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4 Easy Ways to Save Money on Meat

By Haley Nelson
Created January 10, 2017
Familiarize yourself with budget-friendly cuts and recipes and reap no-sacrifice savings with ease.

Is meat usually the most expensive item on your grocery bill? If so, you’re certainly not alone. With a few tricks up your sleeve, you can avoid overspending and actually save money while still enjoying your favorite meat-based meals. Here are a few pointers to get you started!

1. Channel Your Inner Butcher

oven baked chicken

One reason meat is so expensive is that you are paying for the labor to cut it up. Therefore, you can save money on meat by purchasing larger pieces and cutting them yourself. Purchasing and cutting up a whole chicken, for example, is significantly less expensive than buying individual pieces that have been pre-cut by a butcher. Just make sure you have the proper tools (sharp knife, plastic cutting board and zip-top freezer bags for storage) and get slicing!

Try it tonight: 10 Fantastic Ways to Cook a Whole Chicken

2. Balance Your Meals

slow cooker mexican beef stew

Meat doesn’t have to be the focal point of every meal. Balance meat with other ingredients like pasta, beans, grains and vegetables. Try seeking out recipes like Classic Beef Stroganoff, Slow-Cooker Mexican Beef Stew (pictured above) or Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry, where meat is just one of several main ingredients. Of course, you can also save money by going meatless every once in a while, even just once a week can save you money in the long-haul. Check out this collection of Money-Saving Meatless Meals for ideas!

3. Shop Sales and Specials

Grocers often slash prices when meat is about to expire. This is a great time to stock up on different cuts and freeze for future use. Also, be sure to check the grocery store weekly ad to find out what meats are on special.

4. Familiarize Yourself with Cheap Cuts of Meat 

Although meat prices fluctuate, there are a few cuts that are usually a better deal than others. (A good rule of thumb is to look for meat that costs around $1 or less per serving.) Here are a few of our favorites! 

Chicken Drumsticks

chicken drumsticks

Chicken drumsticks are moist, juicy, and loved by kids and adults alike. 

Try it tonight: 8 Tried-and-True Chicken Drumstick Recipes

Chicken Thighs

chicken thighs

Chicken thighs are often overlooked in comparison to chicken breasts, but they shouldn’t be. They’re naturally more flavorful and moist, and cost about half as much as boneless, skinless chicken breasts, making them a no-brainer protein when it comes to money-saving meals. 

Try it tonight: 10 Ways with Chicken Thighs

Ground Beef

ground beef

Ground beef with a higher fat content (80/20, for example) is generally lower cost than a leaner blend (like 90/10). To cut back on fat and calories, drain the fat after you’re done cooking the meat. 

Try it tonight: 30-Minute Meals Made with Ground Beef

Center-Cut Pork chops

center-pork chops

Pork chops have a reputation of being dry and flavorless, but trust me, it only takes one good pork chop recipe to make you a true believer! 

Try it tonight: Skillet Pork Chops 7 Ways  

Now it’s your turn! What are your favorite budget-friendly cuts of meat? How do you enjoy meat without breaking the bank? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!