High Beef Prices? Tips on Ways to Save Money

how to save money on beef
Beef prices have reached the highest level since 1987, and currently have an average price of $5.28 a pound. Even worse, it doesn’t appear that these prices are going to fall anytime soon. Smaller than normal cattle herds brought on by drought and high feed costs mean that beef prices are likely to remain high for the next couple of years. For anyone who is on a grocery budget, the higher price of beef makes sticking to that budget quite difficult. Below are a number of steps that you can take to help reduce the cost of beef in your grocery budget.

A Slow Cooker is Your Friend

One of the easiest ways to reduce the amount that you spend on beef is to buy less expensive cuts. The problem is that these are often tougher and less tasty than more expensive cuts. The solution to this problem is to take out your slow cooker. Placing inexpensive cuts of beef into a slow cooker with vegetables, and letting it simmer for the entire day, will make the meat tender and juicy. If you have never tried it before, you’ll be amazed.

Discounted Beef

Beef that has not been sold which is nearing its sell date will almost always be heavily discounted by the grocery store. They would rather sell it at a discounted price than have to throw it away and get nothing for it. The meat is still perfectly fine, and can be 50% off or more from its regular price. Many people shy away from this because they don’t think they’ll be able to consume it in time. This is where your freezer is your friend. Get the beef at a great discount, take it home and immediately freeze it into perfect portions for your family. It will be in great shape when you’re ready to eat it, and the perfect sized portion.

Do It Yourself

The more that you’re willing to do yourself with the beef, the less expensive it will be. Think of it the same way as you would a block of cheese and shredded cheese. A block of cheese is much less expensive than shredded cheese, but you have to do a little bit more work if you want shredded cheese. The same applies to beef.

Ground beef will be less expensive than premade beef patties. Purchasing chuck roast when it’s on sale and grinding it yourself will be less expensive than ground beef. Steaks which haven’t been marinated will be less expensive than those that have. The more preparation of the meat you do yourself, the less expensive the beef will be.

Change the Meal Focus

It’s common in the US for meat to be the main focus on the plate for meals. That’s not the case in many countries. In many places around the world, meat is used more as a side to bring extra flavor to the main portion of the meal. Making other foods the focus of your meals, with beef being a tasty side, will allow you to spend less while not completely eliminating it from your diet.

Switch to Less Expensive Meats

Another option is to switch to less expensive meats than beef. Pork and chicken are less expensive than beef, and switching to these in place of beef can help you stay within your grocery budget.

Family Sizes

Even if you don’t have a large family, consider buying the family-size packages. The family-size packages will usually be less expensive per pound then the same beef cuts in smaller packages. Once again, the freezer is your friend, and you can freeze all the extra meat in proper portions to use at a later date.

Go Meatless

If you really want to save money on beef (and all other meats), decide to go meatless. The more days of the week that you can serve meals that don’t have beef in them, the more you’re going to save. It’s best to start off slowly so that your family doesn’t rebel, but even choosing one less day a week to have a meal without beef can be a significant savings to a grocery budget.

Explore Other Options

Purchasing beef from your local grocery store is not the only way that you can buy it. Purchasing it from another source may save you a significant amount of money. Check to see if there are any butcher shops in your area, farmers who raise beef cattle, or meat lockers. One of these alternatives may be able to supply your family with beef at a better price than you can buy at your local grocery store.

Buy Leaner

When you go to buy hamburger, look at how lean the ground beef is as well as the price. Ground beef that is 70% lean will be less expensive than ground beef that is 95% lean, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a better value. When you cook up the hamburger, leaner ground beef will leave you with more meat for your money because less lean ground beef has a lot of fat in it, which cooks away.

Look for Coupons

Most people don’t even realize that beef coupons exists, but they do. They can be a little difficult to find because you won’t find them in your Sunday paper. Beef coupons usually come on products which are related to cooking or eating beef. Some common places you might find beef coupons are on alcoholic drinks such as beer and wine. You might find it on barbecue sauce or on barbecue charcoal. The coupons will usually give you a few dollars off the purchase of the beef of your choice when you buy it in conjunction with the product that is offering the coupon.

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2 Responses to High Beef Prices? Tips on Ways to Save Money

  1. Sharon says:

    Concerned about not getting enough protein to meet your families needs? Try adding dried milk to potatoes when you mash them, or to scalloped potatoes. An inexpensive meal is a delightful quiche. Eggs are your protein and much cheaper than beef. I use frozen pie shells, bake them lightly, add beaten eggs/milk/sauteed onions/shredded cheese and pour this into the pie sheel and bake. Use your imagination for more creative fillings. Mushrooms, spinach and cheese are delicious also. How about a make your own pizza night using pita bread as the crust? Have your toppings in small bowls for everyone to create their own masterpiece. My list of options to beef goes on and on.

  2. Gailete says:

    I try to get the discounted meat at our store. I do buy the cheaper hamburg for one reason. It ends to taste better because fat adds flavor. What is the point of getting meat that is dry and tasteless just because it is low fat. However I’m at the point I rarely cook anymore other than quicky kind of meals so we will eat homemade pizza the dough having been processed by the bread machine, lots of egg meals since they are quick. I’m thinking of getting a roast for the crock pot for Easter Sunday. I start a roast from a frozen state, add a package of dry onion soup mix (or a can of cream of mushroom soup) and a can of beef broth, cook for hours and it is tender and yummy when cooked and I add some water and flour slurry to make the leftover liquid in the pot into gravy. It is an easy meal to make. After years of trying and wasting good money, I’ve stopped buying anything from the round section of the beef as the meat doesn’t taste as good and is generally tough no matter what you do. Even Cooks country on PBS tends to avoid the round as to them it tastes ‘liverish’. Why spend money for a cheaper cut just to have it taste lousy?

    Also think through the real cost of a roast or steak dinner. For comparison, figure out how much it costs to take your whole family to McDonald’s or Burger King or any of those places, then calculate the cost of potatoes, vegetables and any other side and subtract that from the fast food cost, what is left is what you can spend on beef, depending on the size of your family you might have anywhere from about $6-20. One of the reasons that I can justify a small prime rib roast once in a while (on sale) as it makes for a nice meal and has leftovers and still cheaper than the two of us going out. Of course, if you usually go out to mid price restaurants, that ‘gives’ you more money to work with.

    As to blocks of cheese compared to shredded. I don’t know where you get your cheese, but I have found that they cost the same and after years of avoiding shredded since I was so into doing everything from scratch, I just didn’t have the energy anymore so I routinely buy shredded. Many pre-shredded brands now have mixed types of cheese for like Italian, Mexican, etc. dishes, so for the cost of one bag, you get the flavor impact of several cheeses without the expense of buying several different blocks of cheese assuming you can even find all those types at your store. I know I can’t at mine. So some old rules about cheap eating are out of date at this point unless you are buying the more expensive deli or cheese bar cheeses and then you probably aren’t that frugal anyhow.

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