I know many of you might say to suck up the prices and buy it if you need it but for many people on a budget especially if it’s a low-income budget they can’t afford meat to begin with or in moderation.
Today I want to share with you some of the ways Mrs. CBB and I save on meat or ways that we know you CAN save money without having to eat canned meat or leaving meat out of your diet, especially if you are a meat lover.
Know your prices
If you don’t know how much it typically costs to buy the meat your family loves this is where you need to start your savings understanding. In order to know if you are getting a deal you need to know what the regular price is and what typical sales price are.
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 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!
A couple of CBB fans like to buy their meat in bulk that I am aware of which we have considered and may still purchase if the price is right for our budget. 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.
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. You 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.
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 % off 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 but 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 we simply portion if needed and freeze it until we need it. 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.
Add other Proteins
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. plus whole grains are another great source of protein and other vitamins.
If you fancy tofu that is another great source of protein which you can add to your diet as it acts like a sponge and soaks up the 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 is also other meat substitutes such as Seitan which is made from wheat but apparently 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.
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.
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 because there are although you won’t find them as often as you’d like especially with the high costs of meat to the grocery budget.
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 so don’t shy away because you automatically think you can’t afford to buy from a butcher.
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.
These are many of the ways I could think of to help you save money when buying meat but I’m sure that many of you have other tricks I want to hear about so please share!
What other ways can you think of to save on meat?
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!
Congratulations goes out to Juanita #1 for winning the Grocery Game for March 2015. Please email me to get your coupon prize.
Grocery Saving Tips
Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!
Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.
I hope you take the time to get back on track and start the savings process in your grocery budget today.
Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE. CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet for FREE.
NEW!! You can now download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel…Grab it while you can… It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!
Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide
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 own 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 where recipes from CBB Home Chef Nicola Don and myself are shared every Sunday on the blog. 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 Powergreen $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.
Canadian Coupons Found This Week
Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops only to win a monthly prize. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something that is scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it all together. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
- 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 any more. 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.
- What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
- 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 in order to stick to your grocery budget to make it work. Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do.
This is why the grocery game challenge was created to not only show you that we are like everyone else but to bring us all together to work as a team to get our budgets on track.
If you have just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2015 get ready to dive deep into your grocery budget and learn just where you are spending, how much you are spending and what you are saving.
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! It’s FREE!
You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2015!
Join in and become money savers and take control of your grocery budget.
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