I'm always on the lookout for ways to stick to my grocery budget. While I do serve meatless meals a few times a week, we still eat meat. I like to buy chicken breasts, pork loin and beef at their lowest sale prices, but I supplement that with marked-down meat. Here are some tips:
- Find out where & when your store marks down meat. Just ask the butcher! Many stores do so in the early morning, so it's best to stop in before 9:00am. Some stores move all marked-down meat to a special area; others leave it organized by type. One of the stores in my neighborhood marks their meat down multiple times a day, so I've been able to catch a few good deals in the afternoon or evening.
- Check the expiration date on the package. Marked-down meat needs to be used or frozen immediately. If you can't handle it tonight–either freezing or cooking–don't buy it. According to the FDA, you can freeze meat in its store packaging, but that wrap is permeable to air, so you may want to contain it in a freezer zipper bag. If you choose to freeze the meat for later, make sure that you use it immediately upon defrosting–don't let it sit in the fridge another few days. It won't save you money if you end up throwing it out!
- Buy the smallest packages you can find to get the most savings. Most stores use $1.00-off or $2.00-off stickers (like mine, in the photo above), so you'll save more money applying that $2 off to a smaller weight.
- Check the unit price of the meat, calculating the savings sticker. It may not be below the typical sale price, so be careful.
This strategy really works! A few weeks ago, I found one package of Shady Grove Farms Ground Turkey marked down to $1.52/lb after the sticker. There were five more packages with an expiration date of the next day, so I went back the following day (when they had the stickers) and bought them all to freeze. That was the lowest price I'd seen for ground turkey in over a year. Marked-down meat really works for me!
To learn more about Freezing and Food Safety, head to the FDA's website. For more money-saving ideas, see my Grocery Saving Strategies vlog series.
For more Works for Me Wednesday tips (not just money-saving, all kinds!), head to WFMW at We Are That Family.